Trying something new. Rediscovering an old interest. Signing
up for that course. Taking on a different responsibility at work. Fixing a
bike. Learning to play an instrument or how to cook a favourite meal. Taking on
a challenge or training for and running the Cardiff Half Marathon. All of these
are examples of Keep Learning, another of the evidence based Five Ways
to Wellbeing. As well as being fun to do, these things will make you more
Often our focus on learning is on its importance to young people
– we understand the need to ensure they develop skills, knowledge and
experience as they grow. However, research shows that adult learning is just as
important and is (similarly) positively correlated with boosted effects on
wellbeing, reports of life satisfaction, optimism, and efficacy.
Engaging with life-long learning is also likely to boost
your resilience, increasing self-esteem and even a sense of purpose and hope. People
who keep learning as adults are also more likely to adapt well to stress! This
is of course unsurprising – when we are learning our minds typically focus on
the present moment, a mindful activity that is known to reduce stress and boost
Learning is about gaining new knowledge and skills. It’s
about having new experiences, taking on challenges, learning new approaches and
improving on things we’ve already done. Learning can be formal or informal. It
can be taking on an educational or vocational course, updating an existing
skill, taking on a new task in work, gaining personal insights and more.
These are all good things for our wellbeing.
Further, researchers have identified that adult learning in
particular is related to the practice of goal-setting, which has been strongly
associated with higher levels of wellbeing. This boost occurs when
goal-directed behaviour is self-generated and congruent with personal values.
So, what are your learning goals? Have you been putting off
learning that language or doing a Couch to 5K or even running the Cardiff Half
Marathon? Have you been wanting to try something new in work but haven’t spoken
to your manager about it? Is Keep Learning a healthy part of your self-care
toolkit? Remember, learning can be challenging and fun and will boost your
Here are some ways you can get started:
Take a course in something you’d like to learn
Visit a library
Subscribe to a podcast
Look at a ‘How to’ video you YouTube
Try something new
Take up a new sport or activity
Seek out opportunities for personal development
Learning new things takes time, so set some realistic
learning goals and remember to have fun along the way.