20 Ways to improve language learning via positive psychology

Positive psychology is a branch of psychology, however, it focuses on how to help people prosper and lead healthy, happy lives. Whilst many other branches of psychology tend to focus on dysfunction and abnormal behaviors. Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi described positive psychology as being a belief that the psychology of positive human functioning would arise and achieve scientific understanding and build effective interventions to build thriving individuals.

So focusing on this approach we look at 20 ways positive psychology could help you with language learning…

1. Plant some goals every day and watch them grow…

Every evening write some goals for the next day. Keep it simple like to learn 3-5 words or read a chapter of that grammar book. Ensure you tick off these goals once completed and notice the sense of achievement you get from doing so.

2. Do something purposeful towards language learning every day.

Do one thing every day that will inspire you to continue the next day.

3. There are no problems, just something that needs to be solved.

Hit that dreaded language learning wall? Then identify what needs to be done to get you up and over it. Brainstorm ways of overcoming this wall and make a step-by-step plan for your ideas. Then put that plan into action. A week or so later review how it is going.

4. Notice 3 positive achievements every day.

Write down or at least think about 3 positive outcomes that day. It could be something simple like you have learned a new word or even completed a 7-day streak on Duolingo.

5. Aim for a mix of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity every week. 

As well as releasing that feel-good hormone that will help keep you motivated. Exercise also turns on the BDNF hormone which targets those brain cells!

6. Ensure you have a healthy sleep routine in place. 

Lack of sleep can impact on memory and concentration. Ensure you are getting enough sleep.

7. Something not working - DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

You made a plan, but guess what this method just isn’t working for you. Time to shake things up and do things differently. Remember if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got! Different methods mean different results. Focus on what has worked well for you in the past and learn from it.

8. Do a random act of kindness for a fellow language learning.

Doing something nice for someone can make us feel good. Try doing something nice for a fellow language learner. Like sending them an online voucher for coffee…I LOVE Cappuccinos, by the way, just saying. Seriously it could be anything from buying a book to making up a language learning pack to help them on their way. Another thing to try¬†is to email a subscription service and say you would like to pay it forward. Therefore this gives someone the opportunity to try a service that they otherwise¬†may not have been able to afford.

9. Support those who are struggling.

I believe that the only time you should look down on someone is when you are giving them the hand up. Give someone that hand up today. Focus on what they have done well and congratulate them.

10. Use affirmations.

There is no such word as can’t! However, if you keep saying that to yourself sooner or later it could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. Tell yourself you have got this and repeat this several times a day - even put it on a yellow sticky note on your mirror. You can do this. You can become what you think.

11. Ensure you connect with other language learners.

Remember you are not an island! Do not learn a language alone. When you learn a language it is to connect with others. So get connecting especially with people of your target language and watch your fluency grow.

12. Think you are failing then apply the court case method.

What evidence do you have that you are failing? Get a scrap of paper draw a line down the middle on one side write for and on the other side write against. Now taking all of the evidence into consideration have you really failed?

13. Be kind to yourself. 

Don’t be so hard on yourself. We all have good and bad days. Remember we can learn from the bad days to improve our fluency and on the good days well those are the days that can help grow our motivation.

14. Think of yourself as a rechargeable battery. 

Ensure you get some time just to chill out and relax when you feel you are running low.

15. Struggling, take a deep breath in and out. 

I want you to bring your focus of attention to your breath. Are you breathing from the top of your chest? This could indicate stress or are you breathing deeply? Take a deeper breath and I want you to notice the sensations that occur in your belly. Just notice, but let go of any thoughts or other distractions. Do 3 - 5 deep breaths before continuing with your studies.

16. Visualise yourself having a conversation with a native speaker of your target language. 

Imagine yourself having that conversation with a native speaker. Think about what you would say and what you might hear. Rehearse that conversation in your head or better still out loud.

17. Get creative with your language learning.

Don’t forget to use your creativity to learn a language. Create a picture board and label it or burst into song in that target language.

18. Give thanks every day for the things that have gone well. Let go of the things that have not gone so well. 

Write down or think about things that have gone well and what you have achieved that day in your language learning. Give thanks to those that have supported you.

19. Have fun with your language learning. 

Who said it had to be boring. I have played Guess Who in Mandarin Chinese and Bingo in French. Check out some fun apps and start learning a language through play.

20. Check out some inspirational quotes to keep you going. 

Check out my 10 motivational quotes that will help inspire you.

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2 thoughts on “20 Ways to improve language learning via positive psychology”

  1. Pingback: Trisha to the Test… - Language Learners Journal

  2. Pingback: Trisha Tests: Language Learning via Positive Psychology - Language Learners Journal

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