Do you think as you get older it gets harder to learn new things?
Many people feel the same way, that once they leave school, learning wasn't a priority or easy. As people grew into their 30s, 40s, and 50s, learning just became more and more difficult.
There's no research to show that a person's ability to learn disappears throughout their life. Everyone has the ability to learn, even if it might take a little bit more work.
Maybe you're just out of practice. And by using your imagination, dedication, and desire to learn new things, you can keep your learning skills sharp and active.
Your imagination is one of your best abilities to learn something new. Imagine yourself doing the new skill, speaking the new language, or practicing the new techniques. This isn't just a daydream, it's a focused tool to put you in the right mind frame to begin using any new skill you learn to its fullest. Holding the image in your mind will help you use your new skill all the faster.
Learn A New Language
Most people want to learn another language and it is one of the more difficult skills to learn. Dozens of different apps became available in the past couple years and just a few minutes a day can put you on the path to learning something new.
But, it takes more than that. First, you have to practice those skills. As you move through your typical day, apply the new vocabulary to your everyday life. Identify different objects and repeat the word in your mind. Not only does this improve your ability to learn, but it also improves your memory, a key skill to avoiding dementia later in life.
Get Physical Exercise
Although researchers aren't sure how this works, people who exercise and keep physically fit retain their memories longer, have a more active and robust thinking capacity, and can learn better. It's suspected the exercise increases the nutrient, oxygen, and blood flow to the brain, helping to provide the necessary resources to build and maintain strong memories.
Listen to Classical Music For 15 Minutes Per Day
Classical music is very rich in the different tones and rhythms. And, listening to music help stimulate various parts of our brain involved with making memories and learning new information. Listening to classical music for at least 15-minutes per day without any other distraction encourages your brain to start making associations and finding details that are normally absent in other activities.
Write It Out
Grab a pen and paper and write out what you want to learn. Studies show students who hand-write lecture notes retain more information for longer than students to type on a keyboard or record the lecture for listening later. The action of writing something out forces the brain to slow down and assimilate the information better. It provides auditory, visual, and muscle memory to reinforce learning.
Learn With Your Non-Dominant Hand
And once you write it out, switch hands. Writing with your non-dominant hand, or performing activities with your non-dominant hand, forces the brain to break down what you're doing into small details, letting you understand the process better.
If there was ever a way to learn something, it is to teach it to someone else. Teaching forces you to break down the information and explain it in simple ways. This can be uncomfortable. However, studies in children and adults show that those who teach a subject of their learning retained more information and learned faster.
For some things you learn, you may be able to deconstruct the final project and work backward. It can help you understand the process better. This works well with physical projects and skills, although you can learn languages, mathematics, and other intellectual pursuits by deconstructing the activities and working backward. This really allows you to understand the pieces and how they fit together better.
Combining several of the previous techniques, telling a story allows you to visualize the activity, teach it to others, and reinforce what you know. Stories are great activities that help people connect and once was the primary mode of learning. It's extremely effective, as it can engage as many parts of your brain as music does.
Learning can be a lifelong activity, one that you can enjoy. When it comes to keeping your mind strong and active, continuous learning can help reduce your chances of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and let you live a long, healthy life.