Mathematics: A Lifelong Skill
Worth Revisiting – Here's Why
Mathematics is often the most challenging subject for students to learn, whether they’re in grade school or higher education. For that reason, most people stop studying math as soon as they can and branch off to other subjects. However, even if you were never great at math, it’s still an important lifelong skill that’s worth revisiting.
Here are seven compelling reasons why you should consider continuing your math education.
1. Boosts Your Overall Intelligence
First and foremost, getting better at math boosts your overall intelligence. A 2017 study found that students who performed well in math had more gray matter in their brains than those who underperformed in math. Gray matter is the tissue in the central nervous system that controls movements, memories and emotions.
That’s not all. Skilled mathematicians have also shown greater cognitive proficiency in numerous relevant behaviors, including attention spans, mental imagery, logic and verbal reasoning. These behaviors aren’t set in stone. You can make substantial improvements to all of them by improving your mathematical skills.
Although there are no conclusive studies, math has the potential to directly raise your IQ by improving your brain’s elasticity. Solving complex math problems causes your brain to adapt by forming new neural connections, which can give your IQ a boost. It’s not a magic elixir that will make you smarter overnight, but it’s a great habit for slowly strengthening your brain.
2. Sharpens Your Communication
Math is the most precise language on earth. While other languages have different dialects and slang terms, there’s no room for such ambiguity in the world of math. The smallest error leads to the wrong answer. In this way, becoming proficient in math can sharpen your communication skills and make you a more confident speaker.
Instead of filling every sentence with “likes” and “ums,” you can develop a communication style without unnecessary filler words. Your vocabulary will also expand as you learn more complex math subjects. Math might not help you overcome a fear of public speaking, but it will make you a more effective communicator in most everyday situations.
3. Helps With Everyday Problem Solving
Speaking of everyday situations, being good at math is advantageous for many daily tasks. When you need to do some quick addition or subtraction, you’ll no longer have to pull out a calculator. You can quickly make the calculations in your head and get along with your day. Here are some specific areas where math is extremely useful:
Budgeting: You will become much better at budgeting your money and calculating everyday expenses after building a solid foundation of math skills.
Driving: Learning how to calculate speed, time and distance can help you become a safer and more efficient driver.
Cooking: Improving your math skills will help you measure the ingredients for complex recipes when you’re cooking for friends, family or yourself.
Shopping: Math improves your analytical thinking, which makes you less prone to impulsive shopping.
Renovating: Math will come in handy with a variety of home improvements, from building furniture to renovating the kitchen.
Exercising: If you have a workout routine, math will come in handy when counting reps, calculating time and measuring weights.
Practicing math skills will make your responsibilities more manageable and your hobbies more enjoyable. After a while, you won’t even need to think about certain calculations. They will come naturally to you. Math is like learning to ride a bike. Once you learn how, you never forget.
4. Can Lower Your Stress Levels
Math doesn’t seem like the most relaxing subject at first glance, but it can actually lower your stress level. Whenever you’re feeling tense after a long day, practicing a hobby or skill will help you unwind and relax. Math could become that hobby for you. You can do math and logic puzzles or play calculation-based board games like chess, checkers and Connect Four.
The positive mental health effects will only grow as your math skills improve. The more comfortable you are with the subject, the more fun you will have. Math is full of endless possibilities, so you’ll never stop learning and never run out of games. You’ll also become the best board game player in your friend group, as a bonus.
Math can also lower your stress levels by helping you become more patient. This subject requires a great deal of patience when dealing with long equations and trying to figure out your errors. You will get frustrated in the short term, but in the long run your patience and resilience in the face of adversity will improve.
5. Sets an Example for Your Children
If you’re a parent with school-aged children, studying mathematics will set a great example for them. Kids often need extra motivation to study math because it’s a slow and monotonous subject. The concepts are difficult to grasp with their minds moving a million miles an hour. Most kids are more interested in science, writing or physical education.
You can serve as the perfect role model for your children and motivate them to get better at math. Kids naturally want to copy their parents, so if they see you having fun with math, they’ll develop an interest in the subject too. You can even create personalized lessons for them at home so they do better in the classroom.
6. Opens Up Career Opportunities
Becoming proficient in math will open up more career opportunities, regardless of your profession. Every industry does addition, subtraction, division and multiplication on a daily basis. An employee with strong math skills is far more valuable than an employee who can’t do basic arithmetic. This skill might be the factor that earns you a promotion over your co-workers.
Developing your math skills will also keep your options open if you decide to change careers. Businesses are always looking for more programmers and data analysts as they adopt the latest online tools and software. You could get a fresh start in one of these jobs by branching out to a mathematical field such as computer science or statistics.
7. Prepares You for the Future
Lastly, revisiting your math education will prepare you for the future. You live in the most technologically advanced time period in human history, and it’s only going to get better. If you want to keep pace in this rapidly changing digital world, you need to strengthen your foundation of math proficiency.
You don’t have to become an award-winning mathematician, but you should at least refresh your knowledge in preparation for the future. Math skills will become more important as time goes on, so you need to stay ahead of the curve. Getting better at math will help you stay confident in your skills as the world changes around you.
Mathematics is More Than Numbers and Symbols
You might not have a great relationship with mathematics from your childhood, but it’s never too late to make a weakness a strength. Math is more than just numbers and symbols — it’s the language that helps us understand the universe. It can boost your intelligence, make your daily life easier, help with your career prospects and inspire your children in an amazing way.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for an online course, download an app or start practicing on your own. Don’t wait another day to revisit this valuable skill and improve your quality of life.
About the Author
Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life.
When Ava is not writing you'll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or smashing the patriarchy.