Memory is such a crucial part of everyone’s life, yet I for one always manage to forget. Throughout the years I’ve learnt to trick myself into remembering things using different methods. I remember things through songs or short poems I make up, visualizing what i need to remember and leaving notes around the house. I’ve noticed though, that i’m not alone in this court; but is a sorrow shared a sorrow halved?
Instead of just treating the symptom at hand, I decided to treat the problem and looked up ways I could improve my memory for the long run. Research shows that any kind of study, especially studying of a new language, can help with many brain related issues. Learning a new language for example can help postpone Alzheimer and memory loss to a later stage in life or even avert it completely. Better yet, language study can improve the short and long term memory just by teasing it constantly. Vigilance, liveliness and multitasking can improve as well.
Imagine having to translate one language to another simultaneously.. Though a straining task, it is the kind of action that teases the brain and teaches it to multitask. In addition, each new language learned developes the opposite side of the brain. So by learning a new language, you are basically enlarging the portions of the brain that you use.
Last night, while teaching my wonderful student through GDL, we suddenly both realized an amazing occurrence. We started learning together almost two years ago back when she was scared she was developing early Alzheimer disease. Her memory was worse than mine so it seems; forgetting words and phrases were a small problem in comparison to forgetting to attend a meeting or forgetting a person you had spend a lot of time with.
After Two years of learning Hebrew, while we were speaking, she suddenly realized that she no longer feared having Alzheimer disease and hadn’t thought about it for a long time. Even her friends had noticed a dramatic change in her abilities, memory and energy. She had shed 10 years of mental aging since starting with Hebrew lessons.
While talking about the advantages of learning a language, we also found an extra and fun part about it; the amount of self-confidence built up due to succeeding in learning a new language is phenomenal. Every step of the way, every new interaction and every new success boosts a person’s confidence to new levels. At first the success is small and sweet, but over the years it grows and becomes gratifying and ever more fulfilling. Being able to Repeat a song or story that was learnt a year prior and being able to completely understand it with absolutely no trouble is a most rewarding feeling.
My experience with my student proved to me that one can improve oneself, one’s memory and learn new things at any age and grow personally all the time.