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How To Learn a New Skill for Brain Health and Mental Fitness

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Updated February 20, 2007

Learning a new skill challenges many parts of the brain. Not only does your brain have to understand the instructions for the new skill but it also has to learn new motions, program new muscle memories and remember everything. Here's how you can approach this great brain workout:
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: varies

Here's How:

  1. Choose your new skill.

    Find something that captivates you, that you can do easily in your home and doesn't cost too much. Photography with a digital camera, learning to draw, learning a musical instrument, learning new cooking styles, or writing are all great choices.

  2. Find a book or website that has a step-by-step program.

    The internet, library and bookstore have resources that offer advice, as well as step-by-step instructions for the beginner. Just pick one of these and go through the book or site, working for about 30 minutes a day.

  3. Reserve 30 minutes each day.

    To really start to develop skills, it is more important that you practice it daily, rather than practice for hours and hours once a week.

  4. Practice, practice, practice.

    It will take lots of practice before you get good at what you are trying. Remind yourself that you are doing this for brain exercise and enjoyment, not for any concrete result or product. It's likely your drawings will never be hung in a museum, but do you really care?

  5. Repeat. Keep learning.

    If you outgrow your book, find another. Learn everything you can about your skill. Read websites and talk to people or join a group. A new skill can lead to new relationships.

    More Ways to Improve Your Mental Fitness

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