Reprogram Your Mind to Be a More Confident Learner
If you want to become a good student, it’s important to have confidence in yourself as a learner. It’s important to believe that you actually like learning, and that you really enjoy the topic you are studying. When you picture yourself learning poorly, you program your mind for more learning failures. This is what you expect, so it becomes more likely that you will achieve it. What should you do if you don’t actually have confidence in yourself as a learner, or if you are convinced that you’ll never understand the topic you are studying? Fortunately you can learn to change your opinion of yourself and what you are learning by a technique called visualization. Successful visualization essentially means that you are able to pretend to yourself that you are already performing successfully the skill you want to learn.
To change your messages to yourself about what kind of student you are, you will have to change your inner movie of yourself as a learner, and substitute new messages for yourself saying that learning is easy and fun for you. Your mind more easily absorbs positive messages when you are in a deeply relaxed state of body and mind. To achieve this state, sit or lie comfortably in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Notice your breathing. Relax your body and focus your attention on your breath.
Start to breathe freely and deeply, in a relaxed manner. You can also use different meditation techniques to get your mind into a more relaxed state where it will be easier to accept a new, positive message. Take a few messages to picture yourself as a learner. Take note of what you see in your mind. When visualizing, some people see still images, as in a photograph, while others see live action all around them. For some people, the images are two-dimensional and faint, while for others, the images are three dimensional and solid. For different people the images may appear as black and white, transparent, or colored. Your visualization may seem to unfold on a screen like a movie, or you may see yourself acting in a play on stage with seemingly real people. You may be watching an image of yourself in action, or you may feel as if you are actually inside your own body, looking out through your eyes, watching the action around you and participating in it. If you are visualizing either past or future scenarios in a way that drains away your self- confidence, you can use special techniques derived from Neuro-Linguistic Programming that will lessen their hold on you.
Are your visualizations of yourself positive or negative? When a negative scenario plays itself out in your mind, notice how it appears. Does the scene appear in black and white, or is it in color? Is it near or far? Does it seem to be on a screen, or is it three dimensional? Are there voices? Are they threatening? Humiliating? How do you appear in the scene--are you large, or small? Do you seem powerful? Or weak? Once you are familiar with the details of your negative imaginings, become the director of your own inner movie. If you are seeing a negative experience in color, change it to black and white, or make it transparent. If the negative image is close, make it go far away. If the negative image is three-dimensional, make it two-dimensional. If there are voices you don’t want to hear, make them quiet, or turn them into funny cartoon voices that sound silly. Play circus music in the background to drown out the words of people you don’t want to hear. If other people in your scenes seem very threatening to you, shrink them in size or make them into cartoon characters. Imagine yourself growing very, very large and solid, much bigger than the people who have been putting you down. If you have been reliving an unpleasant scene as if you are actually participating in it with the action all around you, change it so it takes place on a screen that you are viewing from a distance.
That way it will have less emotional impact on you. Bleach out the colors, or turn them to black and white. Turn down the sound. Then make the screen smaller and mentally whoosh it away. Now, replace the visualizations that you don’t want with visualizations that you do want. Imagine scenes of yourself being happy, relaxed and confident. See yourself learning easily, understanding deeply, getting excellent marks on your tests. Strongly feel within yourself the satisfaction, confidence, and pride you would have. See it, feel it, right now, in the present, as a part of you. Feel that you really understand the subject matter and that you absolutely love learning more about it.
Pretend to yourself that it is one of your favorite subjects to learn about. When you have imagined yourself in a scene that fills you with positive confidence, you can view it on a screen, or imagine yourself right in the middle of the scene, taking place all around you. Intensify the colors, and your positive feelings. Anytime you have a few minutes, recreate these positive imagined scenes. Do this as many times a day as you can, until you always think of yourself as a smart, capable learner.
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