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Five health and wellness reasons to try a new language

Trying your hand at another language can boost your self-esteem and launch your confidence. ISTOCK

Five health and wellness reasons to try a new language

Learning another language is a life-changing experience. Ahead of World Mental Health Day, here are five ways in which language-learning boosts mental well-being.

Five health and wellness reasons to try a new language

Broaden your mind

Language-learning significantly improves the overall functionality of your brain.

In the same way that we acquire our mother tongue naturally as a child, learning a new one as an adult is a cognitive undertaking.

And by recognising and understanding new sounds, phrases, terms, and grammar, you’re engaging the brain in ways that you may not have experienced before.

By activating new connections in the brain you are immediately enhancing your mind’s capabilities – and, with it, boosting your mind’s strength and satisfaction. 

Foster creativity

Having a creative outlet is an important wellness strategy, and learning a language gives you the best of both worlds: Giving you a creative activity in the first place, but also helping you become more creative.

Attempting a new language challenges the mind to detect new patterns, recognise new sounds and push the abilities of our own memory.

This can encourage the brain to operate more creatively as we present the mind with new tasks and challenges.

Read more: The science of creativity

Build confidence

Depending on how far you want to go with your language-learning journey, at some point you will be encouraged to try out your new-found skills on native speakers of your chosen language.

This is a great opportunity to build your confidence and grow your self-esteem.

It may feel daunting at first, but even sharing the simplest of greetings with someone in another language can greatly boost your self-worth. 

Over time, your confidence will grow with every new interaction.

Eventually, as you continue to learn and find yourself engaging in deeper exchanges in another language, you will vastly improve your confidence in social situations.

Cultural connections

Learning a foreign language naturally exposes you to practices, customs and aspects of other cultures that you may have never seen or heard about.

Immersing yourself in how other people interact, socialise and enjoy themselves in other parts of the world will grow your mind’s sense of empathy and appreciation.

Breaking through cultural barriers can be a satisfying experience for our minds, especially if you’re doing so through the lens of learning another language.

Slow down the aging process

Given all the benefits that language-learning has on cognitive function and self-esteem, it’s hardly surprising that it keeps your brain healthier for longer.

Speaking more than one language provides constant exercise for your brain, and keeping your brain active is one way in which to delay the onset of dementia.

Learning new things such as a language helps keep your brain both alert and active in later life.

Granted, children may pick up a new language quicker than adults, but that doesn’t diminish the cognitive-sharpening that language-learning has on the mind.

Read more: How learning a new language halts your brain aging

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