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7 Roots Of Negative Emotions You Need To Identify And Weed Out

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7 Roots Of Negative Emotions You Need To Identify And Weed Out

When it comes to succeeding in life, your greatest enemy is hidden in your mind, in a form of negative emotions. As Henry Ford said: whether you believe that you can or you can’t, you are right. Negative emotions are one of the main causes for self-doubt, dissatisfaction in life and looking for excuses for not doing something.

Fortunately, they aren’t entrenched in your mind for good so you can get rid of them. The perfect point to start at is determining the roots of negative emotions which is what I’ll discuss in this article. By doing this, you open your way to more happiness and success.

1. Comparing yourself to others.

“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.”

Shannon L. Alder

In the world of social media, this became incredibly easy and tempting. As you scroll down your Facebook feed or check out Instagram photos, you are bombarded with highlights of other people’s lives. It’s rare when folks share their insecurity and obstacles. So as you are irradiated with best parts of others’ lifestyle and compare it to your worst moments, it can be really depressing.

The fact is, comparing yourself to others doesn’t serve you well. It’s ineffective to make an in-depth analysis in your mind based only on a surface. Even if some people appear incredibly confident, be aware that they simply developed a higher tolerance of uncertainty. They may still have doubts and problems, but their external self doesn’t show that to the outside world.

If you compare yourself to others, you should give up doing it immediately. The only person you should measure yourself with is your past self.

2. Repeating negative affirmations.

Your brain is a powerful tool, but for most of the people, it works against you by default. It requires some effort to make it function for your good. This begins with replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

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Negative affirmations can literally paralyze your ability to become happy and succeed. Once you repeat them long enough, you start to believe in the wrong vision you created in your mind.

Luckily, the same rule applies to positive affirmations: repeating them over and over again makes you believe in these words. Consequently, weeding out the negative emotions almost automatically.

3. Underestimating your abilities.

You should never judge your skills against your favor. Always assume that you can do something and then go for it. If you fail, that just means you need to put more work into it.

Underrating your competencies boosts self-doubt and lowers your self-esteem which is the best environment for negative emotions to thrive.

Pay more attention to your attitude when it comes to facing new challenges and pursuing your goals. Do you easily come up with excuses and tend to rationalize?

If that happens, try to mute the negative inner voice and listen to the reasons why you can. It will surely impact your confidence and remove the bad energy from your mind.

You should use the internal dialog to help you to find reasons to believe in yourself.

4. Avoiding the full responsibility for your life.

Being content and satisfied involves fully accepting your influence on your life and using it properly. Whether you believe it or not, you are the master of your universe.

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Nowadays, when the technology is highly advanced and people more open-minded than ever before, you can live your life on thousands different ways. The best part is, it’s fully up to you.

Sure, you can point some external factors like the economy or your environment, but as I said, in today’s world you have countless other options.

Blaming factors you can’t control for your problems leads to a spike of negative emotions. However, once you accept that you are the king on your own planet, making a change for better becomes a matter of time.

5. Staying around negative people.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Jim Rohn

Your environment has a huge impact on your thoughts and actions. If you surround yourself with five intelligent people, you’ll soon become the sixth one. If there are only negative folks around you, eventually you’ll spread the negativity just like they do. That’s why you should pay attention to your surroundings.

One of the best ways to weed out the negative emotions is to spend more time with cheerful people. Bellyaches and complainers hurt both you and themselves so avoid them at all cost.

Positive people aren’t cheery and bright by accident, but because they separate themselves from the negative energy.

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6. Looking for other people’s approval.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” Steve Jobs

Through socialization, we adopt an unnatural need to look for the external stimulants in a form of others’ approval. We carefully analyze our behavior so that we aren’t judged and pointed out by the society.

The truth is, however, the crowd is a bad indicator for what’s right for you. It’s because the masses aren’t authentic to their true selves. Instead, they stick to current norms and go with the flow.

The fact is, you will be completely fine once you face disapproval. Furthermore, you’ll be proud of abandoning the need for validation.

However, when you keep pay attention to how others perceive you, you become a slave. In lieu of pursuing your passions and sticking to your own rules, you go against yourself to please others.

The unavoidable consequence is a life full of regret which you definitely don’t want to live.

This article is a good starting point to discover the stuff you don’t need anyone’s approval for.

6. Saying yes when you mean no.

The ability to say no at the right moment is what defines a fully grown-up and responsible person. Plenty of adults still struggle to develop this precious skill. As a result, they end up lost in unnecessary commitments, tons of debt, excess obligations and negative emotions.

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You should never agree on something only to please others. This usually leads to problems and actually hurts both you and the person that asked for a favor.

When deep in your mind you feel like you should say no, it’s the best sign to do so. You know better what’s good for you so don’t let others influence your decisions.

Choosing between “yes” and “no” properly is a huge indicator of self-respect and confidence which are one of the key elements for more positivity in your life.

7. Contemplating about your past mistakes.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

L.M. Montgomery

Whatever messy and awkward things you did in the past should stay in the past. There’s no need to regret your bygone mistakes. Instead, learn from them and make sure not to repeat them in the future.

You can’t turn back the clock so stop getting back to unpleasant moments only to ruin your mood. Making mistakes is a human nature and the way we learn.

The real mistake isn’t when you it, but when you fail to correct it.

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More by this author

Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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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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