the important connection between thinking and feeling.

Thinking and feeling are often discussed separately. We view them as different activities. For example, we believe that learning is solely a thinking activity. But thinking and feeling might be blended together more than we expect.

Thinking and feeling are not separated. They are connected. Every thought we have triggers an emotion we feel. Every feeling we have triggers a thought we think.

You might think about some deadlines you have and get stressed.

You might smile out of nowhere and feel grateful and think how happy you are to have such a nice family.

Depending on how you feel, you might think differently in similar situations. Depending on what you think, you might feel differently in similar situations. If you had a bad day so far and someone asks you a favour, you might be quick to think that the person asking is annoying. The same situation a couple of days later during which you feel happy, you might be more likely to think “Of course, I’ll help him.”

Thinking and feeling are connected. And this connection is also important for learning.

think and feel while learning

Learning is connected to thinking — obviously. Thinking is connected to feeling — as we now know. Thus feeling is connected with learning.

Feeling influences our thinking and thus our learning.

You have to feel excited to learn. If you are bored, you will not understand, you will not put in the effort it needs, you won’t remember a thing. You probably had a favourite class in school in which you learnt a lot. And you probably had boring classes in which you didn’t learn a thing.

You will feel frustrated when you are trying to understand a concept but it doesn’t make sense at first. Which is not a bad thing. You are pushing your limits, which is great. Be persistent and don’t give up.

If we are too anxious about learning, the information we can process is reduced. So it is important to learn how to deal with anxious feelings.

Things that trigger a strong emotion are remembered better. So it is important to make learning meaningful to us. We have to care. Only if we care, we will learn.

We have to feel some kind of urgency to be motivated, alert and generate energy to stop procrastination and start learning.

Additionally, our focus depends on how we feel. If we feel all over the place, it will be much more difficult to focus, concentrate, and pay attention. Only if we feel calm with the right level of anxiety, we will be able to focus.

build a connection between learning and feeling

So we should make use of the feeling-learning connection. We should even build a stronger connection between learning and feeling.

One way to take advantage of the feeling-learning connection is by having a personal learning project. A personal project increases the emotional connections between what we feel and what we want to learn.

A personal project moves our learning from being meaningless to being meaningful.

It gives us a sense of urgency, excitement, motivation.

A personal project gives us an emotional and cognitive entry point for what we are trying to learn. It can help us to focus. It can help us to get back even if we stop out of frustration.

A personal project is not comparable with imaginative exercises from the outside — a teacher, book, or curriculum. It matters to you. You want to master it. It feels like a puzzle that you are happily obsessed with.

Don’t disregard how you feel. Learning includes both — thinking and feeling.

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