Enriched Learning

In support of the bestseller, "Unleashing Your Brilliance." www.UnleashingBrilliance.com

Monday, April 10, 2006

Are You Sad? – Four Tools To Release The Winter Blues

SAD What an appropriate acronym. It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. I used to live in the arctic. In winter, we didn’t see the sun for many months. I am acutely aware of the winter blues and how people are affected emotionally, physically, and intellectually. Much has been written on the subject, so I would like to provide you with some supplemental information.

Natural Light
Research has demonstrated that exposure to natural light has a positive effect on human health, emotional well-being, and therefore learning. Some of the common symptoms of lack of natural light are fatigue, disturbed sleep "sleep"  patterns, appetite and weight disorders, depression, skin damage, and suppressed immune functions. During the short days of winter, a common problem is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The symptoms can be easily remedied through daily exposure to sunlight. Alternatively, Bright Light Therapy (phototherapy), using a minimum of ten thousand lux units for thirty minutes in the early morning, will often cure SAD. Just to put this into perspective, even the cloudiest day is rarely below ten thousand lux, and a sunny afternoon could be as much as one-hundred thousand lux. Do your own research to understand the current technology for Bright Light Therapy devices.
The commonly-used fluorescent tubes, found in many offices and training facilities, have only narrow spectrum light, and they also emit a constant pulsing that can create stress "stress"  and fatigue. A study of 750 classrooms (21,000 students) in California, Washington, and Colorado found that students in classrooms with windows and skylights learned 20 to 26 percent faster than students in classrooms with the least natural light exposure. A Florida study of two first grade classrooms found that full-spectrum lighting reduced nervousness and hyperactivity "hyperactivity" . The students also improved their overall classroom performance.

The Law Of Emotion

A person can only have one set of emotions and feelings at a time. Stronger emotions and feelings replace weaker ones. Indifference or boredom can be substituted with appreciation or curiosity. Curiosity can then be replaced with excitement, which in turn can enable a high-energy "energy"  learning state. Self-criticism can be substituted with a strong self-esteem "self-esteem" . Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is a way of modeling how successful people achieve their results. It gives us a wonderful set of tools and principles for enhancing the components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

The Love Factor
Two parallel studies were conducted on young newborn rats sourced from the same supplier. All aspects of the experiments were identical, including their food. In one of the locations, Cambridge University in England, the rats were gaining weight and thriving. In the other location, Harvard University in the USA, the rats were experiencing less measurable growth.

The researchers were unable to rationalize the difference until they later discovered the one factor that made the difference. In order to clean the cages at Harvard, the maintenance staff moved the rats into other cages. At Cambridge, while some maintenance workers cleaned the cages, other workers held and stroked the rats. If TLC (tender loving care) can have that kind of effect on the physiology of rats, think what it can do for a human mind.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT  is one of the many techniques in the new field of Energy Psychology "Energy Psychology" . It is in the branch known as meridian therapies "meridian therapies" . The technique removes negative emotions, reduces or eliminates pain, releases phobias, and assists in setting and implementing positive goals "goals" \t "See goal-setting" . EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy "energy"  meridians used in traditional "traditional"  acupuncture, "acupuncture"  to treat emotional disorders. Focusing on the issue and stimulating the major neural pathways initiates a memory "memory"  process causing change by unblocking the emotional short-circuit. This process results in substituting positive emotions for the negative emotions, which were previously learned and associated with the issue.

The process initially requires the person to think about the event or issue. Simple tapping with the fingertips is used to input kinetic energy "energy"  onto specific meridians on the hand, head, and chest. This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing specific phrases works to clear the emotional block from the body's bio-energetic system. This restores the mind and body's balance, which is essential for optimal learning and mental health. EFT can dramatically enhance intellectual performance simply by eliminating the emotional lids on our intellectual potential.
Most SAD Goes Unnoticed.
Most of us navigate through the winter totally oblivious to how poorly we are functioning. Those who evade SAD are regular outdoor exercisers and walkers. Many of us just feel a bit down, and turn to comfort food. The lethargy sets in and we pine for the spring. Be assertive. Releasing the winter blues is simpler than you think.

Begin today. Get outside.

Written by Dr. Brian E. Walsh

Nine Tactics for Optimal Learning Retention

There are nine basic processes for taking in information. Let’s briefly explore each one to determine the advantages and disadvantages of each.

1. Reading
has the advantages of being portable, and to some degree, self-paced. Review and repetition are effortless. Disadvantages include badly-written material and poor reading skills (eyesight, dyslexia, bad habits). Uncontrollable distractions also come into play.

2. Audio
, although limited to one sense, has the great advantage these days of being highly portable. Lectures and presentations can be recorded and played back on the go. Recorded material can be listened to as many times as desired.

3. Video adds the dimension of seeing what is being demonstrated or written. Adding sight to the sound is synergistic (value is greater than the sum of its parts). Since it’s recorded, it can be viewed as many times as desired. This medium has recently become highly portable.

4. Lecture format is certainly easier than conducting a workshop. The lack of interactivity results in far less understanding and integration. If notes are taken, it is often at the price of not hearing everything being said. If notes are not taken, then review is difficult.

5. Workshop implies interactivity. It may be as complicated as tasking smaller break-out groups and having them present their conclusions or ideas to the larger group. It might be as simple as participants being asked to find a partner and review previously-covered material. The common challenges for a trainer are the logistics (time and environment) and the enthusiasm of the learners.

6. Collaboration is self-directed group activity. Once a group decides on its outcome and goals, and consistently keeps them in mind, then great learning can take place. Best practice is to elect a facilitator to maintain focus. Group size and composition are important factors.

7. Computerized Interactive Learning is ideal for those who thrive on solo work. It is self-paced, multi-media, and resource-rich. The physical drawbacks, if overdone, are myopia and lack of movement causing muscle atrophy. The emotional fallout, if overdone, can be low self-esteem and poor interpersonal skills due to lack of human interaction.

8. Experience is the best teacher. We’ve all heard that. Well, it can be, but it isn’t always so. Often experience is circumstantial, unplanned, and misinterpreted. If it is properly planned, participants in an experiential program can learn and grow faster than any other method. I remember when I experienced my first “Warrior Camp”. After five 16-hour days, I had undergone such a shift in thinking and attitude that I will never allow any obstacle get in my way again – for the rest of my life.

9. Hypnotic style learning can be very valuable. These include specific sound (and sometimes video) programs engineered to stimulate and grow the mind. The good ones are expensive, but worth it. Self-hypnosis can be used to reach the learning state, which is relad alertness.

The Synergistic Approach
Each of the above will allow you to take in and integrate information. Want to take it to another level? Consider a combination. How about taking in a live workshop, or even teleclass, combined with the speaker’s book or video? Wow, what a terrific solution!

Written by Dr. Brian E. Walsh