Stress and the Learning Process

Stress tends to be thought of as an adult problem, if not preoccupation these days. For years many doctors didn’t even recognise its existence. But that’s all changing now as our knowledge of brain chemistry improves. Today we can give chapter and verse on what stress is.

Put simply, stress triggers our fight or flight response, a reactive, automatic defence mechanism which gives us extra energy to fight or flee any given emergency via a burst of adrenaline.

The Brain
The brain’s control centre, the Limbic system, contains four major elements. One of these is the Hypothalamus, sensitive to any outside danger which could result in physical or emotional hurt.

The Hypothalamus immediately signals the Pituitary gland which in turn signals the adrenaline glands which release up to 30 hormones, one of which is cortisol, too much of which damages the immune system leading to colds and flu at best.

Major Energy Boost
These extra hormones are pure energy and are used as an extra burst of speed for escape, or to give us extra and sometimes extraordinary strength to fight the danger. (There are many recorded incidents of small women lifting huge weights to free trapped children for example, or men tackling fierce animals to save their partners or children.)

Other examples of heroism are accompanied by the phrase, it all happened so fast. And of course, that’s the clue. Our reaction to the event is governed at a subconscious level and therefore at a speed far beyond normal conscious thought processes. The rush of adrenaline is instant and our consequent reactions are equally instant and out with our control.

Stress can manifest itself as anxiety or secondary stage tension. Females and young boys tend to be anxious whereas older males hold their anxiety in check i.e. fake it, leading them into the more harmful ‘tension’ stage. Which is one reason I’m sure why males on average live up to five years less than females.

Tension and anxiety in most children however begins with their parents, especially the mother. Show me a school failure or underachiever and I will show you an anxious child who has an anxious mother. The child picks up the tension and/or anxiety from the parents at a subconscious level.

The following questions now arise. How does this anxiety affect the child? And, what can be done about it?

Anxiety can affect the child in a variety of ways. One obvious example is bed-wetting. Less than 1% of bed-wetters have a physical problem, it’s virtually always anxiety of some sort of another which creates so much tension that the bladder cannot be fully opened while the child is awake. When the child sleeps, that part of the brain which controls the bladder ‘switches off. Muscles relax and the water flows uncontrollably.

This doesn’t mean that the anxious child sleeps well, on the contrary, anxiety creates havoc with sleep patterns and this in turn affects the child’s ability to function properly. First of all, the child can be tired and listless next day.

Assimilating Information
Secondly, we use sleep to make sense of events which happened during the day, that includes making sense of what we have learned during the day. If we don’t fully assimilate the days learning, our decks are cluttered for the next days learning and that makes future assimilation even more difficult. Multiply that over a period of weeks and months and you can see how easily it is to fall behind in the learning process.

It’s understandable but completely wrong to imagine that if someone is failing to pick up the basics like spelling, tables and reading that they must be lacking in intelligence. Most learning, especially early learning is done at the subconscious level via a process known as Ontogenesis. For example, we don’t learn to speak formally we pick it up as we develop. Equally, other major players in the learning process also work at the level of the subconscious, for example belief systems, in this case self-belief and self-confidence.

The expectations of others affect our own expectations and as you will read in future articles, these expectations are extremely powerful forces. They can drive us on to higher things or they can limit us for the rest of our lives. Happily they can also be altered. The point is they have to be recognised. Unrealistic expectations, for example parents demanding too much of a child before the child is ready, will drive up the child’s anxiety ratings which will have the exact opposite affect which the parent is trying to achieve for the child.

Intellectual Development
Recent research by Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard Psychology Department has identified 8 different types of intelligence in all of us, two on the left side of the brain, what I call the masculine intelligence and two on the right, which I call the feminine intelligence. Masculine intelligence is straight line and sequential in nature, i.e. mechanical. It is relatively simple to develop and most of its work is already being taken over by computers. The vastly more complex feminine intelligence is what gives us our humanity and will never be matched by anything other than a living computer, if such a thing can ever be devised.

