You know how I write a monthly column for ‘Only Peterborough’ magazine? It’s the Understanding You, mental-health well-being column. Well, this is the article I wrote for the November edition. I thought you might like it.
It’s about my other interest in life, helping people learn how to learn.
These days, qualification never ceases and people have to take professional qualifications for much of their career.
All of a sudden, you find yourself trying to use the same study methods you used at school or University except this time you’re also trying to hold down a career, keep a family happy, not to mention earn a living and desperately search for that mythical work-life balance.
Strangely enough, almost no-one gets taught how to learn.
How to use the way you, as an individual, relate to the world and other people. Take the way you do the things you love. You just do them. It just happens. It flows. And all the effort is worthwhile.
What I do is uncover these aspects of you and show you how to use them to learn everything in that same way. Learning becomes fun again – no matter what the subject matter.
Anyway. Here’s a high-level version of that other side of what I do.
Learning to Reduce Stress
Have you ever seen a toddler achieve some mighty task such as saying a new word, taking their first steps, kicking a ball. Notice that immense concentration followed by the pure joy and delight at learning something new. The human brain is designed for learning and not just in early childhood. Constant challenge can keep it functioning at is best.
So why as we settle into the new academic year or undertake professional qualifications can learning become such a challenge, filling so many of us with anxiety and self-doubt?
Given the choice we’d rather find something that grabs our attention and feeds our preference for mastering things we enjoy. Think about the huge variation in what people choose to learn. Some learn a sport, others become XBox experts, yet more will learn to cook, surf, speak another language, make clothes, take photos, design apps for iPads (other good tablets are available); the list is endless.
But when we’re required to learn, we revert back to our early days of homework and find ourselves trying to learn in that same way again. Without meaning to, we end up recreating a classroom every time we have to ‘study’ whether it suits our learning style or not. Add in the expectation of having to pass and it’s no wonder that taking exams becomes one of the most stressful things you can do.
So what is the alternative? Uncover what you do when you’re learning something you enjoy and then learn everything else in that same way. If you delight in being with others, then learn in groups or with friends; if you love to sing or play guitar, put it to music. Colours, movement, sounds or shapes, even textures and smells can all be built in to help you learn the way your brain prefers to learn.
It can take a little time and may need some guidance. But once you’ve found your way, learning ceases to be a chore and you just might feel that burst of pure delight at achieving something new once more.
Only Peterborough Magazine: website
Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy: Learning & Memory Coach
…and if it’s all too much: Mindfulness Meditation mp3