Learning new skills can be useful and even better it can positively affect our well-being. Learning doesn’t mean having to enrol in courses or to get qualifications. There are many ways to bring learning into your life.
Many of us associate learning with childhood or our student days. As adults, it can seem as though we have less time or need to learn new things. Learning can help improve and maintain our well-being, it can boost self-confidence and self-esteem, help build a sense of purpose, and connection with others. People engaged in learning report feeling better about themselves and a greater ability to cope with stress, as well has feeling more self confidence, hope and purpose.
Some scientists think that setting goals and working towards them plays an important role in the way learning influences well-being. Setting targets and hitting them can create positive feelings of accomplishment and achievement.
Give learning a go
If you want to make learning a bigger part of your life, it helps to think about learning in the broadest sense. Classes and formal courses are great ways to learn new things, but there are lots of other ways too. You might:
- Learn to cook a favourite dish that you’ve never eaten at home.
- Visit a gallery or museum and learn about a person or period in history that interests you.
- Take on a new responsibility at work, such as learning to use an IT system or understanding the monthly reports.
- Fix that broken bike or garden gate. Once you’ve done that, how about setting yourself a bigger DIY project?
- Sign up for a course you’ve been meaning to do at a local community centre. You might learn a new language, or try something practical such as plumbing.
- Rediscover an old hobby that challenges you, whether it's making model aeroplanes, writing stories, drawing or painting.
- Visit a local men’s shed or check out a community group and see what they have to offer.
Check out these sites
The internet is making it easier for us all to keep on learning in new and interesting ways and in the process enhance our well-being. It is worth checking out these free resources and sites.
TED: Ideas worth spreading
TED is a small non profit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. TED believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.
HowStuffWorks is an amazing, award-winning online destination for anyone who wants to know how anything works. If you have an inquisitive mind and are always looking for answers on how anything works the way it does, then this is the site for you. Categories include Computers & Internet, Engines & Automotive, Electronics & Telecom, Science & Technology, Aviation & Transport, Body & Health, Living & Entertainment, Around the House, Machines,etc. Aimless clicking around the site brought me to a page on how Lockpicking works! Well, I guess that could come in use someday…
The Khan Academy
Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We're a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All of the site's resources are available to anyone. It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. Khan Academy's materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.
The Creativity Portal
The Creativity Portal helps you to explore various activities related to arts, crafts, music, and writing. The CP is a specialty directory of sites that have free instructional information (tips, tutorials, articles, projects, how-to's, etc) to help you learn about the topic that interests you the most. If you have the desire to learn photography, writing, fine arts, graphic design, music making, origami, balloon twisting, and a whole lot of other things, then this is the place for you to begin your learning adventure. I was particularly impressed by the section on music featuring lessons on guitar, flutes. drums, banjo,etc.
We welcome suggestions of new and interesting ways to introduce more learning into your life.