Developing a (new) skill takes time and you may encounter setbacks, but don’t worry! You can easily develop skills with the help of your brain. In this article, we take a look inside the brain and provide tips on how to take good care of it!

Whether it’s time for a new step in your career, you want to develop in your current position or you are becoming the mentor of a colleague… It’s always useful to develop new skills and talents. However, this can be a (mental) challenge. A handy tool: your brain! First, some facts about the brain.

A quick overview of the brain

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Connections between nerve cells are called neural networks. These exchange information, allowing you to move, think, and dream, among other things.

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The brain is always developing, known as plasticity. Neural networks are strengthened or weakened, and new networks can even form! This allows the brain to adapt well to new experiences.

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During so-called critical periods, the brain is extra plastic. You had these mainly as a child: think about how you learned to walk and talk back then. Difficult skills could be easily learned at a young age.

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The adult brain also has critical periods, but fewer than at a young age. It's less easy, and therefore, you need to invest more time and effort to learn something new.

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How to take good care of your brain

The brain plays a significant role in skill development. By taking good care of it, the process becomes easier and ultimately requires less time and effort. Here are some tips from Hersenstichting on what you can do to take even better care of your brain.

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Fuel your brain with the right nutrients

Nutrients like vitamins B, C, and E, as well as minerals, keep the brain healthy. This allows brain cells to communicate better, requiring less energy. As a result, you’ll feel more energetic and be able to concentrate better.

Feed your brain with healthy recipes

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Boost your brain with exercise

Exercise stimulates blood circulation, ensuring that the brain receives enough oxygen. This helps you think more clearly. Exercise also promotes the creation of new brain cells and strengthens the connections between brain cells. For example, go for a walk outdoors, it’s good for you.

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Sleep: strengthen memories and recharge

Good sleep quality helps you remember what you’ve learned during the day. Connections in the brain become stronger, positively influencing your memory. Additionally, relaxation provides extra energy, allowing you to exert yourself during the day. How well do you sleep?

Check your sleep!

Other tips for developing skills

Now that you have some understanding of how the brain works and how to take good care of it, it’s time to get started on developing the skill you want. The following things can help you with that:

Start small

Learning from your comfortable chair has never been easier thanks to the internet! Find online webinars and tutorials, for example on YouTube. These accessible tools can easily assist you.

Break it down

Break a large skill into smaller pieces. Write down these smaller tasks so you can check them off as you complete them. This way, you can track your progress effectively.

Plan and set goals

Schedule regular times to work on the skill so it better fits into your daily routine. Also, set interim goals, as achieving them will provide additional motivation!

Attend training or workshops

Enhance your knowledge and skills by attending training sessions or workshops. This is a fun, effective, and interactive way to learn new things, with guidance from a professional. You can ask questions and receive feedback right away.

Learn by observing

Develop skills at work by observing how others perform them. You can learn a lot by watching others, and you can also engage in a conversation with them afterward.

As you can see, there are many things you can do to develop (new) skills. Hopefully, you’ll be able to put these tips and tools into practice, and before you know it, you’ll have mastered them completely!

Hersenstichting

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