Hello everyone in cyberspace, and welcome to a fantastic, never before seen, new and improved year!
While that might all seem superfluous and a bit exaggerated, I think we can all agree that 2021 is going to be much, much better than 2020, right? I mean, I don’t think we’re setting the bar low when we say that anything will be better compared to 2020 eh.
One of my favourite sayings comes to mind though around the new year’s, even though it might seem completely unrelated at first:
You are what you eat.
I like to think of this saying as:
You are what you think.
The meaning might not seem obvious here, but both of these phrases describe how the environment affects you, or how you affect your surroundings. The connection between your perception and reality is quite amazing. If you have a positive point of view, then positive things will tend to happen.
This applies to English as well! Especially in our FruFru lessons, I often hear students being very negative about their abilities, and saying that they don’t know a certain topic, like prepositions or articles, or that they don’t speak English well.
Of course, there’s a time and place for honest assessment, as this can help you focus on your weak areas. However, if you also have more confidence in your ability, then you can improve a lot! I see examples of this among lots of students. Students that are more confident tend to speak more, and as I’m sure you know, the best way to improve your speaking is to speak more! So, confident students speak more, and thus improve more quickly!
This reminds me of one of my favourite psychology students. Some of my students know that I’m an avid psychology fan, and it was one of my favourite courses in university. The study I refer to looked at the connection between physical actions and emotions. Specifically, they did MRI scans of people’s brains while showing different facial expressions. The most interesting result was that when people physically smiled, it activated the same area of the brain as when they were actually happy, or feeling the emotion of happiness. That’s pretty incredible, isn’t it!? When you smile, your brain reacts like you are happy, regardless of your actual emotion.
The study didn’t go into more detail than that, but I love to draw my own conclusion, and extrapolate to studying English. Being more confident in English can have a huge effect! Try just being more confident in your physical actions when using English, or thinking to yourself. When you’re speaking, try speaking just a bit louder than you normally would. Even if you make mistakes when speaking, speak with conviction. If you’re not afraid to make mistakes, then you’ll speak more and improve faster, which is everyone’s goal when studying!
More generally though, try and approach this year with a positive frame of mind. If you’re having trouble getting started studying, try doing something small. If you’ve already made New Year’s resolutions in Japanese, try translating them to English. One of the best ways to practice a language is to use it for something that interests you. So, why not write something short about what you want to do this year. Just don’t forget to get your English checked on Fruitful English!
Most importantly though, if you start the year smiling, and no matter what happens, your brain will be happy too!
Since this blog was full of quotes, here’s one more from one of the legends of jazz, Louis Armstrong:
When you’re smiling,
The whole world smiles with you.
And the world really smiles at you when you can speak the global language of English!
座右の名”The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”