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Here’s What Happy Couples Do To Keep Their Relationships Fresh

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Here’s What Happy Couples Do To Keep Their Relationships Fresh

Ralph Waldo Emerson was once quoted as saying that “True Love is the residue that’s left once the excitements of love banish away.”

As the new season approaches, we tend to have hopes and dreams of advancing our lives and taking them to a new level. The question is: do we ever think of behaviors we can adapt which can lead to a fresh new start for our current relationship?

The reason why most relationships become dull is that couples abandon the duties and efforts which are essential in keeping the relationship alive. I am sure you have heard before about how couples should make New Year resolutions to keep their relationships fresh. Be honest — have you ever thought about how you can make resolutions in your relationship? If your answer is no, then it’s high time that you reassess your approach to your relationship.

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Below are some simple steps which will help you and your partner to mold your mature relationship and keep that fire burning with freshness and excitement.

Share most of your time with your partner

This may sound crazy to some football fans out there, but the truth is that sacrificing the time you spend watching football with your friends to be with your partner can really boost your relationship. Happy couples always spend most of their time doing what their partners love. Furthermore, you can decide to be more helpful to your partner through helping them in their tasks and becoming part of their successes.

Try something new together

You might have always wished to infuse your old relationship with something new but have been reluctant for a variety of reasons. The moment you adapt new ideas and relate them to your relationship, you will be able to achieve more happiness and bonding with your partner. Ensure that your relationship is fun-filled and adventurous.

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When I first met my wife, I would always spring surprises on her just to see her smile and fill her heart with love and adoration. Take your partner back to the days when the relationship was new and see them light up again.

Maintain outside relationships

It’s important to note that a couple’s relationship can either be enhanced or corrupted by outside relationships. Not all outside relationships are positive — some are bad and should be avoided at all cost.

An example of a healthy outside relationship includes spending time with other couples who are in a very strong relationship. Look for couples who have strong values and character and who are able to influence your relationship positively. Through this, you will gain insight on the importance of commitment and keeping the relationship exciting.

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At the same time, couples should choose the types of friends they hang out with. These types of friends help you to develop a social life, which is important in keeping a relationship fresh.

Try a joint project

Most of us know the story of Ken Blanchard and how he became a spiritual motivational speaker and a renowned author. Ken and his wife Marjorie decided to form a joint project by starting a company which could offer high-quality training to young investors on how to make a difference in a business platform. Through hard work and sacrifice, they managed to launch the Ken Blanchard Company, which quickly gained worldwide recognition for offering International Management training and counseling programs on leadership qualities.

Couples should create common goals which they can work on and achieve together. An example of a joint project may include a financial goal where both of you can save a certain amount of money to go on a vacation. Or, it could include saving some cash to buy something you have always wished for. Through accomplishing your goals together, you feel more like a team — something which strengthens your love bonds. Be it shopping for running shoes together or scouring trampoline reviews to find an outdoor trampoline you could both enjoy, any kind of common hobby or interest will help cement the bond between the two of you.

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Discuss your dreams and ideas

When you first met your partner, conversation was probably never lacking at the dinner table. You talked about hopes, dreams, and things you wished to achieve in the future. With time, such conversations likely vanished. It’s important to spend time discussing your dreams and the things you wish to achieve in the future.

Keep surprising your partner

Keeping the element of surprise alive is among the most basic things that most couples do to keep their relationships fresh. Here’s how: choose one day of the week to go home early carrying a small gift. Alternatively, you can decide to cook your partner’s favorite meal or book a surprise holiday getaway. It doesn’t have to be much, but nothing works as well as giving small and unexpected gifts. These small surprises help to enhance your relationship, decorating it with freshness and novelty and preventing it from getting stuck.

Let them know how much you admire them

When you first met your spouse, there were certain qualities which attracted you to them. Maybe it’s beauty, intelligence, or their ability to speak freely and intelligently. Whatever it is that drove you mad still exists. You should tell them how beautiful, handsome, intelligent, or humorous they are from time to time. This will make them feel loved, valued, and special.

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Bottom line

Even though you may find these steps hard to achieve or outside of your comfort zone, they are the best cure for bringing a dull relationship back to life. Psychological studies have revealed that the most important thing in your life is your relationship. So, make it a good one.

Featured photo credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões via flickr.com

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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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