The benefits of learning a new language are extensive, ranging from professional development and new career opportunities, to cognitive and mental health benefits. In this article, we’re delving into the latter and exploring how language learning processes can contribute to your happiness and improve your overall mental wellbeing.
1. Enhance Your Brain Power
By learning a new language and improving your cognitive abilities, you’re likely to be more inclined to throw yourself into new challenges, feeling more capable of tackling them. This can open up a whole host of new opportunities for you to explore, helping you propel yourself out of any mental ruts you may find yourself in.
The positive impact of learning a new language
Research increasingly suggests learning a second language can have a huge impact on brain power, even if you only start learning later in life. A fascinating decades-long study from the University of Edinburgh, completed in 2014, revealed the positive impact learning a second language can have on the brain, at all stages in life.
Researchers examined the results of standardised intelligence tests taken by a group at age 11 and compared them with results of similar tests taken when group members reached the age of 73. Participants in the study were tested on a number of physical and mental functions as they grew older, including changes in reasoning, memory, speed of thinking, as well as health and fitness.
Results from the lifetime study showed that those who spoke two or more languages had significantly improved cognitive skills in later life compared with what would be predicted from their IQ results in childhood. This trend even applied if the second language was acquired later in adulthood.
2. Invest in Yourself
When you take the time to learn a new language, you're putting time aside to work on yourself. Not only are you picking up a new skill but by doing so you’re bettering yourself. There are also many other benefits which can enrich other areas of your life such as your career, hobbies, and relationships.
Some of the benefits you might enjoy include the following:
• Improving your CV
• Working and living abroad
• Travelling the world
• Improving your memory
• Access to new career opportunities
• Wider communication
• Access to more original films, music, and media
• Helps you learn faster
• Improving studying abilities
• Improving your understanding of other languages
• Easier to learn other languages of the same family
Investing in yourself has a ripple effect and can open up more possibilities for happiness.
3. Embrace Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the act of being present and is the brain being fully aware of what’s happening in the moment. It is a state which is often practised through meditation, encouraging us to be calm and in touch with our bodies.
Similar to meditation, learning a language can also encourage the same state of mindfulness. The presence and patience required to face the challenge of learning a new language can create a sense of calm. The steadiness and understanding of our own mental state can help fight feelings of anxiety and lift you out of a negative mindset.
4. Boost Your Confidence
Learning a language isn't easy and taking your first steps should be a huge confidence boost.
Deciding to speak a new language not only demonstrates intellect, but it’s also an amazing example of perseverance. You should be proud that you've decided to dedicate your time to something so incredible!
Finding your feet with a new language can feel impossible. You're likely to feel hesitant at first. But with every word you learn and every interaction you make, your confidence will flourish and your belief in yourself and your abilities will grow .
5. Enjoy the Feeling of Achievement
On a similar note, learning a new language will provide you with a sense of achievement which will be renewed every time you progress. Picking up a new language helps you to create and achieve manageable goals. By setting goals on your journey, you can easily track your progress and observe improvements in your own abilities.
Whether it’s the personal development or the mindfulness experienced in concentration, you’re sure to feel happier and fulfilled after a language study session (taken at your own pace).
So, as you brush up on the basics, nail a new topic or even manage to hold a full conversation in your new language for 5 minutes, you can tick each achievement off and look back at how far you've come. This feeling of accomplishment never ends either - with languages there's always something new to master.
6. Define a Sense of Purpose
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do with yourself, or are feeling a little down in the dumps and are struggling to find motivation, learning a language is a great way of giving yourself responsibility. Being able to pick up your learning of a language whenever you’d like and at whatever pace you wish is an excellent way of getting your mind active.
7. Gain a New Perspective
Learning a new language opens your eyes to just how diverse and amazing the world really is. Language learning is much more than reciting words and phrases. It involves taking the time to understand other cultures too. By breaking down the language barrier, you'll be exposed to new traditions, new ways of life, and even new media – like being able to listen to K-Pop or watch anime and understand it.
If you like travelling or going on holiday, you're guaranteed to find the experience much more fulfilling too. Even with a basic understanding of a different language, you'll find the courage to explore new places, try new things, and even speak to locals who might become new friends.
8. Discover Empathy
By learning a new language, you’re able to form a much stronger connection with others who speak it, as you’re able to more accurately translate and understand what they’re saying. Different languages use various tones and place emphasis on certain words to convey emotions.
Understanding these nuances can trigger an emotional response within you, allowing you to get a better sense of how they see things and how this differs from your own views. You’ll then also be able to respond with a response which conveys exactly what you’re feeling and therefore lead to a deeper conversation.
Learning Makes us Happier
Once you begin learning something new, you’ll start to enjoy the benefits we’ve mentioned above, which can make you happy – directly or indirectly. Whether it’s the personal development or the mindfulness experienced in concentration, you’re sure to feel happier after a language study session (taken at your own pace).
Learn a New Language with City Lit
You don't need to have a purpose for studying - in fact, the best kind of language learning is when you study simply because you want to.
In life, it's so easy to forget to spend time on the things you love, and if that thing for you happens to be studying a language, then it's sure to bring you plenty of happiness. If studying Japanese, French or Italian, for example, has always been a dream of yours, then there really is no better time to start than right now!
Always secretly dreamed of learning a second language but never got round to giving it a try? Now is the perfect opportunity to take control of your life and begin a brand-new journey by learning a new language.
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We teach over 27 different languages - including British Sign Language and ancient languages like Latin and Sanskrit as well modern languages from across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas - so no matter what you're interested in, you're sure to find a rewarding course here at City Lit.