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7 Reasons You Should Thank The Second Language You Learned

7 Reasons You Should Thank The Second Language You Learned

Whether you had a bilingual upbringing or learned a second language later in life, you are incredibly fortunate. In fact, the benefits of being bilingual may be far greater than you ever imagined.

From the wealth of research surrounding bilingualism, scientists have highlighted distinct advantages in academic performance, mental health, and even future success. This phenomenon has since become known as the bilingual advantage.

The process of learning, knowing and using a second language has a profound effect on the brain. Specifically, they experience greater development in these key areas that organize and process speech:

  • Auditory Cortex – receives auditory stimuli and sends it to the Wernicke’s area
  • Wernicke’s Area – processes language sounds
  • Motor Cortex – controls motion of lips and mouth for forming speech
  • Broca’s Area – organizes language for active speech

When it comes to our everyday lives, many of these astounding benefits may surprise you!

7 Key Benefits of Being Bilingual

1. Greater Cognitive Skills

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    Bilingualism has been seen to enhance essential brain functions during focusing and demanding mental tasks. Then when it comes to creativity and problem-solving, studies have shown a distinct advantage for children who speak two languages.

    It’s believed that their brains can process and sort through information more efficiently than monolingual individuals. Since they must subconsciously choose words from a certain language, they gain more practice at selecting vital information over trivial details. As a result, bilinguals have the upper hand when it comes to dismissing distractions and multitasking.

    Almost unbelievably, there is evidence that suggests bilinguals make more rational decisions. The fact of the matter is, our natural human emotional bias is greatly diminished when using a second language. As we gain emotional distance and shift our focus on to information, we find ourselves performing more rational responses.

    2. Reduced Cognitive Damage Through Aging

    Even as we reach maturity, the benefits of being bilingual continue to serve us. As we age our cognitive flexibility begins to wane. We become slower and less able to adapt to unexpected and unfamiliar situations. Yet speakers of second languages have shown reduced and delayed damage as they age.

    Dementia is another worry, however, bilingualism has been seen to support cognition in older adults and delay the effects.

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    Studies have noted that speaking a second language has a profound effect on Alzheimer’s suffers. Many of the symptoms, such as confusion and memory loss, can be delayed by up to 5 years!

    3. Ease of Learning Another Foreign Language

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      If a child learns a second language, they can often pick up another with much less difficulty than others. Bilinguals have an advantage when it comes to the following linguistic skills:

      • Listening skills
      • Categorization of words
      • Processing information
      • Finding rhymes and word association
      • Communication skills
      • Increasing vocabulary
      • Finding solutions

      4. More Job Opportunities

      Modern businesses have diversified and grown internationally. Innovations in telecommunications and internet technology have opened up countless opportunities for business in foreign markets. Now, multicultural individuals are being increasingly seen as great assets to help business connect with these markets.

      We have huge multi-national companies who open offices internationality, manufacture on foreign lands and sell products in global markets. Employees who can speak more than one of these languages are in great demand, plus it makes you stand out from the rest.

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      5. Increased Money Earning Potential

      While your earning potential will vary greatly depending on your language and field, being bilingual is always advantageous. In fact, data from Salary.com showed that certain jobs were willing to pay a 5-20% higher hourly wage for bilingual candidates.

      Furthermore, Albert Saiz revealed that on average, bilingual graduates go on to earn 2% more than single language speakers. While this does not sound like much, it could certainly amount to a lot over a lifetime!

      6. Stronger Command of Your Primary Language

      This may come as a surprise to you, but speaking a second language can often reinforce the grasp of your primary language. To learning you must have focused on the mechanics of the language, such as sentence structure, grammar, and conjugations. As you became more aware of how a language is structured and utilized, you’ll develop increased communication skills.

      It’s also likely your listening skills will be sharpened as you become more accustomed to subtle tones and their meanings.

