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13 Reasons Why The Best Adults Are Those Who Embrace Their Inner Child

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13 Reasons Why The Best Adults Are Those Who Embrace Their Inner Child

I love teaching my kids new things. It’s a blast watching them soak up everything they learn. They are like little sponges. Yet, as much as I teach them, at the end of every day I still feel like I’ve learned more from them than they have learned from me.

And here’s why: Kids have life all figured out.

Kids can teach adults how to live our lives better. At some point, years ago, you were likely a child full of wonder, with a passion for learning, and an appreciation of nature. You were probably fun and spontaneous with a great sense of humor.

Then, if you’re like a lot of people, the daily grind of adulthood gradually diminished your inner child. Many adults have lost their love of learning, feel frustration instead of hope, and care so much about what others think that they’re scared to truly come alive and be themselves.

Too many adults have lost their childlike spirit. If you can harness and embrace your inner child, you will likely be a happier, more satisfied adult. Here are 13 reasons why the best adults are those who embrace their inner child:

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1. They are curious

Kids love to learn and are naturally inquisitive. They aren’t afraid to ask questions, and they welcome opportunities to learn about the world. Adults who embrace their inner child have a love for learning. These lifelong learners are continually striving to learn; they seek opportunities to expand their knowledge. They are interested in understanding people and the world. These adults know they don’t have all the answers; they ask questions to gain further insight.

2. They learn something new every day

Every day is a new adventure for a child. From morning until bedtime, there is exploring to do! Adults who embrace their inner child know that growth occurs when they try new things, and agree with the Neale Donald Walsch quote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” These adults know that even when it’s scary to try new things, it’s necessary. To avoid becoming stagnant, these adults experiment with making big and little changes to their life; even taking a different route to work, trying a new food, or learning how to do a new physical activity helps prevent them from feeling stuck.

3. They make small things enjoyable

Kids get excited to run errands with adults, help adults cook meals, and be part of family traditions. Even when tasks involve work, they find ways to enjoy participating. Adults who have a childlike mind find ways to make small, day-to-day tasks, enjoyable. They know that having a great attitude makes their to-do lists much more fun to accomplish. Rather than facing life’s responsibilities with dread, they are thankful for the ability to participate in daily routines.

4. They persevere

When a baby learns to walk, he falls, over and over and over again. Yet, when he falls, he doesn’t say “Wow, clearly I’m not cut out for this.” He doesn’t get embarrassed by his “failure.” He doesn’t pout about not being “good enough” to walk. He doesn’t question his purpose; he KNOWS he’s meant to walk. When he falls, he gets up, focuses his eyes ahead, and tries again and again, until he succeeds at walking.

Adults who embrace their inner child know how to persevere. They are resilient and view obstacles as a natural part of life, not as devastating tragedies. They embrace a “How can I?” rather than an “I can’t” mentality; if they are struggling with something, they look at it from different angles and brainstorm other solutions.

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5. They stay active

Kids are active. They run, climb, and jump every day. They are excited to be strong and take full advantage of being fit. Many adults become sedentary during their working years, forgetting the amazing things a healthy body can do. Adults who embrace their inner child strive to be physically active. They know the world is their playground and participate in a variety of physical activities. They appreciate when their bodies are healthy and capable.

6. They are more optimistic

Many kids are naturally optimistic. They believe that good things will happen. While some adults become jaded and pessimistic, adults with childlike optimism have the conviction that things will work out, and they have a positive outlook on life.

7. They see the beauty in nature

Children are awed by the wonders of the world. They notice the breathtaking beauty of sunrises and sunsets. They see the beauty of the leaves on the trees, drops of dew in the morning, and the colors of the rainbow. They cherish bugs and butterflies. Rather than viewing winter storms as inconvenient and frustrating, children see the details in the snowflakes and cherish the opportunities to play outside and build snow forts.

Adults who embrace their child never lose their sense of wonder; they are continually awed by the beauty of nature.

8. They are adaptable

The majority of kids deal pretty well with interruptions, schedule changes, and disappointments. As adults, however, we can become set in our ways. Yet living lives of inflexibility, and trying to control all variables, leads to feeling exasperated.

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Adults who embrace their inner child are flexible. They know that unexpected events will occur, and do not get overwhelmed when they do.

9. They don’t care about what other people think about them

Children don’t have any interest in keeping up with the Joneses. They aren’t materialistic. If they are fed and comfortable, and feel safe and loved, they tend to be pretty content. Somewhere along the way, many adults become self-conscious and insecure. Adults who embrace their inner child continue to have a childlike confidence; they focus their lives on what’s important to them and are able to not let their critics bother them.

10. They dream big

Kids have big dreams, and they don’t think their dreams are unrealistic or weird. At some point, adults feel the pressure of societal norms – to live a certain way, in a certain home, work a certain schedule, and do everything to fit in with others. Too afraid to fail or succeed, they do all they can to avoid standing out from the crowd; they live lives of frustration.

You will be a happier adult if you gives yourself the freedom to dream big like a child. Adulthood is much more satisfying when you let your imagination run wild, without limits, and imagine a life of possibilities, not of restrictions.

11. They are kind to others

Little kids may notice when others are different from them, but they don’t inherently see everything as “my way” or “the wrong way.” They don’t hate others due to differences in race, ethnicity, or religion. They don’t judge people for past mistakes. They care only whether or not people are kind.

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Adults who embrace their inner child know there’s a lot of “gray” in the world, and they don’t see everything as “black and white.” They realize that just because someone sees the world differently, doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way to think. They are able to respectfully disagree and avoid making harsh, fear-based judgments. Even when they don’t see eye to eye with others, they treat them with kindness.

12. They aren’t rushed

Children don’t feel stressed about enormous to-do lists. They have a sense of peace and are able to enjoy the present. Kids focus their attention on who they’re with and the current day’s activities; their minds don’t wander to what they “should” be doing. They truly know how to “live in the now” and make the most of every day.

Adults who are children at heart master the ability to enjoy the present, even while working toward goals. Although they are ambitious, they have peace about today and they are able to relax and enjoy being fully engaged and present in the moment.

13. They have more fun

Kids tell random, hilarious jokes. They belly laugh every day. They get the giggles about ridiculous stuff. They really know how to let loose. People with childlike personalities know how to have fun. They enjoy a good laugh, and have a great sense of humor.

Learn to embrace your inner child and you will be a much more satisfied adult.

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Living a life full of wonder, appreciation for the small things, humor, kindness, resilience, and big dreams is exactly what your inner child would want you to do.

Featured photo credit: free_flight/Bob Mical via flickr.com

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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