“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”- Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher
Did you know that 56% of all Europeans are bilingual, while Americans and British are at the bottom of the league with only about 20%? Actually, Bill Gates feels “pretty stupid” because he is monolingual, but that certainly did not prevent him from becoming a billionaire!
Numbers and anecdotes aside, being bilingual makes you smarter, according to many research studies. Basically, your brain is more active and your cognitive skills improve as you learn new languages. As an added bonus, you may actually be able to delay the onset of dementia in old age. Here are the main points from the most important studies on the advantages of being bilingual.Advertising
Bilinguals are sharper thinkers
Samuel Beckett, the great Irish playwright, is a superb example. Although a native English speaker, he decided to write all his first drafts in French, as he was bilingual. He then translated them back into English. He explained that this forced him out of his usual, predictable writing style habits. Using the second language forced him to be much more critical and aware of what he was writing.
Researchers at the University of Chicago wondered if Beckett was an exceptional case or if bilinguals really are sharper thinkers. Their research showed that bilinguals were indeed less biased in making their decisions and were sharper when having to make choices as to style and selection of vocabulary. They were, in a way, forced to think outside the box. They were also better at making more rational decisions.
Bilinguals have better working memory
Ellen Bialystok is a researcher at York University, Toronto. She and her colleagues set out to show that bilinguals have certain advantages in mental processing. They found that bilinguals are better at switching their attention when multi-tasking and are also better at paying attention in general. It did not matter whether the tasks were connected to language or not.Advertising
This type of mental processing is known as executive control. This control plays a vital part in childhood academic achievement which in turn benefits overall health and well-being. The researchers also noticed that bilinguals are better at sifting out irrelevant information since they frequently have to deal with interference from other languages.
Bialystok conducted another study which showed that this great advantage extended well into old age and was a factor in helping to stave off dementia. The faster reaction and better memory of the elderly participants was a marked feature of the bilinguals in the study.
“We have even found that bilinguals with Alzheimer’s disease maintain surprisingly good ability to access names in a non-dominant language.” – Tamar Gollan, University of California, San Diego
Bilinguals have more gray matter
As we know, the more gray matter we have in our brains the better, as it helps us process information we receive, especially for intellectual activity. Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC also found that bilinguals (Spanish/English) had more gray matter in their brains than those who were using English/ ASL (American Sign Language).
“Unlike the findings for the Spanish-English bilinguals, we found no evidence for greater gray matter in the ASL-English bilinguals.” – Dr. Olumide Olulade, lead author of the above study.
The management of two spoken languages was regarded by researchers as being a key factor in the growth of gray matter. It is generally accepted that our brains adapt as a result of new experiences.Advertising
They also observed that London taxi drivers have more gray matter too, although that has more to do with their spatial navigation skills rather than knowing two or more languages.
Are you ready to start learning another language?
Most of the research studies indicate that you do not have to be bilingual from childhood. Even learning a second language in later life can give you many of the advantages cited above. It is time to start talking to the world.
“We seem to be on a constant quest to keep America a country of citizens who can only talk to one another.” – Kari Martindale
Featured photo credit: One brain, two minds/ Gwydion M.Williams via flickr.com
Last Updated on October 17, 2019
How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner
You see your partner every single day. They are the first person you talk to in the morning and the last person you kiss goodnight.
But does seeing each other day in and day out equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.
Spending quality time with your partner is the best way to ensure your relationship stays healthy and strong. This means going above and beyond sitting together while you watch Netflix or going out for the occasional dinner. You deserve more from your relationship – and so does your spouse!
What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without interruption. It’s a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication will build emotional intimacy and trust.
Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not sex, necessarily (but that’s great, too!) but through hand-holding, cuddling, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection will boost partner satisfaction.
So how do you spend quality time with your partner? Here are 13 relationship tips on making the most out of your time with your partner.
1. Recognize the Signs
If you want a healthy relationship, you have to learn how to recognize the signs that you need to spend more quality time together.
Some telltale signs include:
- You’re always on your phones.
- You value friendships or hobbies over quality time with your spouse.
- You aren’t together during important events.
- You are arguing more often or lack connection.
- You don’t make plans or date nights.
- You’re not happy.
If you are experiencing any of these relationship symptoms, know that quality time together can reverse the negative effects of the signs above.
2. Try New Things Together
Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or speak another language? How about skydive or ballroom dance?
