Foreign language anxiety is typically associated with feelings of discomfort when using or learning a second language. One would think this specific diagnosis can be related to people who get anxious in various situations, but this is not the case. According to psychologists it can be found in individuals who don’t necessarily suffer from general anxiety. Any scenario which involves a second language can trigger the discomfort. Simply hearing a non-native language has an uneasy effect.
Coping with Anxiety
Coping with this anxiety is mostly based on confidence and reassurance. It is important to recognize the feelings which surface in these situations and to remind oneself it’s normal to feel a little intimidated. Sharing the experience with others can amount to a support group. Relating the problem will help because there are many others who struggle with the same difficulty. In turn, it will be much easier to accept the emotions.
Another root of anxiety is expecting too much. Reasonable goals should be set in terms of speaking a non-native language. Not achieving perfection leaves numerous people frustrated and hopeless. Keep in mind that it is very difficult, but not impossible, to speak exactly like a native, especially as an adult with limited time to focus on language learning. Don’t be judgemental in regards to speaking with an accent. It is a common occurrence and shouldn’t be taken too seriously, just accept your differences and other people will too.
Not so much can be achieved without a significant amount of praise. The benefits of learning to congratulate oneself on current achievements should never be underestimated. Focus on what is done correctly instead of paying too much attention towards what is done wrong. The chances of improvement increases dramatically when recognition is received. Utilize current abilities as much as possible to reinforce self-confidence.
Reduce negative thoughts and stay positive. Although it is always good to realize limitations, it shouldn’t be regarded as physical restrictions. Keeping a positive attitude is crucial for achieving results and controlling anxiety. Every action that consists of confidence will lower the risk of building unnerving tension. In addition it is recommended of course to be well prepared for the task which will boost confidence immensely.
Last but not least quick relaxation techniques can be very effective. For example, tensing the body for 10 seconds and breathing deeply for 4 seconds within in a 3 – 5 minute stretch, releases tension which normally comes with anxiety. Even though anxiety produces adrenalin that can be harnessed to perform better, too much can leave an individual dumb-founded so-to-speak. As a result it is good to be a little bit nervous, but don’t let it be overwhelming.