If you need a brain boost look no further than your next learning opportunity. That’s right! Mental exercises that challenge the brain are important to sustained brain health. You’ve long heard to complete puzzles and the like to challenge your brain. However, actively learning something new has been shown to be the best way to keep your brain healthy and strong.

When you actively stimulate your brain you improve cognitive function including processing, according to a publishing by Harvard Medical School. You can even see improved memory with as little as two hours weekly when you do something to challenge your brain. If that wasn’t enough, learning doesn’t just improve brain function, but also can increase self-esteem and create a sense of accomplishment due to meeting learning goal.

Now that you know why active learning is a tool for mental wellness, let’s explore how to access active learning in your local Eastern Shore communities!

Visit Museums

Due to the rich cultural heritage we have on the Eastern Shore, a number of local museums have sprawled across the community. In every museum there is an opportunity to learn about a new topic or gain new information on a familiar topic. To benefit from the knowledge available, read all of the plaques and info -graphics, listen to recorded presentations, and ask questions of knowledgeable staff when able. Here’s a short, non-comprehensive list of Shore museums:

  • Museum of Chincoteague, located on its namesake island, Chincoteague, VA, offers an opportunity to learn about the island.
  • Furnace Town Historical Site, located in Snow Hill, MD, is an interactive, educational small village situated around the Nassawango Iron Furnace.
  • The Harriet Tubman Museum and Education Center is located in Cambridge, MD and is dedicated to major historical hero, Harriet Tubman.
  • DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick Island, DE is focused on preserving artifacts recovered from shipwrecks.

The museums named here are but a few offerings you can find locally, so be sure to do some more research into what is offered in and around your Eastern Shore hometown.

Take a Class

Maybe you’ve thought about getting your GED or are interested in learning more about photography. Perhaps you have skill you’d like to further such as writing or marketing. You don’t need to look far for the chance to learn about these topics and more.

  • Go online with your local library to find hundreds of courses you can do comfortably at home. I’ve checked out library websites for counties along the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware and found they all offer a variety of courses accessible with a library card. It’s that simple!
  • Sign up for continuing education with local community colleges. These institutions tend to offer non-credit courses for continued learning for jobs, personal interests, and general knowledge. Many also offer certifications.

Start a Hobby

Whether re-learning an old hobby or starting from scratch with a new one, you’ll be setting goals and challenging your mind doing so. Meeting your goals can develop a sense of accomplishment and the test of trying something new keeps your brain active. There is much available locally if you know where to look.

  • Check out events calendars. They’re great resources to find demonstrations, how-tos, clubs, meet ups, and open houses. Going back to local libraries, they each tend to have an active events calendar with a variety of activities to turn into hobbies. Local organizations sometimes provide open houses to develop interest in what they provide which could include such prospects as dance and art lessons. Also offered by museums can be clubs and meet ups around a particular hobby.
  • Attend local events such as monthly downtown gatherings or yearly festivals. It is in these settings that a variety of organizations put up information tables and can provide demonstrations. These are opportunities to explore what your community has to offer to start and build a hobby.
  • Take advantage of the great outdoors the Lower Eastern Shore has to offer. Fishing, hunting, bird watching, astronomy, and so much more is readily available in the rural regions of our area. There options are abundant.

The Lower Eastern Shore areas of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia are full opportunities which communities work to make more and more accessible every day. You and your local community can support each other in wellness and growth by taking advantage of the amazing offerings in your backyard. Keep your brain healthy and support your mental wellness by getting out and exploring what your local area can do for you.

Works Cited

Harvard Health Publishing. “Train Your Brain.” Harvard Health, Mar. 2018, www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/train-your-brain.

“Keep on Learning: Mental Health Strategies.” Living Well, www.livingwell.org.au/well-being/five-ways-to-mental-wellbeing/keep-on-learning/.

“Learn It Or Lose It: How Learning Keeps Your Brain Young.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 21 Oct. 2013, www.huffpost.com/entry/learning-keeps-brain-young_n_4136517.

Ali Nicole