How learning German could help you deal with problems

I’ve once been asked to write a blog post about learning German (or any other language) and how it can help with chronic illness. I’ve shied away from it as it goes too much into medical advice and I’m not qualified for that.

But I do know of students who told me how much concentrating during a lesson helped them to forget other problems. But it was never enough for a post.

And then I received an email from a student with permission to share:

I’m writing this as a personal observation, but I dare say anyone reading it may be able to relate to it in some way.

We don’t always know what’s around the corner in life and when the unexpected bumps in the road come along, we’re almost invariably ill prepared for such turmoil.

Now I’ve been trying to learn German for what seems an inordinate length of time when I consider just how much more I have and want to learn and given recent personal issues my progress has taken a back seat due to the aforementioned issues.

But like most people eventually we dust ourselves off, take a retrospective deep breath and as the slogan says “carry on”.

Now I’ve come to the realisation that focussing on something else doesn’t just avert our feelings of self-pity it allows us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in something else which at times is all consuming, in my case learning German.

I’m sure lots of other people have far worse problems in life and I’m not naive enough to believe that learning another language is an emotional silver bullet so to speak, but I do know one thing and it’s this … every new word or grammatical nuance I learn feels like there’s a new compartment in the brain.

As John Le Carré said: “a second soul”.

Sometimes it’s the second soul which has an almost cathartic, soothing effect on the one that’s feeling let down or hurt.

My only hope is that anyone reading this relates to it in some way shape or form because picking up the reins and continuing to study my chosen second language is proving a most welcome distraction.

Thank you to anyone who’s read this, my only hope is that one day I’ll write similarly in German.

How do you feel about this? Have you noticed that learning German has helped you, or is helping you, with other issues?

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2 Responses to How learning German could help you deal with problems

  1. Jim S. says:

    Learning German does several things for me. One, with which my doctor agrees by the way, is that it’s very good exercise for my 77 year old brain. Another is that it’s a sort of an escape mechanism from the everyday world into a more pleasant and peaceful realm. It also gives me a sense of accomplishment when I understand something that has taken a while to learn. In addition, I enjoy a lot of German language songs and use them as learning aids. I’m currently able to read German books and stories at about the A-2 to B -1 level (with the aid of Pons) and look forward to the day when I can read contemporary German literature such as “Der Beobacheter” by Charlotte Link in the original German. I have taken several of your Udemy courses and find them to be excellent, I’m currently working on the past tenses course.
    Best regards from Texas
    Jim S.

    • Thanks Jim, for your comment and compliment about my courses!
      You sound like another student of mine who is also in his 70s and is learning German to “avoid Alzheimer’s”. He, too, loves reading German books, no matter how long it takes him. I’m very happy that you both find pleasure in learning German!

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