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Keep Learning At Any Age

May 9, 2017

The old proverb says that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but a new study from the University of California–Riverside challenges that theory.

Professor Rachel Wu from the University of California–Riverside believes that we can redefine what it means to have an “aging” brain. She says that as adults we have a tendency to focus on “specialized learning,” becoming an expert in a specific field for our career or our hobby. This, she says, leads to cognitive decline in familiar and unfamiliar areas over time. Professor Wu proposes that adults embrace “broad learning,” learning many different skills in different fields like we once did as children in school. She believes that this kind of learning can increase cognitive health.

According to Professor Wu, “broad learning” includes six important factors:

  • An open-mind
  • Personalize educational sessions with teachers or mentors
  • A “can do” attitude
  • The ability to learn and bounce back from failure
  • A commitment to learning
  • And the ability to learn multiple skills at the same time.

Do you want to embrace “broad learning?” Try these Mindful tips.

  • Create a Mindful bucket list. One of the best ways to broaden your learning experience is to take a look at your bucket list and see if there are any learning opportunities on your list. For instance, if you’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument or learn a new language, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to broaden your mind and check something off on your bucket list. You can find more helpful tips here.
  • Find creative ways to keep learning. If the idea of learning something new sounds daunting try making a game out of it. Play memory games or puzzles to help retain new information. If you aren’t interested in playing games, consider watching informative documentaries on your weekly movie night or listening to educational podcasts during your morning commute. You can find more information here.
  • Learn with others. You are more likely to succeed with any task if you have someone else to lean on. Consider getting your friends invested in “broad learning.” Set goals together and reap the cognitive benefits of well-informed and open mind.
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