There are so many reasons why learning is good for you. To start with how about the fact that it changes your brain chemistry. This blog post will outline the benefits of learning and what courses you can start with that will also boost your wellbeing.
The white stuff in your brain is called myelin. Myelin helps to improve your performance in a number of things. The more you practice a new skill the more you are learning. This makes the myelin denser, which helps you to learn even better. This could even delay the onset of dementia. Dementia has been linked to the demyelination of the brain. And given that women are more at risk of developing dementia after menopause, surely it’s worth having your brain the best shape possible.
There is also evidence to suggest that learning something new also makes you more confident, happy and creative. That enough reasons for you? If so dive in below for some ideas on free online courses that you can take that will improve your wellbeing. Happy learning!
Minds and mental phenomena: An introduction
This course examines the philosophical questions surrounding the mind. After completing this course, you should be able to discuss basic philosophical questions concerning the mind and understand problems concerning the mind and mental phenomena and discuss them in a philosophical way. The course takes approximately 20 hours but can be worked through at your own pace. Imagine the convos you’ll have at parties with this knowledge!
Managing my money
Gain the skills to manage your personal finances: managing budgets, debts, investments, property purchases, pensions, and insurance. The course takes approximately 24 hours and can be worked through at your own pace. If you’re one of those people that puts the bank statement envelopes unopened in a drawer, this is for you! Face up and get your shit together with your money. It will make you feel so empowered. I promise.
After completing this course, you will be able to:
- understand how to undertake financial planning, including drawing up a budget and a household balance sheet
- apply a systematic approach to making key financial decisions
- understand loans, mortgages and other debt products and their costs
- understand the main categories of personal investments, their characteristics and the returns they provide to investors
- understand pension products and how to undertake pension planning
- understand insurance products and how they are priced
Nutrition and wellbeing
Gain the skills to evaluate nutrition information and apply it to your own diet. Understand the scientific basis of human nutrition, and current nutrition concepts and controversies. The course lasts 4 weeks and will require 3 hours of your time each week. Finally, get some evidence-based info on why those diets you’ve tried don’t work.
Topics you will cover include:
- The makings of a ‘healthy diet’: Which components of your diet can promote wellbeing and reduce the risk of diseases?
- Why do we eat what we eat? What are the ‘drivers’ that influence our food choices?
- Food and disease: Can you really eat your way to health?
- Nutrition fads, myths, and the plain truth: Are our genes to be blamed for our current nutritional habits?
Food as medicine
This course introduces the concept of food as medicine. You will explore how food can be important both in preventative health and as an aid in the management of certain chronic diseases. You will also learn about what’s in food that gives it the potential to improve your health and how to recognise which types of foods are essential for health and wellbeing, and how food can play an important role in treating/preventing disease. The course lasts 3 weeks and will require 4 hours of your time each week.
What topics will you cover?
- History of food as medicine
- Food and its role in prevention and treatment
- Macronutrients, micronutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants
- Nutrition complexities and controversies, and the importance of evidence
- Food and the gut
- Food and the brain
- Foods, fertility, and pregnancy
- Food and weight
- Food and our genome
- Public health nutrition guidelines
Maintaining a mindful life
Discover techniques to help you maintain a mindful life. Mindfulness techniques can improve your communication skills, relationships, and emotional health. But not everyone knows how to apply mindfulness in daily life. This course will show you how can embed mindfulness into all aspects of your life. The course lasts 4 weeks and will require 3 hours of your time each week.
How to read a novel
Get more from your reading. Find out what makes a great novel. How is a novel woven together? How can we best appreciate works of fiction? On the course you’ll discover four of the main building blocks of modern fiction: plot, characterisation, dialogue, and setting using examples from a range of texts including the four novels shortlisted for the 2018 James Tait Black fiction prize. You’ll also explore the formal strategies authors use, how they came to be, and how they affect us as readers. The course lasts 4 weeks and will require 2 hours of your time each week. I always wanted to join a book club. This would be a perfect intro on how to understand books better.
What topics will you cover?
- The course examines specific techniques relating to plotting and temporality including flashbacks, unreliable narration and framed narratives.
- The course considers ways of understanding character, such as behaviour and motives.
- It explores issues relating to the presentation of dialogue, including conversational mood and dialect voices.
- The course examines the impact of various different settings on the development of plot and character.
