BY THE TIME YOU TURN 20, YOU’VE SPENT THE VAST MA­JOR­ITY OF YOUR LIFE­TIME LEARN­ING. BUT DON’T THINK THAT BE­CAUSE YOU’RE 30, 40, 50 OR EVEN 60 THAT LEARN­ING SHOULD EVER STOP. LIKE THE OLD SAY­ING GOES, IF YOU DON’T USE IT, YOU’LL LOSE IT. KEEP THE LEFT AND R

Haven Magazine - - Front Page - Visit www.by­ron­col­lege.org.au or phone 02 6684 3374 Visit www.iron­lak.com

There’s a the­ory that says the two hemi­spheres of the hu­man brain con­trol more log­i­cal, an­a­lyt­i­cal and ob­jec­tive while those “right-brained” among us are said to be more in­tu­itive, cre­ative, thought­ful and sub­jec­tive. While the left- vs right-brain the­ory might be just that – a the­ory (even a myth) – what is true is that your brain is a mus­cle that needs to be trained. When you con­sider ‘learn­ing’ and ‘ed­u­ca­tion’, many think of school kids, over­sized hats and loaded back­packs. But learn­ing shouldn’t be lim­ited to the early years. Learn­ing is some­thing to be en­joyed through­out our en­tire lives. And just like legs’ day at the gym, you don’t want to skip train­ing your brain via learn­ing. Ac­cord­ing to Alzheimer’s Aus­tralia, keep­ing your brain ac­tive is im­por­tant to keep it func­tion­ing well. “Sci­en­tists have found that chal­leng­ing the brain with new ac­tiv­i­ties helps to build new brain cells and strengthen con­nec­tions be­tween them,” the Alzheimer’s Aus­tralia web­site states. “This helps to give the brain more ‘re­serve’ or ‘back up’ so that it can cope bet­ter and keep work­ing prop­erly if any brain cells are dam­aged or die. “Men­tal ex­er­cise may also pro­tect against ac­cu­mu­la­tion of dam­ag­ing pro­teins in the brains of peo­ple with Alzheimer’s dis­ease. “As we grow older we tend to pre­fer do­ing the things we’ve al­ways done, tasks that we are fa­mil­iar with - and that’s un­der­stand­able - but the brain a new lan­guage, tak­ing up a new sport, do­ing a course in some­thing you’ve al­ways wanted to do - any­thing re­ally, as long as it’s learn­ing some­thing new. “Chal­lenge your­self of­ten and keep learn­ing new things through­out life. Higher lev­els of men­tal ac­tiv­ity through­out life are con­sis­tently as­so­ci­ated with bet­ter brain func­tion and re­duced risk of cog­ni­tive de­cline and de­men­tia.” So, which hemi­sphere of your brain could you sharpen? What is that ‘thing’, some­thing new? Here are some ideas suited to each hemi­sphere…

LEFT BRAIN: MU­SIC

The thought of start­ing mu­sic lessons prob­a­bly takes you back to the days of dreaded pi­ano lessons, squeaky clar­inets and school band. But mu­sic is actually a great skill to pick up as an adult. Not only is it sat­is­fy­ing to cre­ate the mu­sic to peo­ple’s ears, but it’s the brain’s equiv­a­lent of a full body work­out. “Learn­ing an in­stru­ment strength­ens the cor­pus cal­lo­sum, which is a bun­dle Ge­orgie from By­ron Com­mu­nity Col­lege. “It’s one of the only skills to com­bine the lin­guis­tic and math­e­mat­i­cal pre­ci­sion of the left side of the brain with the cre­ative do­main of the right side.” The re­sult? Mu­si­cians are more than just skilled per­form­ers – they have above av­er­age abil­i­ties in ex­ec­u­tive func­tion­ing, prob­lem solv­ing, mem­ory and more! By­ron Com­mu­nity Col­lege runs vo­ca­tional and gen­eral cour­ses through­out the year and has some great mu­sic classes com­ing up in Term 3.

RIGHT BRAIN: PAINT­ING/ART

It’s not of­ten in life that you get some­thing for free but that’s ex­actly what The Bris­bane-based global art sup­plies com­pany in­vites art en­thu­si­asts of Bris­bane CBD ev­ery week. There is a broad mix of free ses­sions and paid art cre­ative mus­cle (the right side, of course!) in a non-judg­men­tal space, as you'll see in the images above. Iron­lak cre­ative di­rec­tor Luke Shirlaw says their classes are de­signed for par­tic­i­pants of all ages and all lev­els – right from kids up to pro­fes­sion­als. “It doesn’t mat­ter if you’ve never even picked up a marker be­fore. Our classes are taught by a va­ri­ety of artists who guide par­tic­i­pants through the process of mak­ing art in their cho­sen medium,” Luke says. “We love see­ing peo­ple come to our classes who are un­sure of their abil­ity with a paint brush, aerosol paint or even a pen­cil. Our artists pro­vide a re­laxed les­son and help them un­wind, open up and have fun! This al­lows class par­tic­i­pants to leave with not only new skills, but also a piece of art that many say they’ll be fea­tur­ing in their own homes." in­clud­ing pen­cil draw­ing, wa­ter­colours, Iron­lak ‘Pump Ac­tion’ paint mark­ers, graphic mark­ers, char­coal, pas­tels, acrylic paint, aerosol paint and mixed me­dia. Art ses­sions are free (with equip­ment sup­plied) while hosted art classes re­quire pay­ment. Book­ings for all are via the Eventbrite web­site. “July’s lineup in­cludes some re­ally ex­cit­ing art classes with amaz­ing Bris­bane artists in­clud­ing Elana Mul­laly, But­tons and The Bright­siders,” Luke says. “Ul­ti­mately, we want to help peo­ple of all back­grounds dis­cover their in­ner artist and en­hance the world through cre­ativ­ity – what­ever their level of artis­tic ex­per­tise."

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