Confusion? 5 Methods for Easing Through Painful Learning.
Today I’m going to touch on the topic of Confusion. I am seeking to answer a couple of questions here from my own perspective.
1. What is confusion?
2. Why can confusion be so painful?
3. How can I release the confusion?
4. What are the good aspects of confusion
My Life Experiment is All about gathering information to learn new concepts and new tasks. This means a lot of confusion to deal with. So, what is confusion for me?
What is Confusion for me?
Let me work this out with an example from when I was attending College. I had to take an Intermediate Algebra class. Now with the life I lived experimenting in very unhealthy ways, I bypassed basically all forms of Algebra. This made my learning very difficult once I couldn’t avoid it anymore.
Sometimes I would sit and rack my damn brain trying to figure out the way to solve the equations. There were times when I was ready to throw my computer out the window and literally beat my head against a wall! But thankfully I never did either of those.
After a 45-minute session, sometimes I would have my brain thoroughly twisted into a knot. Of course brains do not twist in knots. Though there are a ton of times where the gaps between what I know and what needs to be known, have seem painfully very far apart. Like to an irreconcilable degree!
I don’t know the exact science of what is going on inside my brain when I am confused. Though I do imagine a whole bunch of neurons working hard to connect with one another. And the faster I “need” them to connect, the harder it can be on my mental health.
Why the Pain of Confusion?
Just being confused alone doesn’t seem to be enough to cause me pain. The pain of confusion comes when pressure is applied.
The kind of pressure I am talking about is when a purpose is at play, and something to be accomplished. What really amps up pressure to learn is when a deadline is applied! When the learning process is pushed to speed up, that is when confusion seems to become painful.
My Algebra class had deadlines that I needed to meet. In my mind I had expectations that I needed to meet. I wanted the best grades and I wanted them bad. In order to meet these expectations of mine and the teacher’s, the information had to be learned and learned well. Well enough that I could show that I learned it! And I came into the class with zero Algebraic ability. This created ample pressure!
When I am in the pain part of confusion I can become ultra-sensitive, someone that even talks around me may get a dirty look! I may even be on the verge of telling these unsuspecting offenders some unnecessary pieces of my mind!
I take it that I have a massive amount of electrical activity going on in my brain, and it hurts. The pain also starts talking, and it will likely not be very nice to myself or to others!
Now this depth of confusion is thankfully not that often of an occurrence for me. But when there is pressure to meet a deadline that I don’t exactly know how to meet, it is likely that I will not be able to avoid getting painfully confused.
To live the kind of life I want to live, I will not be able to avoid these feelings. So the best I can do is find some ways to help out the process so the confusion doesn’t need to get to such a drastic stage. Here are some methods I use to keep myself from having to experience painful confusion, while still challenging myself to grow!
5 Methods for Easing Through Painful Learning.
1. Begin Projects early
Going to College taught me that if I leave things to the last minute, I am setting myself up for a great deal of stress. Spacing out my learning over a longer period of time, makes it more likely that I will not be as homicidally confused the night before something is due.
When I am getting sensitive and angry while confused, concentrating on my breathing is imperative. The breathes I take helps create a space where I can settle down and relax my brain so that it isn’t so tense anymore.
3. Take breaks
I’ve found that if I work on a challenging problem for too long, I am bound to become pissed. When I start realizing that the stress is building to an uncomfortable level, I let myself know it is time to put the work away for a little bit.
Even taking a couple of minutes to do a little stretching can relieve a lot of that stress that is building in my extremities. This can help my brain relax since it ends up getting fewer messages of tenseness from my body. This gives my brain more freedom to be creative on my project.
5. Sleep on it
Sleep can be kind of like a long break. It has a way of untangling the mess that is in my brain. I can go to sleep completely confused then wake up and work on the project in the morning, in a sense, recharged. That sleep recharge has helped me bring important new ideas to the project many times. If I would have just kept working on it through the night, I can only imagine I would turn the project into a jumbled mess.
It is clear to me that being in a state of confusion is an unavoidable part of my brains problem solving repertoire. My brain is constantly trying to figure out new ways of doing things and I simply cannot skip past the confusion stage of learning. No matter how nice skipping that part of the process would be!
The Good aspects of Confusion.
Where there is confusion, there is learning. To me, that is the good news! I, would even venture an assumption that the stronger the confusion, the more I am learning.
That I am confused, lets me know that I am giving myself sufficient challenges to learn. If I don’t give My Life Experiment enough challenges, I am bound to get bored.
Learning new things and risking confusion may be uncomfortable at times, but I would rather be learning than bored out of my mind. Because I know all too well that boredom brings it’s own stress, but stress that is much less productive!
For me, I will even say the greater the confusion equals the greater sense of satisfaction once the thing is learned and the project is complete. I love figuring out something that has been giving me a good challenge. Knowing that many of my neurons got educated well and got to make new connections actually gives me hope for more having more success in the future. Being able to surprise myself with successful results feels amazing!
A few last words.
The last couple things I have to say to you all about confusion is, welcome it. Challenge yourself, make yourself think! Learning more and challenging our abilities, actually can help ward off Alzheimer’s Disease!
Now I cannot say what is a healthy amount of challenge for everybody. I can only figure that out for myself. Everybody will have a different level of confusion that they can handle. But I do believe that if I listen to my instincts close enough, they will let me know what is a challenge I should take and one that is better left for later.
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Much Love, Travis Hagen
My Life Experiment
Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.
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