The four novels explored for this course are: Crudo by Olivia Laing, Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Murmur by Will Eaves and Sight by Jessie Greengrass
Make change happen
Learn what drives positive social change. If we want to make lasting social and political change we must understand power dynamics, systems and influencing strategies that can shift the status quo. This course will help you understand the context of the issues you’re passionate about and your existing sources of power and influence. You’ll be guided by examples of successful international movements and community action, and connect with changemakers worldwide. Ultimately, you’ll finish this course with the skills you need to spot and act on opportunities and contribute to the change you want to see in your community and the world. The course lasts 8 weeks and will require 3 hours of your time each week. Go on lady, be the change you want to see in the world!
Stress management. Techniques for coping with stress
Learn about coping strategies that can be implemented in real-life to help you cope with stress. The course will take 2 – 3 hours to complete. Learn some strategies that you can apply and continue to apply when you feel the need.
World of wine: from grape to glass
Think about your favourite wine. Imagine the brilliance of its colour in the glass, the ripe fruit aromas on the nose, a hint of toasty oak and lingering tannins on the back palate. Perhaps you like a specific wine but can’t pinpoint the reason why. The attributes that make wine so enjoyable are achieved through the expertise of viticulturists and winemakers, whose decision-making in the vineyard and winery is underpinned by science – to be precise, viticulture and oenology. The finer details can take years to learn, but in a matter of weeks, this course will give you a broad understanding of the principles and practices used to grow grapes and make wine, and their impact on wine appearance, aroma, flavour and taste. You’ll also gain an appreciation for how cutting-edge research is helping to secure the future sustainability of the global wine industry. Whether you’re a wine novice or a seasoned oenophile, this course is for anyone who loves wine and wine tasting. You’ll even get to make your own wine– virtually at least! The course lasts 6 weeks and will require 2 – 3 hours of your time each week. Where do I sign up?
The science of happiness
The Science of Happiness teaches the ground-breaking science of positive psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. You will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to your own life. The course will zero in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. It also offers practical strategies for tapping into and nurturing your own happiness, including trying several research-backed activities that foster social and emotional well-being, and exploring how your own happiness changes along the way. The course lasts 8 weeks and requires 4 – 5 hours of your time each week.
The science of everyday thinking
Explore the psychology of our everyday thinking: why people believe weird things, how we form and change our opinions, why our expectations skew our judgments, and how we can make better decisions. You will use the scientific method to evaluate claims, make sense of evidence, and understand why we so often make irrational choices. You will begin to rely on slow, effortful, deliberative, analytic, and logical thinking rather than fast, automatic, instinctive, emotional, and stereotypical thinking. Learn how to think independently, how to be skeptical, and how to value data over personal experience. Examine the mental shortcuts that people use and misuse, and apply this knowledge to help you make better decisions, and improve your critical thinking. The course lasts 12 weeks and requires 2 – 3 hours of your time each week. Your dinner party convo game will be epic.
Reinvent yourself: unleash your creativity
Time to reinvent yourself and unleash your inner creative. Dr. Roberta Ness will guide you through her exclusive 5-step program to being an effective innovator. Learn to break free from your usual thinking pattern and start generating creative solutions to life’s challenges. Sharpen your powers of observation, make surprising associations, expand your idea space, and even master how to think backward. Hone your creative thinking skills by solving real-world problems from business and science. The course lasts 28 weeks and will require 2 – 4 hours of your time each week. This one’s a big commitment but it seems like the gains could be worth it?
Aromatherapy – using essential oils introductory course
If you’re interested in learning how to use natural products for everyday things such as your health and around the house, this essential oil introductory course will set you on the right path.
In 90 minutes you’ll learn what essential oils are used for, how to blend them, how to make an insect repellent, muscle pain balm, vapour rub and more.
Learn to make bath and body products
This course will guide you to make some simple cosmetics using ingredients that are readily available in supermarkets or pharmacies. You will learn how to make a linen spray, bath bomb, body scrub and lip balm amongst other things. The course contains around 1 hour of video material.
Learn to make the world’s three most popular cocktails better than any cocktail bar using time-tested recipes and methods. Wow your friends at your next get-together with your amazing mojito, margarita or martini making skills! The course includes talking points, videos as well as over-the-shoulder cocktail creation videos so that you can learn interesting tidbits of information about each of these popular cocktails. You will be able to learn and see the creation of the cocktails from the bartender’s perspective. Each of the drink videos also contains a narrative where they go into further detail about each step of the drink-making process, the choice of alcohol, presentation, garnishes, etc. The course contains 30 minutes of videos.
There you go, do any of these tickle your fancy? I know the wine one has got me interested (surprise, surprise!).
Let me know if you plan to sign up for any of the courses or if you’ve found any others that you want to share.