The Benefits of Continued Education
By: Dr. Julie Cappel
I am sitting in a conference hall waiting for the first morning session of the last day of the Michigan Veterinary Conference. I arrived a bit early this morning to get some Starbucks coffee (a treat when I am out of town) and to spend a few minutes writing before the lecture starts. Today’s lecture subject is “Pain Management” — a subject that I have heard countless times before, but not from this lecturer. My experience with continuing education is that there is always something different to learn from every presentation. They all come with different perspectives and I always seem to learn a little something new.
The past few days as I watched veterinarians, technicians and managers navigate the exhibit hall, taking in the abundance of different learning experiences, I thought of our love and need for constant learning. Why is it that we love to learn and why should we continue to learn? I think that challenging our brains to learn something new makes life wonderful and it has massive mental health advantages.
When we learn a new skill, the benefits of the learning go well beyond just the new skill. Learning benefits us in all kinds of amazing ways.
When you concentrate on learning something new, it trains your brain to be more adaptive. The learning process challenges you to change your way of thinking — letting go of old ways and trying something new. The process allows your brain to become more adaptive when challenged to future change. You will be less likely to fear change in your work or home environment. It will allow you to embrace and enjoy change.
Challenging your brain to learn something new will also force your brain chemistry to improve. Learning and practicing a new skill has been linked to the strengthening the myelin (white matter) in your brain and may actually decrease the risks of future dementia.
Learning makes you a better, faster learner. Developing a new skill and practicing will help speed up your learning over time. The more you practice using the pathways in your brain, the better and faster the impulses can travel. You become faster and faster at learning.
Learning new things will keep you from getting board and may improve feelings of depression. The simple act of learning gives your brain something positive to focus on, replacing some of your negative thoughts. Having new things to talk about makes it easier to relate to other people. Broader interests can help you to relate to a wider audience which may strengthening social relationships.
It is so important to challenge your brain to learn something new each day. Read a book, watch a documentary, take a class, or learn from a friend or colleague. You will be surprised how much better your life will be when you embrace the wonderful world of learning.
What did you learn today?
Dr. Julie Cappel
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease
only at death.” – Albert Einstein
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