The point here is that left brain children, especially boys will appear to soar ahead on in the academic field leaving their right brain counterparts floundering in their wake. At this point parents, especially left brain fathers might panic. They begin to put major pressures on their right brain sons to stop being so ‘lazy’, get some work done and stop messing about with all that arty farty rubbish, without realising that their right brain sons were infinitely more intelligent than they were themselves. With the correct training, i.e. using Wholebrain Teaching methods their children could easily begin to master the basics and make considerable progress across the academic map.

Know Your Child
First of all, all humans are programmed to learn, but we are not all programmed to learn the same things or in the same way. Indeed, the modern workforce is expected to continually update its information throughout its working life and this will be the case for generations to come.

Learning for life is no longer an empty slogan but a reality. So if your child seems a bit slow at times, encourage and stimulate by all means, but do not force, panic or show alarm or you will create growing anxieties in your child which, as we have seen, will actually prevent your child from learning.

Look for the signs of right brain dominance. The most obvious is left-handedness. Most left handers, certainly everyone I’ve ever met, are right brain dominant. Right brain children tend to be dreamy and unworldly. They will remember tunes better than words, will be sensitive and intuitive, people orientated and caring. They are far more likely to be affected by any form of row in the house than their left brain counterparts, but will be especially hurt and confused if the shouting is directed at them.

They are delicate flowers and should be handled with care, loads of love and affection. They thrive on intellectual and emotional stimulation and the attention of adults. All children should be treated with respect, but right brain children especially; they are very perceptive and are not easily fooled; though they might allow you to think they have been.

Right brain intelligence wont accept that 4(2a – 3b) + (2d + 3c) = x elephants – 77p unless they know why and what for, whereas the left brain will happily accept it if told to and learn the why’s and wherefores later on. Left brain intelligence is one dimensional and operates in a narrow range whereas right brain intelligence thinks wide and deep and wants to know everything.

Physical and Emotional Development
Linked to intellectual development and a crucial part of it is the development of the body and the child’s emotions. Each is linked to the child’s self esteem and self-confidence and general feelings of self worth.

It is now well documented that children with low self esteem and poor self confidence are slow learners. Spoon feeding children and keeping them in a ‘safe’ environment (the home, the car, at mum’s side wherever they go etc) is actually killing them physically and emotionally. Never in history have so many children been overweight or at best, unfit. Never before have children been so cautious and in many cases frightened about life.

In our efforts to protect and preserve our children we have in fact been slowly strangling the life forces in them. This in turn produces stress, which affects the learning process but more importantly it affects their ability to mature emotionally. It produces weak men who in turn are less able to help their own children to develop. We are in the middle of a vicious circle which we must break and soon.

Dyslexia and its Signs
Finally, a word on dyslexics and defence mechanisms Most, if not all dyslexics are right brain dominant, dyslexia being an underdevelopment of the left hemisphere and a dysfunction between left and right hemispheres. The left hemisphere organises our thinking and our information, by paying attention to the details of a subject.
Some of the signs that your child may be dyslexic to some extent or another:

1. Difficulty distinguishing between left and right.

2. Difficulty mastering the technique of tying shoe laces or buttoning coats or shirts/blouses.

3. Learning anything in sequence for example: Days of the week; Months of the year; the Alphabet.

4. Writing d instead of b and vice versa.

5. Short term memory problems (99.9% due to anxiety.)

Defence Mechanisms
To combat problems within their lives your child’s subconscious will develop defences to keep the trauma of failure to a minimum e.g. ‘laziness’; withdrawal; selective deafness; defiance; truancy; to name but a few. The Fear of Failure in itself is a major obstacle to learning. Fear of letting you, the parents down. Letting the teacher down, letting themselves down in front of adults they respect and need respect from, and of course, from their peers. They would rather die than look stupid in front of their peers.

