If you were to ask someone what their hobbies include, chances are, they wouldn’t mention debating. But while it may not be a fan favorite activity, debating — and the skills that go along with it — has been shown to be an excellent activity for brain health. By debating, however, we don’t mean heated arguments over Thanksgiving dinner with your uncle — we mean well-reasoned and well-researched dialogues that are communicated in calm and positive ways. Now these are the debates that have proven to improve brain function and health.
Becoming a competent debater comes with gaining pivotal life skills, such as researching abilities, confidence in public speaking, and fundamental critical thinking (via Study International). Whether your debates happen in the confines of a high school club or with a friend about a disagreement, these are the types of skills that nearly everyone can benefit from. If you take the time to learn these skills, we guarantee that you’ll be happy you took the time to read further.
Studies suggest you should engage in more debates as you age
Getting into fights and arguments can be exhausting, proven not only through your brain function, but through the biological effect that arguing has on your body. From a rush of heat, to sweaty palms, and that unmissable feeling of your breathing being restricted (via Big Think), fighting with someone is never an enjoyable experience. But if you can learn how to change the narrative and become a competent debater, you may never have to put yourself through the nerve wracking experience of confrontation again. Indeed, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function,” per the Stanford National Forensic Institute.
Debating in a succinct and effective manner can help you learn how to articulate your thoughts better, think of your feet quicker, resolve conflict more calmly, become more empathetic, and control your emotions, per Study International. In addition, studies show that working on your debate skills can even lead to higher confidence, as you will be less likely to shy away from conflict if you believe in your abilities to handle it.
Furthermore, engaging in healthy debates can be good for those who are aging. According to All Senior Care, “Debate stimulates creative and analytical thinking, which helps build cognitive function […] Cognitive health or function — the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember — is an important component of performing everyday activities.”
If you take these skills to heart, you should be totally set for the next big family gathering.
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