Visual thinking and studying

I discovered a great English expression: “in my previous life I was a teacher”. It doesn’t mean the person went into trance and found out they were a teacher in another life, but before practising their current profession, they practised another. I love expressions.

In my own previous life I was a singer in Greece. I had a thousand ideas for if one day I would break through. But it was also a hard profession, because you had to perform every night and I also wanted to finish my study. Good music is very healing though and in my current ‘life’ I am a healer. So I’m back in music and share it now.

Visual thinking

I would like to tell a little bit more about people who think visually. In images less than in words. It is a way of learning just like learning with words and texts, but not easy for many children and also adults. As you maybe know, the left hemisphere of your brain works with words and the right with images. The images go real fast, while the words are slower, but it’s so hard to remember all those images you’ve seen. That is because they have to be processed and … that processing is done in the left hemisphere. The images have to become words and then enter into your memory.

That’s how it works and for that you need your whole brain. Problem is only that no-one has a totally working brain. Oh it may seem so if a student thinks in words learns much faster and easier. But the fact that someone thinks in words doesn’t mean he or she is more complete than others. We’re all functioning on half brains! Scientists say it, don’t they? Our brains have much more capacity and they can’t understand why we don’t use the rest. Yeah, I told you in the previous articles and vids: because they’re stuck, locked and again stuck. We can’t force them to work.

Now in another ‘previous life’ I was a teacher. For 25 years I taught languages and cultures. I have always been open to learning strategies and that had become more or less my specialty. I thought (and still think) that everyone has the right to learn new things and if one way doesn’t work, then the teacher should try another. And so I did. With some people I just went into grammar, because they asked me to do so and they learned real fast that way. With others I let them explain the lessons and the grammar. That made them feel heard and seen and so they picked up the lessons fast as well.

Learning strategies

I also looked very well at the ways people learned other languages. And I saw that people who learned by their right hemispere, so by listening to mothertongue speakers and then imitating them without reading a lot, learned a lot slower and less accurate. When they arrived at some point halfway the language, the learning would stop and then they went to look for a school. At most schools of Dutch language the teachers were no language teachers, but primary school teachers, social workers (!) or even teachers of math or people with some bachelor in something totally irrelevant.

Most teachers never explain any grammar and just tell their students to ‘work by themselves’, because that’s the latest fashion and so they don’t need to become tired explaining and helping. Newcomers in our country have to find a way to learn the language by themselves, because at school they learn nothing. They’re not lucky at all, because Dutch is a quite difficult language. And so people find ways to learn Dutch.

So I understood you can learn in many ways. If I have to learn a new language, I take the grammar, learn it by head and then make sentences by myself. A bit autistic maybe, but that’s just my way and it works. Since about 25 years it is in ‘fashion’ that learners of a new language should be immersed into it. For me it is a great second way of learning, but I have taught hundreds of students who felt they were drowning. They felt they lost control and dropped out. For adults there is tailor-made education, but children and teens have to learn the way the book and their teacher happen to teach. If they can’t make it, they’re called dyslectic if they’re lucky and otherwise they’re told to have AD(H)D, learning troubles or autism in some way. In mental health they have heaps of books with ways to categorise all the mental troubles they found in people – and never in themselves, did you notice that? Yes, I know I’m mean 😀 .

math in your toilet …

What I am actually saying is that yes there are more ways to learn new skills. You can hang post-its on your walls with the names of objects in the house in the language you’re learning. Or math formulas on your toilet. You can put on the radio with talking programs at night while you sleep, so you learn a bit without doing anything. You can visit a scientifical museum in order to learn physics and chemistry or search for information on the internet. And many other things as well! But in my experience those things only work to make learning easier. They aren’t ways to really learn a skill or a subject.


If you really want to learn, you have to take up books and sit and study. But then that right half of your brain says: “Well no, I’m not gonna do this. Do it by yourself!”. What is the solution then? Go to a lower level of school? Get home education? Drop out totally? Study instead of sleeping at night?

Time to awake the sleeping beauty

The answer to this direct question isn’t simple. Yes it’s time to kiss the half of your brain that has been sleeping for thousands of years awake, but that isn’t done overnight. I wish it was! My memory also doesn’t work anymore and I have become triple fat by retaining fluid. We all experience the same thing: we arrived at the edge of the mountain and found the bridge that used to be there to cross over to the next mountain, isn’t there anymore. Now either we have to make many miles extra or we have to jump.

