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Bilingual news and shares about the brain, languages and coaching

Newsletter 9 - Back to Basics

the L in NeuroLanguage Coaching®

“The brain is wider than the sky”
 “Le cerveau est plus spacieux que le ciel ”

― Emily Dickinson

Last week, I gave you a quick summary of the different parts of the brain and what they do.

Today I'd like to tell you about two aspects of the brain that are really good to know about when it comes to Language Learning.

 The more you know about your brain, the better you get at “controlling” it and using it more efficiently.


Neuroplasticity is the brain’s capacity to grow and evolve in response to life experiences. Our brain has the ability to form or reorganize synaptic connections and it does so all the time (especially in response to learning or experience).

 Parts of your brain, like the hippocampus, form new neurons (neurogenesis). Other parts of your brain make new connections between brain cells.

As we age, we have less brain cells neurons) but the neurons we do have still have the ability to form new connections.  That means you can no longer say “I can't learn at my age”, that's absolutely not true.

 And the amazing news is that you can work on improving your brain plasticity. LEARNING A LANGUAGE IS AMONG THE RECOMMENDED WAYS OF IMPROVING YOUR BRAIN PLASTICITY.

There's no age limit.

Fight - Flight - Freeze

Three words to summarize your body's reaction to threats, real and perceived.

A stressful situation can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that in turn produce a series of involuntary physiological changes such as  

  •  rapid breathing 

  • increased heart rate

  • flushed skin

  • tense muscles

  • perspiration

  • dilated pupils 


With this, our body is now ready to react to the threat that it's faced with:

  • fight : taking action when faced with imminent danger

  • flight: escaping the danger

  • freeze : becoming totally immobile

Our mind and body will react in the same way whether the threat is real or whether it's only a perceived threat (not real). 

 Not being able to find the right word in a foreign language when we want to order something in a restaurant is not a real threat. Objectively speaking, there's no danger whatsoever and yet, the level of stress it can cause is perceived as such by our brain. Our body goes in full fight/flight/freeze mode. You know the mode where we can't even say the most basic words anymore. The mode where we just give up and ask our friends to order for us or just point at the menu. That mode.

This typically happens during business meetings too. Perfectly rational people with a very acceptable level of English (their non-native language) will say to me "I can't find the right word; I can't talk during a meeting like I do when I'm with you'.  You lose confidence, feel dumb and feel threatened. If someone calls on you during the meeting, you feel like a deer in headlights: fight? flight? freeze?

While this all happens in a split second, you can do something about it. First and foremost, you can breathe deeply and then, tell your brain who's boss. You can consciously engage your prefrontal cortex and reason yourself out of the feeling of panic. Yes, easier said than done, I know. 

So stay tuned, next week when I talk about the C, coaching, and how you can overcome that fear.

Feriel, I'd love to know more! Click here to book a discovery call

If you're curious about my sources 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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