Many people struggle with depression and are looking for effective ways to eradicate their feelings of sadness and hopelessness. However, luckily for all of us, discussing psychological issues and ways to improve mental health is no longer taboo. People seeking alternative ways to ease mental torment have also found many clever and efficient solutions, one of which being learning a foreign language.
Depression is not an easy disorder to live with, as it practically dictates your life by forcing you to push away your wishes and ambitions and go deeper into despair and self-destruction. Fortunately, mastering a new language is a logical, holistic, and natural approach to fighting this mental illness. Honing this skill will ease symptoms of depression, as it promotes mindfulness, gives you a brighter future to look forward to, and brings along other advantages that will improve your quality of life.
Let’s delve further into how becoming fluent in a foreign language can change your life by helping you efficiently deal with depression.
a) It Brings an Engaging Distraction
A person that is overwhelmed with negative thoughts and stressful, worrisome feelings is mostly unable to concentrate on tasks and find an effective distraction alone. That is the common reason why people fail to help themselves by learning a foreign language. Therefore, the most effective way to step into the “healing” process is to start with the support of another person, preferably an expert tutor. There are outstanding online tutors who are available 24/7 and adaptable to your schedule. Conduct your sessions via Skype.
Not only will your tutoring time bring an excellent distraction for a full hour or so, but also you’ll establish a purpose and start learning. Instead of stressing and spiraling over anything, your brain will be engaged in remembering new words, conjugating verbs, or trying to comprehend a sentence you are reading in your targeted language. Although a tutor provides excellent support to help get you going, you can always find many supportive solutions like books, movies, music, language apps, etc.
b) Practicing a New Language = Practicing mindfulness
Practicing meditation and mindfulness are holistic approaches to depression that are greatly praised for their beneficial impact. Mindfulness is no more than being aware of the present moment and living it fully—this can be easily achieved when learning a foreign language! You are practicing mindfulness by being completely present and involved in the fulfilling process of learning new words, remembering them, putting them into sentences, reading, or talking.
When you are totally engaged in becoming fluent in a language you’ve wanted to learn forever, it’s harder to get lost in troublesome thoughts. Being mindful of your learning process not only brings momentary benefits by easing the pain and burden of depression; it also has long-term positive effects. Let’s take a look at those.
c) It Physically Changes Your Brain
Our brain has the ability to constantly change due to environmental impacts, thoughts, emotions, or brain exercise through learning. Moreover, learning a new language greatly affects brain plasticity; it changes the brain by building many new neural pathways and connections that form white and gray brain matter. The changes in the brain that learning a new language brings have been studied for years. It has been confirmed that by becoming fluent in one or more new languages, the brain develops seriously enhanced cognitive abilities, multitasking abilities, improved memory, and, of course, improved mood.
By boosting your abilities and helping you think more clearly, this “building” of the brain will help you feel more satisfied and happy with yourself. This is only the start of increasing your self-appreciation! Through becoming fluent in a foreign language, you are building self-confidence and will start believing in your great abilities again.
d) A Reason to Socialize
Depression isolates people. Through mastering a new language, the overwhelming, little world you feel trapped in will now begin to expand and not appear as lonely and tiny. The world will become a good place to live in, as you are given a chance for a fresh new start. For example, if you went through a horrible life experience that induced depression, your fluency in a new language can enable you to move to another country or socialize with completely new people. You can build a new life for yourself without anything reminding you of negative past experiences and avoid those who hurt you.
Language is all about communication, and now you are opening a door to meeting completely new people and widening your horizons. Interacting with people in encouraging groups and on online platforms will help you realize that there is a whole community of people out there cheering for you to succeed. These caring and supportive people will become your lifelong friends.
Also Read: How to Avoid Depression in 11 Ways
e) Immense Satisfaction
The absence of happiness and self-appreciation in depressed individuals is mostly linked to low levels of “happiness hormones”. This is because prolonged periods of stress and worries decrease the levels of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins, which ultimately results in negative emotions that induce and amplify the symptoms of depression. However, when a person achieves something so great as becoming fluent in a foreign language, they feel happy and satisfied with the accomplishment. These feelings of self-appreciation and content increase the levels of happiness hormones and physically impact the mental state of the person.
Constant practice of the new language you have mastered will help you permanently cure depression. Finding a way to incorporate what you learned into your everyday life will remind you of your vast abilities and wonderful personality. On top of this, your re-gained self-esteem will help you believe in your ability to learn, improve, and advance in life without clinging to the past negative experiences.
To Wrap It All Up
If you’re ready to take charge of your mental health, becoming fluent in a new language can be key to helping you fight and overcome depression. Learning a foreign language will distract you from any negative thoughts, help you practice mindfulness, and boost your brain development. It will also give you a reason to socialize with new friends and bring you enormous fulfillment and joy.
Thus, enlist the help of an online language tutor today to get you started on your journey towards optimal mental health.
- How Learning a New Language Can Help You Fight Depression - April 5, 2021