Children can be even more affected by stress than adults can. What’s more they pick up our stress and develop their own from it. Stress interferes with the short-term memory, which is electrical in form and very easily disrupted. It’s housed in the Limbic System and is the brain’s ‘clearing house’ or control centre. All information flows in and out of the Limbic System. Stress interrupts the flow of information in and out of the centre, thus learning and memory is disrupted. It affects all of us this way, but especially children and especially those very sensitive right brain boys.

Solutions: The Edinburgh Techniques
To combat stress in children, Brian Hill adapted and developed two psychotherapeutic techniques especially for students, The Magic Garden and The Study Relaxer. Soon young clients were being brought to the Edinburgh Centre from all over the UK. The Magic Garden is a simple but powerful piece of therapy aimed at those students under 12 years old. The Study Relaxer is for all students from the age of 12 and over. Either can be downloaded in minutes from the Edinburgh Techniques site.

Both techniques ware designed to relax the students, allowing for a good wholesome night’s sleep. They build confidence and self esteem and generally create the correct atmosphere for students to learn and assimilate new information and of course, remember and use information already learned, especially during exams.

How To Find A Great Deal When Shopping Online

No matter where you shop, you want to get the best deal for your money. Online shoppers are no different. Here are some ways to find great deals when shopping online.

Shop for deals online after a major holiday occurs. The best time for shopping is after Thanksgiving. Retailers in stores and online are looking to maximize their profits with your shopping dollar. Most of your favorite outlet stores will be offering popular items on sale at a fraction of the cost to attract more customers.

Some online retailers offer deals to customers that can’t be found in the stores. Special online deals allow people to shop from the comfort of their own home instead of standing in long lines outside the retail stores. They may offer free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount.

Use coupons to shop at online stores. Check Sunday newspaper circulars. Some stores offer customers the option of using their coupons online. Since you have shipping and handling in addition to sales tax, online merchants will offer more money off with their coupons for online purchases.

Electronics are a popular item to purchase online. Check the comments made by other shoppers before purchasing. Their comments give you an idea of the quality and satisfaction you will receive from the product. Stores like Circuit City offer deals on their electronics which includes in-store pickup.

What they will ask you to do is to enter your address into the computer. They will give you the address of the closest store location and the availability of the product you seek. If the product is available, you have the option of paying online and picking it up in the store. You avoid shipping and handling and long lines in the store.

Sites like are always offering deals on all sorts of items. Some are new and some are refurbished. Be sure that the site you use is an authorized reseller of the selected product to avoid getting ripped off. Again, check comments from other shoppers that have used that site for shopping purchases.

Taking surveys can garner deals at shopping sites all across the Internet. Places like offer shopping deals to their members through daily bonus e-mails just for trying products for a trial period. Members also earn points towards gift cards and services for trying these offers. There is no cost to become a member. Just sign up and create a profile.

Deals are available to online shoppers, but you must know when and where to look. Online shopping offers the convenience of browsing and buying without leaving your home computer.

Online Shopping All About Online Price Comparison And Product Reviews

As the web grows every day, so do online enterprises and online price comparison websites. These sites have become necessary and handy for shoppers everywhere. Why? It’s simple. People like to spend their money. Companies offer more and more products to choose from. Whether it’s about clothing or gadgets, tools or equipment, musical instruments or PC hardware, there will always be someone to buy them. And for many people, the best place to start searching is the web. Online shopping has become so popular due to the fact that it not only offers the shopper the opportunity to shop from the comfort of their own home, but also because it offers a greater variety of products and the chance to choose the best ones.

But what is online price comparison all about? Again, it’s simple: a bunch of hard-working and determined people gather data and put together a website containing information about various products from many companies, all centralized in the same database, with plenty of information concerning value and other details. Usually, the given prices are the recommended retail prices, but every site states taxes and other additional payments.

