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12 Things To Remember Before You Date An Over-Thinker

12 Things To Remember Before You Date An Over-Thinker
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My mind is constantly racing. Unfortunately, this leads me to constantly worry about what people think of me, what the spot on my left arm is, or what that person meant when he said “Nice shirt” earlier this afternoon. I should be absolutely ecstatic that I found a woman to marry who can deal with this garbage from me on a daily basis (and I am). I guess I just feel bad that I didn’t warn her from the get-go that, when dating an over-thinker:

1. You need to say what you mean

In today’s world, communication comes in many forms. A text message or email can come across in a much different manner than it was intended, through no fault of the sender. Even in person, saying “I’m fine” can send an over-thinker into overdrive, leading to an inner monologue consisting of questions like “Is she really fine? What can I do to help? Did I do something wrong?” when, in actuality, the person really is just fine. It’s always important for people in a relationship to have an open line of communication, but it’s even more imperative if one of the two is a chronic over-thinker.

2. You’ll end up making most of the decisions

My wife definitely gets annoyed with me because I put too much of a burden on her to make decisions. But I can’t help it. When she asks what I want for dinner, my first thought is “Whatever I say, she’ll agree with, even if she doesn’t want it.” In truth, I really don’t care what we eat, as long as she’s happy. Same with making plans on a Saturday. Because I over-think every situation, I’m incredibly indecisive. However, I’ll follow her wherever she wants to go. On some level, she’s accepted this, but I also can tell when she’s tired of being the one to make all the plans.

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3. You’ll make us paranoid if you try to surprise us

Don’t be a sneak and try to plan a surprise birthday party for us. Either one of two things is likely to occur: We’ll be driven absolutely insane by our own (unnecessary) paranoia, or we’ll end up figuring out (and thus ruining) the surprise. Of course you mean well, but just know that when you’re a half-hour late coming home and won’t tell us where you’ve been, we’re going to assume the worst (even if, like I said, it’s unnecessary to do so).

4. You’ll get random texts about random thoughts

I should probably be ashamed to admit this, but it took until about two months ago for me to realize the slogan “Trust Sleepy’s for the rest of your life” is a play on the word “rest.” I’d heard it a million times, but one day it just hit me. Of course, the first thing I did was text my wife to not only gloat about the world-changing epiphany I’d just had, but also to laugh at myself for being so random. Finding the sub-Reddit “Shower Thoughts” made me realize I’m not the only one whose mind is constantly bombarded with outside-the-box thoughts. My wife, on the other hand, probably isn’t so happy I made that discovery.

5. You can laugh at us, to a certain extent

My wife’s usual response to those random texts is: “Sounds like you have too much time on your hands.” I can definitely laugh that off, because I know she’s joking (and also because I know it’s kind of true). But when I’m having an absolutely atrocious day that ends with being ignored by a cashier at the supermarket and getting cut off by a guy blowing through a stop sign, I need some sympathy. Deep down, I know the world’s not against me, but in the moment, it certainly feels like it. Let me blow off steam and come back to Earth before you laugh at me!

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6. You’ll have to keep us off WebMD

I alluded to this in the intro. I’m no hypochondriac, but it’s specifically because I avoid looking up symptoms I’m currently having on the Internet. But I know last week when my arm was tingling for more than a couple hours, I started to worry. I mean, I could have just pinched a nerve or banged it wrong, but what’s this bug bite on my elbow? What if it’s blood poisoning? How am I going to pay for a hospital visit? (Yes, these are all thoughts that crossed my mind in some manner or another). I’m glad my wife was there to remind me I cut up jalapeño peppers earlier in the day, and it was most likely just a residual sting from the juice. Whew.

7. You’ll have to force us to let go of what’s bothering us

Revisiting that “the world’s against me” mentality that comes with being an over-thinker, you’ll need to remind us to let things go sometimes. I realize the person who cut me off didn’t mean to personally attack me, and the cashier who ignored me wasn’t specifically ignoring me, but at the time, it sure felt like it. My wife always brings me back to the reality that it was the other person who’s a bad driver, and the other person who’s a bad cashier. It’s certainly a good thing to have someone to allow us to see things objectively.

8. You’ll have to alleviate our irrational fears

Life is full of “what-ifs.” An over-thinker’s life is full of way too many “what-ifs.” “What if my degree is worthless? What if we can’t have kids? What if we can’t afford a house?” There are way too many problems in this world, and over-thinkers somehow worry about all of them. It’s good to have someone there to tell you that it’ll work out. It’s also good to have someone there to help you realize you’re thinking ten years into the future, when you haven’t even decided what you want for dinner that evening.

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9. You’ll have great conversations

Being an over-thinker isn’t just about worrying too much. Over-thinkers, by nature, always have something to talk about. During dead times in conversation, they’re always thinking of some other insightful (or at least totally random) factoid to discuss. Not only that, but we love to listen. Since we’re constantly over-thinking things, we’ll often want others opinions as well. The more we know about a person, the less we have to guess about them, and the less we over-think about their motives.

10. You’ll always experience new things

Being indecisive means we come up with too many good ideas, and have a hard time narrowing it down. This goes for movies to watch, books to read, places to visit, etc. Though our experiential backlog is most likely gigantic, we will most likely never run out of fun activities to do. Remember, though, it’ll be up to you to actually decide which activity we choose. If you leave it up to us, it’ll be dark before we make a decision.

11. You’ll become more open-minded

Over-thinkers tend to see things from a variety of perspectives. Because of this, we’re able to share differing viewpoints with others. We’re also open to other perspectives that may jibe with ours. We rarely judge others (because we’re too busy judging ourselves!), so you can be free to voice your opinion on any and all things. We won’t get offended by it; we’ll just use it as a talking point to base our conversation around.

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12. You’ll help us live in the moment

Nothing is better to an over-thinker than experiencing something so visceral that our mind actually stops racing, and we’re able to live for now. On my honeymoon last year, as we were walking along the beach, clouds started to roll in, and it started to drizzle. Within minutes it was downright pouring. It made no sense to run back to our hotel, since we’d be soaked regardless, so I pulled my wife close and made her stay right there on the beach, hugged up as closely as possible to each other. In that moment, nothing else existed but us. I’d known for some time that I would marry her, but in that moment, when the only thing on my mind was her, I knew I was right.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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