"If You Have…Diabetes": Emotion Opens the Door to Diabetes Education

"If You Have…Diabetes"

| Nov 30, 2007

"If You Have…Diabetes" is a new educational DVD about diabetes. There are plenty of those. But this one is groundbreaking. Other DVDs just hand a stack of information on a plate to people who may be too overwhelmed or in denial to take it in.

This DVD, however, flavors those facts with powerful feelings, and it uses the engine of emotion to pull the information directly into deep memory and a place of understanding.

When people with diabetes don't do well, the blame is usually placed on their lack of information. If they only had the education, people say, they would do well. But we are buried in facts about how to control diabetes. What's lacking is not information. It's the next steps, the pathway from that information to meaning and motivation, that are so often omitted.

In fact, the bald presentation of information is the weakest of the essential elements of learning. Alone, the facts just lay there, flat and empty. Our memories and motivations are deeply entwined with primitive parts of our brain, and the same brain areas that process emotion are also involved in processing memory. It is the emotional component of information that implants it deeply in our brain.

Emotion affects our level of arousal, which is controlled deep within the primitive brain stem, far from the higher brain functions that memorize facts. And learning lies dormant when there is no emotional arousal that activates attention.

That's where "If You Have…Diabetes" steps in. While watching emotionally powerful testimonials from people who have traveled the road from denial to knowledge, the viewer identifies with those people and travels their road vicariously. He or she experiences the speakers' emotions as they describe their travails and triumphs on their path to understanding and control. And the watcher reaches that same place too, without having to personally travel that same twisting road.

Emotion is what imprints information with meaning and tells us that the information is important. If people don't get emotionally hooked, they don't pay attention. And if they don't pay attention, they don't learn. And they certainly don't understand. Understanding is seeing the pattern; it's when disparate facts fall into place and make sense. Seeing a pattern gives shape to memory. Instead of meaningless pieces in a jumbled mass, understanding makes clear the whole picture. Within that pattern, memory is found, and motivation rises.

Once people understand, they need motivation to act upon their understanding. Motivation and emotion both affect the memory system, and the source of motivation is emotion. Emotions are the brain's way of evaluating whether something should be acted upon. It isn't necessary to generate motivation in people; you only have to tap its source, and that source is emotion. "If You Have… Diabetes" uses this touchstone to create a powerful learning and motivational experience. It should be required watching for any adult who has been diagnosed with diabetes.

If you'd like to order "If You Have…Diabetes" for yourself and your family, you can order a copy for $34.99 at www.Alpyn.com. If you'd like to order at least twelve copies for your patients, you can buy them in bulk for wholesale cost by contacting the company.

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