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Continual learning and your cognitive health

Continual learning has been shown to be fantastic for our cognitive health, particularly when you learn something new and practice it. In this article we delve into mind health and the advantages of structured learning throughout your life and career.

The benefits of continual learning

Just as exercise has been proven to be good for your physical health, continual learning is unquestionably valuable for your mind health. Education has even been linked to a longer life expectancy!

Structured learning has been shown to reduce rates of anxiety and depression, and lower stress levels. This in turn can mean better cardiovascular health, an improved immune system, lower blood pressure and less risk of common chronic disease. Evidence that continuing to learn does great things for our quality of health and for our brains.

Ongoing learning also limits our cognitive and memory decline as we age. Harvard Medical School has found that new brain cell growth can readily happen in adulthood through the processes of training, acquiring information and new experiences. Continued learning can stimulate the process of new cell growth and keep our brains functioning at optimum levels.

The saying goes ‘use it or lose it’, and when it comes to our brain health it is important to practice what you have learned. When you challenge yourself to learn something new, you are forming new cells and new neural connections. Over time we lose brain cells, so it is paramount that we train our brains continually so as not to become stagnant.

Cognitive health and your career

Intellectual growth and expansion can be of vast value for your career. As you learn, you better your cognitive flexibility – meaning you can switch between tasks with ease. You also strengthen your decision-making abilities and improve problem-solving functioning, which can only be a good thing in the workplace as you are more able to make the right call in challenging scenarios.

A healthy, stimulated brain will also have better memory functioning which can prevent you from chasing up tasks and employees unnecessarily. What’s more, boosted memory and information retention will allow you to recall past events in order to learn from them.

On the path of continual learning, you are bound to feel a great sense of accomplishment. Pair this with improved outcomes from upgraded skills and you have a recipe for improved self-confidence at work too. All of these positive effects can do wonders for your career, your prospects, and can set you up for a bright future.

Committing to a journey of continued learning

Despite its vast and varied benefits for the health of your brain, body, and career, committing to a journey of continued learning can sound like a huge undertaking, but it needn’t be. There is no set rule for hours of learning per week, nor a one-size-fits-all approach. What matters is that you choose a path of continual progression and that you make time for growth. To successfully establish good learning habits, you must do what works for you. It could be as simple as setting aside time every day for reading!

Committing to gaining a professional qualification is a surefire way to strengthen your cognitive health. At PRINCE2.com, we offer a range of professional development training courses which are designed to fit around you and your learning style. Our e-learning courses for example, offer a twelve month window for completion, allowing you to slot learning into your schedule as and when, meaning you keep your mental activity thriving.

There is a lifelong value to learning, for our health, our careers and our wellbeing. And so, shooting to supercharge your cognitive functioning has a host of benefits. A brain which is strengthened by continual learning is more engaged with improved functionality. (And let’s not forget that extended lifespan!)