Learning Something New Every Day is Associated with Greater Success in Maintaining Sobriety
Have you ever dreamed of playing a musical instrument well? Or perhaps you always wanted to be fluent in an exotic language. Decades of research into brain placidity, has shown that; people who make a conscious effort to learn something new everyday, can change their brains and their over-all outlook on life. Furthermore, the act of learning may also help people who struggle with alcoholism and addiction stay sober.
The act of dedicating ones life to mastering a skill—that is intellectually challenging—can reverse much of the neuronal challenges that can accompany alcoholism and addiction. This is because when we acquire a new skill—like playing a musical instrument—Our brains must work to create new neuronal pathways. This can then act to stimulate parts of the brain associated with pleasure and critical thinking.
What we Know About Addiction the Brain and Staying Sober
We know, based on extensive research on the brains of addicted persons, that one of the main parts of the brain affected is the mesolimbic-dopamine system (MDS). This part of the brain is heavily influenced by the neurotransmitter dopamine; a chemical messenger associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. Similarly, we are stimulating the same pleasure response pathway, when we are fully engaged in learning a task we truly enjoy. This is especially true when we are studying music. But simply studying any subject with great intention and effort can have a profound affect on brain health and function.
How the Brain Has Evolved
Another area of the brain affected by addiction is the pre-frontal cortex and frontal lobes. This is the area the brain we associate with being conscious of our actions and their impact on others. This was the last part of the brain to evolve in humans, and is thought to be the area responsible for our ability to make executive decisions and and our capacity to reason. In the case of addiction, the pre-frontal aspects of the brain may be diminished or reduced in size and function. Learning, can stimulate neuronal activity and growth in the pre-frontal and frontal lobe areas of the brain—thereby improving brain function and aiding in maintaining sobriety and reasoning skills.
Whatever you choose to study may not be as important as the act of simply learning something. Because learning, formal education, and the act of furthering ones education, has such a strong positive correlation with long-term sobriety regardless of the subject being studied.
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