Solutions … Real good music is healing, real healthy food also and doing exercises both physical and mental is wonderful. You can also come to me and let me extract the inhibitions in your brain for you. In the meantime stress is not helping at all. People who tell you they did this or that and were soooo successful, don’t tell you the truth: they used that impure power of the right half of the brain to impose their will on something they wanted to have. That doesn’t work anymore first of all and second of all that only worked for a short time. You have to find something that really works and stays.


And that isn’t something magical like a wonderformula for dyslexia and visual thinking. It’s a shift in point-of-view. People with a strong right hemisphere of the brain are instable, insecure and hence afraid to admit they’re wrong. That is a much more important cause of learning difficulties than the fact that they think visually. The best way of overcoming those inhibitions is by working on the left hemisphere: there you will find your emotional stability. And if you regain that, you won’t have so many problems in learning or studying.

I always hear right-hemisphere people say: “I am good as I am”. They say it in order to become more self-assured, but it doesn’t let them develop themselves. Don’t sit more and more into your feeling ability. You already have that well developed and that is great. Now it’s time to go on and learn something new: to think in logics and to be emotionally stable. Maybe it sounds hard the way I say it, but really if you want to be successful in life, you need that left brain half. Of course nobody has the right to attack you, but if your left brain half isn’t developed you easily feel attacked. Stable people can handle a lot more criticism without losing it. And that is exactly the factor you need for success: being emotionally strong. That is impossible if you keep on refusing to develop yourself.

Don’t think you can’t do it. You can! Everyone can learn new things and so can you. The way to develop your left brain hemisphere is by reading, but that is difficult for visual thinkers. What also works really well is making puzzles like sudokus and so. Then you don’t have a whole page of letters, words or numbers to struggle yourself through, but just a few and you have to combine numbers, think very logically and straight in order to make them. I am a little dyslectic too. Just a very little tiny bit; the only problem I experience is that I can’t read fast, because I don’t understand what I read. But I taught myself to scan pages. At first I couldn’t do it at all, but then one day I scanned five books in one afternoon. Plus I remembered what I had read! And I know more people who taught themselves to read, while they were dyslectic, had ADHD and I don’t know what more. According to the mental factory as least …

Another advise I can give you is to eat left things, like cocoa or chocolate (not too much if you don’t wanna grow fat), bananas (they really make you smart), fruit in general and ginkgo biloba (e.g. drink it as tea). Plus food with iron in it, like apple juice, concentrated juice of blueberries, blackberries, apples or elderberries. Iron gives your brain and body the strength to fully function. It literally chases minerals and other nutrients through your blood, calling them to work. It’s like an army.

Last advise: do that exercise to scan your body for negative emotions. It’s most likely that you will find fear and stress, but you can search for anger, panic, hatred, sorrow and what-do-we-have-more as well! Yes: depression and frustration. Out with them! Negative emotions get heaped up in your right half of the brain – that’s why you get emotionally instable – and if you get them out, you won’t be filled up again. So feel where they’re stored in your body, put them in an imaginative box and ask God to take it away. He is a kind man and he’ll do it.

Here is the music I promised. You deserve that after having read this whole article! It’s me myself singing karaoke and recording it with my ragged laptop. It’s a Greek song, but Latin American style. Δε θέλω πια να ξαναρθείς (meaning: I don’t want you to come back) written by Manolis Hiotis. You can say that to your dyslexia if you like:


©Sophia Vassiliou

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  1. Als gelijk gestemde ziel ga ik je vertellen dat ik werkelijk paf stond toen ik van jou een stel nieuwe video’s op het net in beeld kreeg.
    Wat zie je er geweldig uit, en dat alles zonder ego! hahahaha.
    Je bent echt door diepe dalen gegaan en dan krijg je dit als cadeau!
    Ik weet dat je moeite hebt met de complimenten die ik je wel vaker uitdeelde, maar toch.
    Heel erg leuk om je lesje over de functies van beide hersenhelften mee te maken..


    1. Oh haha dank je wel Barbara 😀
      Ja die dikke onderkin, joepie helemaal geweldig :-(! Ik kan niet goed tegen complimenten, dat klopt hoor. Dan wil ik me het liefst verstoppen. Nee geen ego, maar wel een hoop ballast. Ik heb te doen met mensen die wél een ego hebben, want zij kunnen daar niets aan doen en het staat ze in de weg om zich te ontwikkelen. Plus ze hebben het ook nog eens niet door … erg vind ik dat! Iedereen moet weer een mooi leven hebben toch!
      Eh ja zo was ik dus als juf. Grinnik

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