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Bilingual news and shares about the brain, languages and coaching

Newsletter 12 - Stress

the L in NeuroLanguage Coaching®

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it” 

-Hans Selye

Today, I have some really good news for you : stress can have a positive impact on learning and memory processes. When we experience stress around the time of learning, it can enhance memory formation. The problem comes after the learning, when you have to use what you've learned. Stress can impair memory retrieval and that's what can potentially affect the recall.

So, depending on the timing and intensity, stress can either boost or get in the way of memory formation and retrieval.

Eustress vs Distress

The way we perceive a stressful situation can determine whether it results in eustress (“good” stress ) or distress ("bad stress"). If we see language learning and speaking as a healthy challenge, it can result in eustress, but if we see it as an obstacle in our life, it can cause distress.

Eustress is like the cool cousin of stress that you actually want to hang out with. It’s the kind of stress that gets you pumped up and ready to take on the world. It’s like a personal cheerleader that motivates you to try new things, learn new skills, and step out of your comfort zone. It makes you feel great about working towards your goals, go through big life changes, or start new adventures.

Think of eustress as a challenge that helps you grow in all sorts of ways. Emotionally, it gives you all the good feels. Psychologically, it helps you become more confident, independent, and resilient.

So next time you’re feeling stressed, just remember: not all stress is created equal.

"When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body's response to stress"

In my last few newsletters, I talked about the power of positivity and how changing your perspective makes a big difference : the way you perceive a stressful situation can determine whether it helps or hinders you.

If you see your language learning/speaking as a something you can achieve, you'll be motivated and want to push yourself further. But if you see it as something you'll never be able to do, if it becomes a threat and a hindrance, you'll be discouraged from the get go and hold yourself back.

Remember threat = stress = something you need to move away from

So what can you do about that?

If you're on the spot BREATHING SLOWLY is your emergency go to tool. Breathe and then you'll be able to reason with yourself.

Here are some ways you can reason with yourself

  • Change your perspective - turn distress into eustress : See every opportunity to speak as a healthy challenge. Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and it could actually help you form stronger memories!

  • Forget perfection: you make mistakes in your mother tongue all the time, so why strive for perfection in a foreign language?

  • Non-verbal communication: you are speaking with other humans, you have facial expressions and hands. Non verbal communication accounts for somewhere between 65 to 93% of our communication (depending on the study) but even if it were just 65%, you're already communicating a lot.

  • Put yourself in the other person's shoes : think about a time when you spoke with someone who wasn’t fluent in your native language. Did you react negatively or mock them for making mistakes or having an accent? Most likely not! Instead, you were probably patient and understanding, and may have even admired their bravery in expressing themselves in a new language (and if you didn't, you should have)

  • Try a new approach to learning. Your foreign language anxiety might come from trying to learn in a way that doesn’t match your learning style.

  • Speak, speak and speak - if you’re feeling anxious about speaking up in a meeting or ordering food in a restaurant, the key is to practice more. One way to do this is to practice speaking with someone you trust. This can help you feel more comfortable and confident. Start with small steps and gradually build up your confidence. Think of things you’ve learned to do in your life: everything, from the day you were born.

Remember: you don't have to do this alone, you can work with a coach (me obviously) to specifically overcome unhealthy stress related to having to speak a foreign language.

Don't stress over your language learning and if you can't do it alone I'm right here

If you're curious about my sources or want to know more about biases, 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 newsletters 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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