The best way to boost your brainpower? Learn a language.
If you want to do something good for yourself, learn another language. I admit, posting this here might come across as biased, but scientists are on my side: Speaking more than one language doesn’t just give you more choices when applying for jobs or when diving into the dating pool, it can actually alter your brain structure and even increase your brain size: It’s almost as if your brain suddenly had a sixpack and killer biceps!
These pumped up mental muscles help you focus, make you more creative and a better analytical thinker who has exceptional memory and excels at planning and reasoning. In short: language learning can turn you and your brain from average Joe’s to superstars!
Here are four impressive facts about your brain when it learns a new language:
Multitasking becomes easy as pie
Being able to speak two languages can help you focus and filter out information that is irrelevant. Switching between languages makes your brain more flexible and it can prioritize more easily. But don’t worry, monolinguals: Being bilingual doesn’t automatically mean that you are more intelligent, it simply means that your brain reaps the benefits of a workout that makes it better at tackling mental challenges. Why don’t you just join the club and make your brain a laser-focused multitasker, too?
The brains of people who speak another language have denser gray matter. This might not be particularly tangible information, but gray matter actually contains lots of fibers and cells that process information. It’s one of the places where a lot of the brain magic happens, so the more there is, the better. How does this gray matter develop more densely? It works out regularly. Picking the right word, with the right meaning in the right language, doesn’t just sounds like a lot of work, it is a lot of work – and it’s the kind of mental workout that fires up those cells and fibers. This makes your brain stronger and gets it into tip-top shape.
But age doesn’t
We’re not done with the good news. No matter how many candles are on your birthday cake, you can train your language brain. Ignore all the myths you’ve heard: Adults who are motivated and invest enough time can not only master the language just as well as younger learners, their (language learning) brain will become better, faster, and stronger as well.
Kick dementia’s butt
Speaking of age: Researchers have found that learning and regularly speaking another language can reduce the development of Alzheimer’s disease and delay the onset of dementia by several years. Good to know, no matter what age you are – prevention is always the best medicine.