      Learning a foreign language draws your focus to the mechanics of language: grammar, conjugations, and sentence structure. This makes you more aware of language, and the ways it can be structured and manipulated. These skills can make you a more effective communicator and a sharper editor and writer. Language speakers also develop a better ear for listening, since they become skilled at distinguishing the meanings from discrete sounds.

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      7. Greater Perception of the World

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        One of the best benefits of being bilingual is the understanding of yourself and others. Even without traveling, your perception of the world around you can be transformed. Believe it or not, bilingual can even perceive greater variations of color than monolinguals.

        It’s even common for bilinguals to adopt different characteristics as they speak different languages. Many have even admitted to feeling different about themselves and acting differently according to these languages.

        One study found that changing of self-perception, or “Frame-shifting,” is far more prevalent in second language speakers. Those fluent in two languages were seen to perceive themselves differently as they spoke to each one. Whats more, even adverts in different languages are perceived differently.

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        Last Updated on July 13, 2020

        9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive

        9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive

        It’s common to be struck with a bout of pessimism, or to naturally be more towards the pessimistic end of the perspective spectrum. It’s hard to see the positives in life and become an optimist when you’re lost in the murky waters of negative thinking.

        However, Henrik Edberg, the founder of The Positivity Blog is here to share nine ways we can create a more optimistic outlook and positive perspective:

        “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” — Maria Robinson

        When I was younger — in my teens and early 20s — I was trapped. Not physically, but mentally: by the destructive thought pattern called pessimism. This negative thinking poisoned what might have been a pretty good and opportunity-filled childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. This pessimism created ceilings and walls where there really were none.

        Throughout the period when I was ridden by pessimism, my life and I mostly stood still. Looking back, it was a terrible waste. If you are in pessimistic place, you don’t have to stay there for the rest of your life. I didn’t, for I learned to replace my negative thinking with optimism.

        In this article I’ll explore nine positivity habits that have helped me to go from someone who was pessimistic most of the time to someone who is now optimistic almost all the time. I recommend to not try to add all the habits at one go but to choose one habit and to practice it for 30 days so it becomes a habit, before adding the next.

        1. Ask Yourself the Right Questions

        This is the simplest but perhaps also the most important habit I have discovered in adopting an optimistic mindset. The questions we ask ourselves day in and day out when we wind up in negative, difficult or uncertain situations make all the difference in our life.

        A pessimist might ask him/herself questions like:

        • “Why did this happen to me?”
        • “Why do bad things happen to me all the time?”

        But an optimist asks him/herself the questions that open up the mind to new viewpoints and possibilities. A few of my favorite questions for finding the optimistic perspective are:

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        • “What is one good thing about this situation?”
        • “What can I learn from this situation?”
        • “What is one small step I can take today to start solving this situation?”

        2. Create a Positive Environment to Live In

        The people you spend your time with and the information you let influence your mind will have a huge effect on your attitude and how you think about things.

        Watch this YouTube video and learn the power of a positive environment:

        So choose to:

        • Spend more time with the people who lift you up. And less time – or no time – with people who just bring you down by being negative and critical. Read: You are the Average of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
        • Let in the information that supports you. Spend less time on negative and self-esteem damaging media sources and spend more time reading positive and constructive blogs and books, watching motivating movies, listening to inspirational songs, and listening to audio books and podcasts created by optimistic people. Check out 12 Inspirational Movies With Important Life Lessons To Learn and 25 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time.

        3. Be Grateful for What You Have (Don’t Forget About Yourself Too)

        A very simple and quick way to boost the positive energy in your life is to tap into gratitude.

        I usually do it by asking one or more of these questions:

        1. What can I be grateful for in my life today?
        2. Who are 3 people that I can be grateful to have in my life and why?
        3. What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?

        Just spend 60 seconds or a few minutes during your day with answering one of these questions to reap the wonderful benefits.

        4. Don’t Forget About Your Physical Self

        Being an optimist isn’t just about thinking in a different way. It is also about caring for the physical part of ourselves.

