Anxiety When Learning a New Language
Have you ever thought about learning a new language? I am sure several of you have. We spend years and years telling ourselves that we’re going to learn a language but we never really get around to it. For the ambitious people, you gather materials, get excited and sign up for a class. At this point, it seems that you have everything that you need to get started on your language-learning expedition — that is until we realize that eventually, we have to actually speak to someone in another language. This can cause someone to feel extremely nervous and anxious because it is a new language that one is not used to using on a daily basis. The cause of feeling extremely nervous or anxious is a classic case of anxiety.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is what most people feel when it’s time to do something new or different. I have actually felt anxiety when learning a language along with other subjects in college. It is absolutely normal to feel anxious or worried sometimes, but if an individual stays worried or anxious most of the time and does not feel relaxed even when there is no apparent reason for them to be tense, they could be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD as it is commonly known as. Maybe your anxiety level isn’t that deep, but it’s good to monitor yourself when you think about how you feel when it’s time to take on new tasks.
GAD differs from normal anxiety in that it persists for a long period of time and prevents the individual from carrying out a normal daily routine. Just the thought of having to understand a new language, do homework, and extraneous tasks can cause ongoing anxiety. You have probably been in class with someone who was pretty stressed about learning a language or some other topic and didn’t realize that is was a form of anxiety. It is easy to distinguish between normal anxiety levels and GAD. When the anxiety level of an individual becomes severe, it can disrupt normal activities and go on for several months, they are then said to be suffering from GAD. Don’t let learning a new language lead to anxiety. Most people suffer from anxiety in language learning because they want to do well in class and produce good grades. Just pace yourself, get tutoring and look for outside resources when it’s time to learn a new language. This will definitely keep down on the stress.
An individual suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder has no control over their thought processes. The overwhelming sense of anxiety makes that person unable to think rationally, even when they realize the irrational flow of their worrisome thoughts. Their fears and worries keep recurring in their mind like an unending cycle and block out all other thoughts and feelings. A person suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder is unable to relax and is consistently restless and fidgety. They may keep thinking about the eventuality of an unpleasant event happening when there is a very unlikely chance of that event ever taking place.
These unnerving thought processes often get manifested in physical symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, as well. The individual usually feels a lack of energy and the enthusiasm to engage in any constructive activity. They may also experience muscular tension or pain and soreness in different parts of the body. A person suffering from GAD is usually unable to sleep well, as they are too distressed by the troublesome thoughts that keep coming to their mind again and again. They may also suffer from severe headaches, sweating, trembling, lightheadedness, nausea and stomach problems such as diarrhea.
Even though medical researchers have not been able to find the exact causes for GAD, it can be attributed to psychological and biological factors. The role of genetics can also not be ruled out since the tendency to develop GAD usually runs in the family. Since Generalized Anxiety Disorder is primarily considered to be a psychological problem, it can be treated through a variety of treatments such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Psychotherapy, medication, and stress -relief techniques, which help an individual learn ways of dealing with their sources of anxiety and to develop a stronger attitude towards the problems of life, as such.
Moore, M. (n.d.). Overcoming anxiety in language learning. Retrieved from http://blog.mangolanguages.com/overcoming-anxiety-in-language-learning.
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