So, online price comparison gives everyone the opportunity to find what they need quick and easy. There is no need to wander around the city searching for what suits them best. Also, for each and every person out there, with particular tastes and preferences concerning what clothes or perfumes they like to wear, what kind of food they like to eat and so on, the internet gives an easier alternative. Just a few clicks and you’re set. You can find anything online. No more exhausting and inconclusive searches. No more rude clerks or impatient shopkeepers. No more heavy traffic. Worst case scenario is that you have to take a ten minute walk to the postal office to pick up your package!

Concerning product reviews, their existence is just as useful and as necessary as online price comparison. Nowadays, the ones who profit greatly from the online shopping experience are teenagers. Thank God, they like to buy! IPods, video games, cool clothes, you name it! Most of the elderly are more reserved, but young people, as much as their budget allows, will generally spend meaningful amounts of money for a good time. Naturally, the desire for knowledge of a certain product planned for future purchase always comes to the mind of the buyers. This leads to the necessity of another valuable option on shopping websites that always comes along with online price comparison: product reviews.

Product reviews are all about the specifications of a certain product. Users comment and blog their likes and dislikes during the usage of the product. The reviews are frequently and mostly posted by the webmasters and consist in comments, tips & tricks, pictures of the device and others details, but there are also external links to sites in that specific area of expertise and of course to the official site of the producer.

Another instance of product reviews is the consumer forums. This is where many people log in and share opinions about what they’ve bought, where they’ve bought it and how it’s all been coming along since they’ve acquired that item. Even if forums like these are a good environment for information, it is better to listen to the advice of the product reviews. An item that has been bought and reviewed by the shopper will not have any outside influences in the official opinion.

Online Price Comparison And Product Reviews Handy And Useful Tools

The fastest flowing information current these days is the internet. You can do everything on the internet: research, work, date or shop. Most people prefer online shopping because it’s easier and even cheaper. For instance, think about all the time, car fuel and nerves you can save by simply clicking a few times. Having everything set at your disposal, in a user-friendly and interactive environment, with no dressing rooms or lines to wait at and no angry bored people around to give you a hard time, the purchasing experience is heavenly. Although everything might seem perfect, there is room for online improvement. Luckily for us, they’ve thought of that as well. Here’s how the internet can improve your shopping experience and give you satisfaction, as well as the chance to find better deals…

First of all, meet two of the most useful tools for the online shopper: online price comparison and product reviews. It all began in the late 90′s with the worldwide internet explosion. Small independent companies came up with the idea to centralize all their products along with the required information in an extensive database. This makes shopping easier for both the customer and for the company. It also created a greater deal of clientele and more worldwide publicity. Then enterprises such as the search engines Yahoo!, MSN and Google and other companies were established who could also benefit from online stores.

The sites had and still have a common characteristic: they offer visitors the chance to compare prices for the same products, but belonging to different companies: online price comparison. Having this option available for use, shoppers had the chance to see which products have the best price and the best characteristics. The various product reviews found within the numerous pages of specialized websites consist of information about the year the product was released, the recommended retailer price (with specifications about taxes) and stores in which it’s available.

The search process thus becomes quick and easy. You just need to log on for example. Since the pages are interactive and easily comprehendible, the online price comparison becomes a child’s game”. Besides online price comparison and product reviews, which always come together, many websites have come up with an even more user-friendly method. A complex web page script allows visitors to select the brand and all the other usual basics. This also includes the purpose or the environment in which the product will be used, your age and many other complex preferences that will eventually lead to the display of a list of exact products to suit your needs 100%, based on your answers to the website’s questions.

The most attractive online price comparison and product reviews sites are those built in an easy-to-read manner sites like Plaza101. You should look for these sites first. They are easier to comprehend, with information scattered throughout the whole content of the review (statistically, it has been proven that most people read only a third of the article as they scroll through it), easy noticeable headlights (colored, underlined and so on) and appointments to season sales or discounts that will give you a better deal.

Shopping has never been easier. Just a few clicks and there you go! You have practically a world of products and services at your feet. With the help of specialized websites and effective searching tools, you can be sure you’ll get the best deals out there!