This interactive kit includes animations, activities, and resources to help you explore why you may find learning hard, and discover ways to help yourself learn.
Helping Yourself Learn
When You Feel Bad
Are bad feelings getting in the way of your learning?
When you are trying to learn
do you sometimes feel bad, panicky, funny, shaky or spacey?
Do you ever have strong feelings?
Do you want to cry? Do you feel angry? Are you scared?
Does school and learning make you remember
times in your life when you were hurt?
Do you feel that everything is too much?
You are normal!
Many of us have these feelings when we try to learn. We might remember mean things that were said about us in the past. We could remember being hurt at school by teachers or other students. We may have been lost and not noticed at school. We may have seen violence or been hurt ourselves. We may have been very unhappy. These thoughts and memories can make it harder to learn now.
You can do something!
Try any of these ideas:
Stop what you are doing for a while. If you are feeling bad, you do not have to read to the end of a story, finish a sentence or listen to another student. If you need to, leave the room. Find somewhere that feels better. If you are in a class you might find it helpful to tell the teacher what you are doing and why so that you are not judged. You could send your teacher to Helping Others Learn to understand how to support you.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel your body as you breathe in and out a few times. Sometimes when we feel bad we hold our breath and don’t notice. You can try a breathing exercise ( - 50k) to help you let your worries go.
Tell yourself its O.K. to feel safe. Say to yourself “I’m O.K. right now,” or something else that helps you remember you are safe now.
Stand up, walk around or stamp your feet. Feel your feet on the ground. Imagine you are a tree with strong roots.
Imagine you are holding a box or a jar, with a lid. Then pretend you can pick up all the bad feelings and put them in the box or jar. Put the lid on. If you want to you can look at those feelings another time when you are ready. Try this exercise online – it really works!
Notice three sounds you can hear. Notice three things you can see. Notice three things your body can feel. You may feel your bum on the chair, or your feet on the floor, or your glasses on your nose. You may hear a calm voice or see a comfortable room.
Rub the palm of one hand with the thumb of the other hand. This can help you come back into your body and into the present moment.
Do you want to talk to someone about what you are feeling, or what is happening to you? Do you want to talk now or later? You could talk to a friend or a teacher you trust. Or you might want to talk to a counsellor, therapist, or elder. Click here for help to choose someone to work with.
Go to the Taking Care of Yourself section of this site and try anything that appeals to you. You will find there are ways to gather strength, to move through hard places, to comfort and soothe yourself, and to create and express yourself.
Go for a walk, make yourself a cup of tea, watch TV, listen to music, play with a kid, cuddle a toy or a pet, have a hot bath, take a nap, write in your journal, colour, or do something that helped you feel better last time you felt bad.
If you still feel bad, start at the top of this list. Try something, or everything, again.
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Read about what one literacy learner does when she feels bad:
I feel frustrated when things don’t work out. Something I can say to make me feel better is “It’s ok. Keep going, it will work out.” I also listen to music. Then I tell myself, “Don’t worry, it will be fine.” I tell myself to always be confident and don’t get discouraged. Every day I tell myself to hang on, it will work out. At the end of the day, I always have a smile on my face even though it hurts me. When it is really frustrating, I just walk away and come back to it later. I think that other people really don’t need to know what is going on so I keep my opinions to myself. So this is how I keep my frustration down.
Deborah Brown, The Learning Centre
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