Op-Ed: Learning a New Language can Make you Happier, This is Why

As someone who speaks five, I have to admit that learning a language hasn’t always been a source of joy. Studying all that new grammar and vocabulary can be tiring and frustrating. But it can also be incredibly rewarding and fun. What’s more, speaking a new language can make you happier. This is why.

  1. It’s a time dedicated only to yourself

When you’re studying a new language, there’s so much happening there, that there’s no time for anything else. Over the span of an hour or two, external factors or worries will be out the window, as you focus completely on that task. A form of mindfulness, if you will. These moments of pure joy are key to enhancing your mental acuteness and your happiness. 

2. It gives you perspective

By learning a new language, you’re not just incorporating new words and structures, you’re also absorbing a different take on life. You’ll be immersed in a new culture, and you’ll probably get the chance to relate to a different group of people, that will bring their own view of the world. 

3. It’s a form of self-care

Studying and improving yourself is a great way to make sure that no matter what you’ll always stay active and thriving. In fact, researchers have found that learning a language and enlarging your vocabulary triggers the brain to release endorphins, also known as the “feel good” hormones. 

4. It boosts self-confidence

Making the time every day to study a language will immediately increase our sense of accomplishment. Feeling efficient and confident in your abilities—not just your learning skills, but your organizational ones—helps people feel more satisfied in other areas of their life as well as their ability to cope with everyday problems.

5. It makes you more sociable

Having rich interpersonal connections play a very important role in our sense of belonging, purpose, and overall happiness. Conversely, studies have shown that living a lonely life can shorten a person’s life by 15 years. We are a social species, and we thrive on meeting new people and making friends. Speaking another language can make you more sociable by forcing you to engage more, overcome your fear of public speaking, open up and express your feelings and opinions, and interact with a now larger pool of people. 

Not only does this social interaction make us happy, but it also gives us a confidence boost. You have acquired a new skill, and you know how to use it. So, next time you feel a little down, bored, or stuck in a rut, why not take up a new language?  

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