An Easy Cure For Math Phobia

Why is it that one person enjoys math, while another person hates it?

Why does one child happily and quickly calculate a simple sum, while another won't even attempt it because they're convinced they're simply "no good with numbers"?

The problem certainly isn't caused by lack of intelligence.

In fact there are many examples throughout history of seemingly "stupid" people who could do amazing things with numbers.

Take the case of Jedediah Buxton (1702-1772), an illiterate laborer who became famous for his number skills. His employer once asked him:

"In a body whose 3 sides are 23,145,789 yards, 5,642,732 yards, and 54,965 yards, how many cubical eighths of an inch are there?"

Before giving the answer, Buxton asked "which end" of the 28-digit answer he should start at, as he could recite it just as easily forwards or backwards!

Of course, mathematical prodigies are born, not made. But it does beg the question:

"If somebody who can't even read or write is able to perform these kinds of breathtaking calculations, what stops other people from doing even simple sums?"

Clearly, something went wrong along the way.

Young children naturally enjoy numbers. And even people who now have an intense dislike for math often say they once enjoyed it.

What has happened to them is generally an unfortunate event in their past.

Perhaps they were ridiculed for a mistake they made with numbers, in front of the entire class.

Maybe they missed some crucial math lessons and never really caught up.

Or perhaps they were taught to handle numbers mechanically - when what they really needed was some explanation of why the numbers work the way they do.

Whatever the specific reason, bad experiences with numbers left an emotional scar, which developed into a phobia to keep the sufferer safe from further harm.

The point here is that if you have "math phobia" or "math block", it isn't a permanent state of mind.

As a perfectly normal, healthy human being, you can do math and enjoy it as much as anyone.

You can make this change yourself, anytime you want. You just need to ignore the disliking attitude and actually try manipulating a few numbers from time to time.

Start with something easy, like adding small numbers in your head, or on paper if you prefer.

Next time you get some change in the shop, check it's correct. Or better still, reckon up the change you expect while you are waiting to pay.

Avoid perfectionism, especially in the early stages. Realize there are two ways of working with numbers: approximate and exact. Often, an approximate answer is all you need.

For example, when you pick up a grocery item priced at $3.98, just call it "four dollars". The next thing you pick up in the shop is priced at $7.95, so call that "eight dollars". Add them together and you now expect to pay "nearly twelve dollars".

Try it and you'll see how easy it is.

The cure for math phobia is to allow a few numbers back into your life. Don't make a big thing of them, just do whatever you feel comfortable with.

To summarize:

1. Recognize you have an aversion to math, whether it's full-blown math phobia or just a few math blocks here and there.

2. Make a conscious decision to do something about it.

3. Give yourself a regular math workout, however small to start with.

You'll find it all gets easier, and you'll soon enjoy math once again.

Kenneth Williams is author of "Fun With Figures", which shows you a completely different and much easier method of doing numbers in your head. Check it out here: http://FunWithFigures.com

In The News:

Why Psychology Matters  Psychology Today
Why Does Boredom Exist?  Psychology Today
Who Was the First Therapy Dog?  Psychology Today
The Neuroscience of Racism  Psychology Today
What You Watch Matters  Psychology Today
Using psychology to boost mental health  People Management Magazine

You, I and We

Our life in society hovers around the concept of 'You?I?... Read More

Nature VS Nurture - Theories of Personality in 21st Century

Nature vs Nurture theories have wasted a lot of energy... Read More

Solution Focus Process: Solution Talk vs. Problem Talk Pt 2

It is crucial that interviewing with helpee progress toward solutions.... Read More

Creating A Winning Mindset

Do you know anyone who always wins? Sure you know... Read More

Is China Testing Bio Weapons on Its Own People?

Well the conspiracy theorists are out in full force I... Read More

What is the Treatment for Bipolar Disorder?

How do we treat bipolar disorder? Specifically, how do we... Read More

Are Observations Objective?

On the outset all observations may seem to be objective,... Read More

Subconscious Drives Make You Unhappy

Feelings and emotions are nerve impulses.The feel of paper and... Read More

Behavioral Manifestations of Alzheimer?s Dementia

Alzheimer's Dementia has a combination of cognitive and behavioral manifestations.... Read More

The Attention Spanner

After a long and patient wait in queue, you reached... Read More

Hypnotic Myths

Even though hypnosis has been around officially since the 1700s... Read More

What Causes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

The most recent models that attempt to describe what is... Read More

We are in the End Days; Oh, Really Now?

Some think the world is coming to an end, they... Read More

Morality As A Mental State

INTRODUCTIONMoral values, rules, principles, and judgements are often thought of... Read More

What?s the Problem: Introducing Solution Focus Pt 1

Solution Focus is the brain child of Insoo Kim Berg... Read More

Balancing Brain Lobes - Mutras

When does consciousness exist? Will the sentient robots being created... Read More

Why Other Children are Rejecting Your Child

IntroductionDeveloping healthy peer relationships is critical for the normal development... Read More

Dogs Use Psycho-Cybernetics To Accomplish Goals

Dogs picture in their minds an event of an activity... Read More

The Joan of Arc Complex

Sometimes I think that I have a mental health problem... Read More

Hypnosis: A Brief History

Evidence of hypnotic-like phenomena appears in many ancient cultures. The... Read More

Ericksons Theory of Human Development

I'm sure you've heard the term "Identity Crisis" before. It's... Read More

Parapsychology: Maximizing Effectivity Of Targeted Controlled Remote Viewing Techniques

Individuals with a solid working knowledge of Controlled Remote Viewing... Read More

Traumas as Social Interactions

("He" in this text - to mean "He" or "She").We... Read More

What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences? Part 2: Cultural Influence

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences developed as he worked... Read More

Emotional Intelligence: The Basics

There's so much talk about emotional intelligence and how it... Read More