        I have found that working out a couple of times a week, enough quality sleep each night and eating healthy food has a huge effect on my mindset.

        If I mismanage those very basic things then negative thoughts pop up far more often and I become more pessimistic and shut down about the possibilities in my life.

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        So don’t neglect these basic fundamentals. Just caring for your physical self the right way can minimize a whole bunch of problems in life.

        5. Start Your Day in an Optimistic Way

        The way you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. For example, a stress-free morning often leads to less stress during the rest of the day.

        So how can you set an optimistic tone for your day?

        A three-step combination that has worked very well for me is to ask myself a gratitude question during breakfast, read some positive information online or in a book very early in the morning and then follow that up with exercising.

        This sets my mind on the right path and fills me up with energy for my day.

        6. Focus on Solutions

        A sure way to feel more negative about a situation is to sit around and do nothing about it. Instead, use the questions I shared in step one and open up your mind to the possibilities of the situation you are in.

        If you have trouble to get started with taking action, ask yourself:

        What is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling?

        Then take that small step forward. However small this step is, it can have a big effect in your mood and thoughts. If the step feels too big or it just makes you procrastinate, then ask yourself:

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        What is an even smaller step I can take to move forward today?

        The most important thing is to move forward, even if it’s a tiny baby step.

        7. Reduce Your Worries

        The worrying habit is a powerful and destructive one and can take over anyone’s thinking. It used to be one of my biggest obstacles to optimism and to moving forward in life.

        Two effective steps that have helped me and still help me to this day to minimize the worries are:

        1. Ask yourself: how many of my worries ever happened in reality? If you are like me you will find that the answer is: very few. Most of the things you fear throughout your life will never happen. They are just nightmares or monsters in your own mind. This question can help you to do a reality check, to calm down and to realize that you have most likely just been building another imaginary nightmare.
        2. Focus on solutions and the action you can take. The worries grow stronger in a foggy mind and an inactive body. So use the questions in Steps 1 and 6 to move out of your worries and into resolution.

        8. Don’t Let Ideals Ruin Things

        A common mistake people make when making a shift in their attitudes is that they think that they have be perfect and do things perfectly all the time. This traps them from being positive.

        Changing to a positive attitude can be gradual. While you may slip and stumble, continuing this way over time will strengthen your positive viewpoint more and more.

        But if you set an inhuman standard for yourself and think you have to go from being a pessimist to always being an optimist, then you may find it hard to live up to that. And so you may feel like a failure. You get angry with yourself. And you may even give up on changing this habit and fall back into negative thinking.

        So instead, focus on gradual change. If you are optimistic 40% of the time right now, try to improve this to being optimistic 60% of the time. Then, increase that to 80% when you are used to the new standard, then subsequently 100% if you can.

        This focus on gradual improvement is far more sustainable and likely to bring long-term success than trying to reach an inhuman standard grounded in perfection.

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        9. Finally, a Reminder to Help You to Not Give Up

        I would like to end this article with a simple but powerful and timeless thought that comforted and encouraged me to continue on when things looked bleak.

        That thought is: It is always darkest before the dawn.

        This thought has helped me to hold on and keep going when my social skills and dating life was just plain bad. It has helped me to continue on in my online business when things looked like they would never pick up. It has helped me to put one foot over another even when things looked dark.

        I have found this thought to be very true. Why? Because when things seemed to be at the lowest for my blog, business, dating life or life in general, something positive would always happened. That’s probably because being at a low point forced me to change how I did things.

        But maybe also because life has a way of evening itself out when I go on. By taking action rather than give up, something good will always happens.

        Seeing this thought live itself out has strengthened my belief in staying optimistic, in taking action and to keep going even when going through rough patches.

        Re-syndicated 9 Simple Habits to Stay Positive in Life | Personal Excellence

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        Featured photo credit: Allie Smith via unsplash.com

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