Meditation can be a huge help in learning to speak English.
A language learning blog might be the last place you would expect the advice to meditate. What does meditation have to do with learning English? Meditation has a number of health benefits. In relation to language learning specifically, meditation improves concentration and memory, helps you reduce anxiety, and improves quick recall.
By meditation, I mean any activity where you can focus your mind on one thing and achieve a level of alert relaxation. It does not have to be religious.
The actual method you use to meditate is not as important as the fact that you dedicate time to it every day. One of my favourite techniques involves simply focusing on the breath, listening to it move in and out of the nostrils for thirty minutes at a time.
Once you are done, your mind in a relaxed, receptive state. You can study or go to class afterwards and not feel any of the anxiety and hurried thinking you may sometimes experience. When you are studying alone, you can also listen to music (light jazz, classical or even this) to help get your mind in that state.
The process of learning a language is long and difficult. The trick is to be as open as you can at each stage of the process. Fear of embarrassment often prevents people from talking in public settings. Anxiety can hamper your focus as you study. Learning English can then become nearly impossible.
But if you take a few minutes each day to sit in quiet stillness, your mind will let go of those hindrances. You leave it open to receive information and recovering that information becomes a lot easier. All the techniques you use to learn English (from classes to conversations to audiotapes) will become a lot more effective if you allow your mind to be calm.
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