About the mindful and holistic approach to learning languages

What is Mindfulness?

“Mindfulness – An Ancient Eastern practice, redesigned for busy Western society and backed by modern day science.” 

Mindfulness is all about being fully present in the moment.

Instead of reminiscing about the past or worrying about the future.

Using all of your senses to fully engage in the environment around you.

Letting go of our negative thinking habits and accepting that we cannot control everything around us.

Becoming less judgemental of self and the others around you.

Did you know that when you are fully immersed in hobbies or activities that you enjoy you are already practising mindfulness!

This is known as ‘flow‘. Science has been proven that when in this state of mind you can increase your performance and your aptitude for learning.

Mindfulness training has been scientifically proven to change the wiring and physical structures of the brain.

Individuals who have practiced mindfulness for at least 10 minutes per day for 8 weeks tend to have higher levels of emotional intelligence, cognitive functioning, and focus.

Other benefits include:

  • Reduced levels of stress and anxiety.
  • Improved relationships. 
  • Openness to new ideas.
  • Better able to focus and pay attention.
  • Greater emotional regulation.
  • Increase in creativity.
  • Increased ability to adapt to different perspectives means that an individual will be less judgemental.

The Auto-Pilot Mode

When we are not being mindful, we are operating in auto-pilot mode.

Our minds are wandering. We may struggle to concentrate. We become distracted by little things and are more likely to procrastinate.

Communication isn’t effective as we may be thinking about what we want to say rather than listening to what is actually really being said!

We are more likely to react rather than observe situations releasing cortisol, the bodies natural stress chemical. Leading to a fight, flight or even freeze response. Chronic stress will mean we are unable to perform as well as we would like.

When learning a language sometimes we might try to multitask, but the issue here is the brain can only fully focus on one-thing at a time!

All of these things can stop us entering the flow. Leaving us feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and more likely to underperform as we are much slower and more prone to making mistakes.

How can mindfulness help with learning?

When you are mindful, you are focused in the present moment.

This attitude brings calm and clarity enabling greater focus and flow so you perform better. When you are fully engaged in a task, there is no room for worrying about the outcome!

Mindfulness Meditation
Photography by Natalia Michalska

What is Holistic Learning? 

“The Holistic approach encompass an independent learner or student as a whole. For learning extends well beyond that of academic achievement. Social collobration, enviromental factors, mindset, physical and emotional wellbeing all play a part too…”

Holism in learning is based on the ideology that a student in any field of study cannot be determined by certain parts alone, such as their level of intelligence.

Instead, the complexity of the whole student should be taken into consideration. As the whole student determines how the individual parts behave. For example, general health, diet, mood, and sleep can all impact upon the ability to learn.

Therefore an holistic person-centered approach to learning focuses on diet, exercise, soft skills, sleep hygiene, biology, mindset, environmental factors and social collaboration.

Photograph from Unsplash

Combining the mindful and holistic approach to learning – Kokoro mentoring

“In Japenese, the word Kokoro (こころ) has many meanings but can be translated as heart, body or soul”. 

By combining a more mindful and holistic approach, Language Learners Journal aim is to empower language learners to connect their mind, body, heart, and breath through scientifically backed practices, tools, and techniques. Enabling them to become more efficient learners and the best possible version of themselves.