Instead of viewing these as solo hobbies and interests, why not involve your partner?
Trying new activities together builds healthy relationships because it encourages spouses to rely on one another for emotional and physical support.
Shared hobbies also promote marital friendship, and the Journal of Happiness Studies found that marital satisfaction was twice as high for couples who viewed each other as best friends.
3. Schedule in Tech-Free Time
Your phone is a great way to listen to music, watch videos, and keep up-to-date with friends and family. But is your phone good for your relationship?
Many couples phone snub, or ‘phub’, one another. Studies show that phubbing can lower relationship satisfaction and increase one’s chances of depression.
Reduce those chances by removing distractions when spending quality time together and showing your partner they have your full attention.
4. Hit the Gym as a Couple
One way you can spend more time together as a couple is by becoming workout partners. Studies show that couples are more likely to stay with their exercise routine if they work out together. Couples also work out harder than they would solo. One study found that 95 percent of couples who work out together maintained weight loss compares to the 66 percent of singles who did.
Join a gym, do at-home couples’ workouts, try couples yoga, hit the hiking trails, or get your bikes out. No matter which way you choose to exercise, these healthy activities can promote a healthy relationship.
5. Cook Meals Together
Pop open a bottle of wine or put some romantic music on while you get busy – in the kitchen, of course!
One of the best relationship tips for spending quality time together when you both have busy schedules is to cook meals together.
Spice things up and try and prepare a four-course meal or a fancy French dish together. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time together, but it also promotes teamwork.
If all goes well, you’ll have a romantic date night meal at home that you prepared with your four hands. And if the food didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, you are guaranteed to have a laugh and create new memories together.
6. Have a Regular Date Night
Couples experience a greater sense of happiness and less stress when they are spending quality time together. One of the biggest relationship tips for a healthy partnership is to include a date night in your weekly routine.
The National Marriage Project found that having a weekly date night can make your relationship seem more exciting and helps prevent relationship boredom. It also lowers the probability of divorce, improves your sex life, and increases healthy communication.
Some great ideas for what to do on your date night include:
- Have a movie marathon – Gather up your favorite flicks and cuddle up on the couch.
- Play games together – Cards, board games, video games, and other creative outlets are a fun way to spend quality time together.
- Recreate your first date – Go back to that restaurant and order the same meal you did when you first got together. You can spice up your evening by pretending you’re strangers meeting for the first time and see how sexy the night gets.
- Plan a weekend getaway – There’s nothing better than traveling with the one you love.
- Dinner and a movie – A classic!
- Try a new restaurant – Make it your mission to rate and try all of the Mexican restaurants/Irish pubs/Italian trattorias in your area.
- Have a long sex session – Intimacy promotes the release of the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for a myriad of great feelings.
Here’re even more date night ideas for your reference: 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples
The benefits of spending quality time together are endless. Here are just some of the ways it can contribute to a healthy relationship:
- Improves emotional and physical intimacy
- Lowers divorce rates
- Improves communication
- Reduces marital boredom
- Bonds couples closer
- Improves friendship
- Boosts health
- Reduces stress
These are all excellent reasons to start making date night a regular part of your week.
It’s easy to have a healthy relationship when you set aside dedicated time to share with your spouse. Try new things together, make your spouse your workout buddy, and look for innovative ways to be close and connected.
These relationship tips will bring great benefits to your marriage.
Featured photo credit: Allen Taylor via unsplash.com
|||^||The American Journal of Family Therapy: Romantic Physical Affection Types and Relationship Satisfaction|
|||^||Journal of Happiness Studies: How’s Life at Home? New Evidence on Marriage and the Set Point for Happiness|
|||^||Personality and Individual Differences: Partner phubbing and depression among married Chinese adults: The roles of relationship satisfaction and relationship length|
|||^||Indiana University Bloomington: The two-month curse: don’t let January workout resolutions fade|
|||^||J Consult Clin Psychol. : Benefits of recruiting participants with friends and increasing social support for weight loss and maintenance.|
|||^||Marriage.com: 11 Ways to Have a Quality Time With Your Partner|
|||^||J Marriage Fam. : Time for Each Other: Work and Family Constraints Among Couples|
|||^||W. Bradford Wilcox & Jeffrey Dew: The Date Night Opportunity|
|||^||Marriage.com: 10 Benefits of Physical Intimacy in Your Relationship|