Learning a new language can be an overwhelming task for an introvert. It is important to remember that introverts tend to be more self-reflective, so it may take them longer than extroverts to feel comfortable with the challenges of learning a new language. Learning another language is one way for an introvert to grow their vocabulary as well as all aspects of emotional intelligence.
Here are six effective tips for overcoming the challenges of learning a new language if you are an introvert.
Tip 1: Absorb the language
Make sure you set aside time each day to study and absorb the language. Getting more input in a quiet place will give you the time to observe the language, understand the patterns and get to know it. Make sure you set aside time each day to study the language, and only do it when you are feeling up for a challenge- don't try to tackle too much at once or else it could be discouraging or overwhelming.
Tip 2: Seek the company of other introverts
You just have to find your own kind. Other introverts know and understand the struggle because they live it too. The more we talk about our struggles for perfection and vulnerability the more we understand the strategies we can follow to help make progress. If there are other people out there like yourself who speak this same language then join them! Make sure to get enough time alone as well, but being around others will help keep you focused on your goals while still giving you some companionship- which is something many introverts crave. Join a Facebook or WhatsApp group where people of all levels of experience come together.
Tip 3: Find a supportive and patient language partner
Finding someone who speaks that particular language is another way to overcome the challenges of learning a new one. Find someone you can chat with and practice speaking in person, instead of online or over the phone. Make sure to get enough time alone as well, but being around others will help keep you focused on your goals while still giving you some companionship - which is something many introverts crave. Join a Facebook or WhatsApp group where people of all levels of experience come together.
Tip 4: Keep a Journal
Having a journal to write in can be really helpful for introverts and highly sensitive people. Writing about your feelings and experiences will help you deeply process what is happening as well as practise writing and understanding practical examples of the language.
It's also an important way to reflect on your experiences and observe what you notice in conversations and situations at work. With many of my clients, I encourage them to keep a journal not only for vocabulary but for reflecting on situations and preparing themselves for difficult and challenging conversations. We can't always plan what we need to say but when we do have the opportunity it can help us to go into a meeting or conversation feeling more confident and ready to take on the challenge. Journaling can help you to understand yourself better in the process.
Tip 5: Meditation or Breathing Exercises
It's also good to be able to learn how to relax and take a few minutes for yourself. Meditation or breathing exercises can really help with this.
On the Think Smart, Talk Fast Podcast, Matt Abramhams spoke to Andrew Huberman about different techniques you can adopt to calm your anxiety around speaking in a stressful situation. He discusses rapid eye movement techniques and a breathing technique:
"You want to do a double inhale. So inhale twice through the nose. So inhale through the nose. And then before you exhale, sneak in a little bit more air and then do a long exhale. And you do this just one to three times."
Cardiac Coherence mediation has been linked to a sense of wellbeing, as well as being more emotionally stable and reaching peak states of mindfulness. Cardiac coherence is a rhythmic or a coherent heart rate variability (HRV) that balances the nervous system (associated with stress) and emotional state. This can be attained through this 5-minute breathing technique.
Tip 6: Set Yourself Limits
You may find that it is difficult to set aside time for studying every day. This can lead to frustration or feeling overwhelmed and discourage you from continuing your language learning. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations, make sure you are realistic about the amount of time you will need each day
You’ve Got This! One final tip: don’t forget that as an introvert, you are probably already skilled at focusing on one thing at a time- which means you might excel more than others when it comes to any task involving focus. Give yourself credit where credit is due, and keep going!