Why learning is so important for wellbeing

How does learning a new skill benefit me?

Of course, there are hundreds if not millions of studies that have shown that keeping your brain active and engaged is vital for mental wellbeing. 

One of the first websites I came across when researching this blog was the NHS website where they say learning contributes to  “boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem, helping you to build a sense of purpose, helping you to connect with others.” That’s all well and good, but learning a language or a brand new skill is something that most people haven’t got the time for in modern day living. Ah yes… After working 9-5, I’ll just drop in on my Spanish class at 6, learn to scuba dive at 7 and attend a Seminar on “How the internet is killing our brains” at 8… Amidst keeping up a social life, looking after a family and getting at least 7 hours sleep- “learning” doesn’t really take priority does it? 

Well, the truth is, learning doesn’t have to be an epic achievement like learning cantonese or tap dancing (although if you do, I applaud you) . We are learning things every day, every hour and every second. It’s about changing your mindset and knowing how to recognise those learnings and appreciating them, that can make a huge difference in our wellbeing.

How to keep track of your learnings?

Every Monday morning meeting at BetterSpace, one of the things we share with each other is what we learned last week. This was a new initiative, Helen, our wonderful COO added to our sharings and I remember people finding this question incredibly hard to address for the first few weeks. “I didn’t really learn anything last week..” “I learned so much, how can I possibly remember” “I didn’t learn anything significant”. I must admit, I found it quite difficult to choose something that sounded significant enough to sound impressive and worth sharing, and ended up missing off the question a lot of the time. 

A few weeks after we started, I had a great conversation with my colleague James about this, where we shared our feelings on this question and it was one of those wonderful 2 minute conversations that completely changes your outlook. We came to the conclusion that the issue is two fold. 1. You think you learn nothing because you’re doing the same thing over and over again and 2. You learn things every second so how are you supposed to remember?! We decided that we need to make remembering and noting down our learnings an active choice – I use a pen and paper because I love to feel but the notes app on your phone will do. Sometimes learning can’t be automated, you need to recognise it and log it. I found once I started doing this, I suddenly became much more productive and felt like I had achieved much more. And studies have shown that people with a greater sense of accomplishment perform better at work and are generally happier people.

Think small 😉

The biggest change was adapting my mind set from “I did XYZ” to “I learned… how to do XYZ”. We talk about staying active and engaged. I like to think of this as active learning. For example, “on Thursday I went to our new office in Central London for a meeting, had lunch at Portuguese restaurant with my friend who just started KickBoxing, got home and cooked dinner with my wife”- a pretty average day right…? It doesn’t take a lot to shift that mindset to “On Thursday I learned the route from my house to my new office in London, I learned that my colleague Amira has started Kick Boxing classes and I learned that there are 5 types of tofu”. Already, you are recognising your learning which is adding to your sense of accomplishment for that day. These tiny mindshifts may seem insignificant now, but if persevered with, will soon become a “wellbeing habit” which will keep you motivated and  your brain engaged even at the hardest of times. As Aeschylus once said – “From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow”. May the mind shifts be the tiny seeds and the mighty trunks the neurons firing into action leading to new pathways linking in your brain. It’s never too late to learn something new. 

So I’ll start:

Today I learned that it takes me precisely 3 mins to change from the Northern line to the Jubilee line at London Bridge. 

What did you learn?


BetterSpace is the employee wellbeing platform putting control where it belongs: in the hands of the individual employee. Our groundbreaking solution has been developed with medical and domain expertise and is aligned to our Six Pillars of Wellbeing. BetterSpace empowers your workforce to understand and fulfill their mental health needs. 

This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.

Want to know more? Schedule a product demonstration with us today.

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