There are many skills we can learn that strengthen the brain and improve overall mental health. The process of learning a new language shapes the brain and the way we think. It keeps our brain young, keen, and shapes the way we handle every-day situations.
Languages improve memory: Just as your muscles get stronger with exercise, so does your brain. Learning a new language “exercises” your brain, improving overall memory. A study published in 2012 reported that bilingual children outperformed those who only knew one language, including both math and reading skills.
It enhances self-confidence: Successfully learning a new language naturally brings a sense of accomplishment, value and empowerment. This confidence carries into other aspects of life including relationships, jobs and mental health recovery.
You become more mindful: Maybe it is the intense focus necessary when dissecting sentences word by word that makes multilingual people more mindful individuals. Studies show they are able to remove distractions and better able to observe their surroundings.
Your mind is sharper: Learning a new language also enhances your native language. The new grammar and comprehension you are now practicing helps you become more aware of your first language. Multilingual people also have better decision-making skills and improved critical thinking ability.
Learning delays the onset of dementia: Along with exercise and healthy eating, a second language can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. A study published in 2011 found that those who spoke more than one language develop dementia nearly five years later than monolinguals.
As we age, we spend a lot of time focused on maintaining our youth: younger-looking skin, a strong physique and shiny hair. But what we often forget is taking time to fine-tune our mental health. As you can see, there are many brain benefits to speaking more than one language, and it’s never too late to learn. Bonne chance!