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Bilingual news and shares about the brain, languages and coaching

Newsletter 13 - Laughter

the L in NeuroLanguage Coaching®

“Laughter is the shortest distance between 2 people.”

― Victor Borge

In last week's newsletter, I talked about what laughter does to your brain and ultimately to your body and mind: it enhances your mood and mental health. stimulates many organs, activates and relieves your stress response, soothes tension, improves your immune system, relieves pain, and increases personal satisfaction. YEP, ALL THAT!

All of these factors usually lead to a more positive outlook on life and positivity is one of the factors that make you better at...LEARNING.

Yes, laughter - and humour more generally - are powerful tools for learning, don't believe me?

Laugh and learn my friend, Laugh and learn ;-)

Let's start with the obvious

Laughter makes everything more fun, more meaningful, and more unforgettable. It creates connections by breaking down barriers faster than normally would be. Laughter cultivates a sense of friendship by bringing people together.

In a language learning class or when you work with a teacher or a coach, laughter -humour, good mood- creates an invisible thread that connects you with other language learners and with your coach. It creates a space of trust and openness where you feel encouraged to take risks, to stumble over words without fear of judgment, you're not afraid to make mistakes. In this relaxed and supportive atmosphere, you can explore the language with confidence.

Also, when you have fun learning a language, you start to enjoy learning the language more and more. It makes you want to keep going and learn new things and grow - think of how happy you were as a kid when you someone told you how to say swear words in another language: I bet you still remember them!

The only words I know in Russian and in German are some swear words and how to say I love you and I don't love you. I learnt when I was 11 or 12. Still know them ;-)

So...let's recap. The reasons why laughter and humour help you in learning a language:

Comfort: they create a relaxed and open atmosphere for language learning, where you feel more comfortable to express yourself and take risks.

Engagement: they get and hold your attention, which is essential for learning new information and retaining it in your long term memory.

Growth: they foster a more constructive attitude towards mistakes, which are inevitable and valuable in language learning. Instead of feeling embarrassed or discouraged by your errors, you can laugh them off and learn from them.

Exploration: they stimulate both creative and critical thinking, which are important skills for language learning. You can use humour to play with words, meanings, sounds, and contexts, and to challenge your assumptions and perspectives.

A note on Laughter and memory

The sentence I hear most during my sessions is "ah yes, that's the word, how could I forget...".

From my experience as a trainer and then a coach, I've noticed that people are very hard on themselves when they can't remember a word in the language they are learning. In fact, people (you?) get frustrated and upset even when it's a word they hardly ever use. They expect words to pop-up in their mind on demand. Memory plays a big role in how people get discouraged and frustrated in their language learning efforts. Yet, frustration and discouragement get in the way of memorizing. It's a vicious circle.

Read this if you're among those who lose patience with themselves when they can't recall a word in a language you're learning:

  • Laughter can enhance declarative memory - memory of facts and events - by making the information more memorable and meaningful. For instance, if you learn something in a fun way, you're more likely to remember it than if you learn it in a boring way. That's because humour can create associations, emotions, and images that help encode the information in your brain.

When I found out that the Spanish word for "going out" was the same word as the French word for "getting something dirty", I thought it was really funny and I was very surprised. "Salir". I heard it once and never forgot its meaning in Spanish.

  • Laughter can also enhance non-declarative memory - memory of skills and habits - by facilitating motor learning and coordination. For example, if you laugh while practicing a skill or a habit, you're more likely to improve your performance and retention than if you practice without laughing. That's because laughter can relax your muscles, reduce anxiety, and increase dopamine levels, which are all great for motor learning and coordination.

Easier said than done when you're learning a language because you have to, not because you chose to. But if that's the case, then this newsletter is exactly for you. Find a way to make your learning fun (singing? playing? favorite hobby?).

  • Laughter can also protect long term memory (declarative and non-declarative) from deterioration and decline: if you laugh regularly, you're less likely to suffer from cognitive impairment or dementia than if you don’t laugh. Laughter can prevent or reverse the damage caused by stress hormones, inflammation, and oxidative stress on the brain cells and structures involved in memory.

So... "embrace those contagious giggles, those moments of uproarious laughter. Let them fill your language learning endeavors with joy, curiosity, and a sprinkle of mischief. Open your heart to the magic of laughter, and watch as your fluency soars to new heights." (author unknown)

You can't necessarily make yourself laugh on demand but we can explore options. Contact me!

If you're curious about my sources or want to know more about laughter you should click here

And if you want to go back on my other newsletters that cover all kinds of brain related, language related, coaching related fascinating subjects, I suggest you go to my newsletter webpage

If you know anyone who'd be interested in signing up for my newsletter, don't hesitate to forward this newsletter to them :-)

Neurolanguage Coaching® is an amazing method that will help you learn a language more efficiently than you've ever experienced before. It brings together findings about how the brain learns bests and integrates these into a coaching process that will put you in charge of YOUR learning journey. As a Coach, I'm  the GPS to your driving. If you want to try it but are not ready to commit, I have a 2H Discovery Offer that might be just what you're looking for. Or we can just have a casual chat about it, just reply to this email.

Good to know

The Neurolanguage Coaching® certification is accredited by the ICF

 La certification est accreditée par la Fédération Internationale de Coaching

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