Aurora Magazine

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Exit the Anxiety Loop!

Published Apr 28, 2020 04:01pm

How "Learning How to Learn" can help you through the pandemic.

CORONAVAAIRUS! If you read this in Cardi B’s voice, I’ll take a wild guess that you have been spending most hours of the day on the internet. Not to mention loading up on memes, news, fake news, and conspiracy theories. Stop!

Yes, fear of the unknown is a real thing as are trauma and paranoia. And for most of us struggling to get by each day (guys just hang in there), this pandemic cannot be taken as a staycation or time off to learn new skills in order to broaden career paths. We all want to feel a little better anyway we can and this is exactly why I am going to talk about what you can do to take a break from the deluge of news on social media as well as start that one thing you think is sure to give you some much deserved peace and joy.

The solution to exiting the anxiety loop can be found from Learning How to Learn, a free online course offered by McMaster University and the University of California San Diego on coursera.com. This course is designed for literally every person on this planet who wants to learn something that interests them – including enhancing creative skills like art (which has been known to reduce stress and calm the mind). The course spans four weeks, but can be done at your own pace, whether in just a few days, or take your time enjoying it for longer.

Photo: Coursera
Photo: Coursera

Most videos reference authentic research to help you understand how the brain and memory work, why most of us end up procrastinating and how we can break the cycle of procrastination to learn more efficiently.

Photo: Minutehack
Photo: Minutehack

Week 1: Focuses on what learning actually is and how we can harness the power of our mind through focused and diffused modes of thinking. It even makes use of ‘story time’ to share how Surrealist icon Salvador Dali and inventor Thomas Edison came up with their ideas. The week also focuses on how sleep updates and restarts the brain, just like Windows or iOS (so feel good about taking more naps than usual while stuck at home).

Week 2: Is about chunking (Google ‘memory chunks’, or start the course) and how different people are motivated by different factors and how to turn off distractions (we personally love the Pomodoro technique and it is as yummy as it sounds).

Week 3: Delves into procrastination and memory and how our brain is designed to make us procrastinate to save us from the ‘pain’ of doing something unpleasant, like learning math. But no worries, because the course provides solutions and techniques at every step to teach us how to take control of our brain and form habits that will help us in every area of life.

Week 4: Is called ‘Renaissance Learning and Unlocking Your Potential’ (I will let the title of the week speak for itself).

Sound intriguing? And as if the content is not already excellent, the course lecturers are pretty great and fun, too. So if there is one thing you have always wanted to do (not necessarily to advance your career, but just something for yourself), this course will help you get started. I hope you have fun and that the course will help everyone build a little oasis of peace within their homes during these chaotic times.

The course can be found here.

Bisma Yusufzai is Deputy Manager, Digital Channels, NBP Fund Management Limited.