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8 Hacks to Conquer a Life-changing Injury like a Boss

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8 Hacks to Conquer a Life-changing Injury like a Boss

Life is rarely easy but, for some unlucky few, it often throws a life-changing curve ball. While many of us can shrug off cuts and bruises, there are some injuries that change lives.

It’s during these challenging moments that many people simply give up and accept their change as a loss. However, life is full of pleasant surprises and examples that show a better option – talk about transforming lemons into lemonades. History is full of people accepting their devastating injuries and like true champions – finding a way to achieve even more in the aftermath.

A valuable example can be easily traced to the success stories already being achieved in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Survivors suffered various injuries and health issues, yet many are achieving great things with their lives, using the experience gained to realize their potential – all in just two years!

So, how can you take inspiration from these real life heroes and improve your own life when the worst happens? Life-changing injuries don’t need to be a change for the worse and, with these life hacks, you can strive to overcome them like a boss!

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1. Don’t Live in Denial

A positive attitude really does count for a lot, but even this initially requires acceptance. How can you have the right frame of mind if you don’t come to terms with your physical changes? One of the first things you should do is accept, both mentally and physically, what you can and can’t do.

To put it another way, this is a way of finding your current limits and setting a goal to beat them. Once you know what you are and are not currently capable of, you can start finding ways to push that bar higher and higher. Denial, on the other hand, will simply mislead you.

2. Set Goals

Speaking of goals, it’s important to have a series of achievable targets, rather than one large or vague goal. The latter might look impossible, while a series of objectives more firmly within reach gives you something to constantly strive for. This can be as simple as using a wheelchair, learning to stand up on your own and then walking.

3. Find an Outlet

When injuries change you on a physical level, it’s often no surprise to experience emotional or mental changes as well. As part of the healing process, it helps to find an emotional outlet. Not only will this give you a means to work through your pain; it can help fill time, encourage you to head outdoors, and even meet others.

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This is also important because, in many incidents, the brain can be just as damaged as the body. The mind is a frail thing, so be sure not to neglect it during these difficult times.

4. Practice Mindfulness

As mentioned earlier on, it helps to accept your own physical limitations. Similarly, you should always keep these in mind, practicing constant mindfulness to ensure you don’t take on too much, do something dangerous, or push yourself too hard.

5. Go Back to Nature

There’s always been something calm and relaxing about the natural world and modern science suggests that even the smallest touches of nature can help people heal. Whether it’s the vibrant colors, the enticing fragrance or just forgetting about the city for a while, nature can play a large role in the healing process.

You don’t need to even leave your home to do this. While a day away from the city life can do wonders, there’s nothing wrong with growing flowers and plants in your home. There are many activities you can enjoy with loved ones by simply embracing the environment.

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6. Meet with Others

It’s a big world out there and no matter what happens, you are never alone. There are always other people who have experienced something similar and if you take the time to look, you can find people willing to share experiences. Perhaps more importantly, they might understand better too.

Part of coming to terms with, and consequently beating injuries is finding a way to be happy. Positive thinking can lead to better, faster recovery rates and meeting like-minded individuals is a great way to do this. What’s more, people like company and seldom benefit from long periods of loneliness. Therefore, regular contact with other individuals will definitely give you the cheer to beat your setback!

7. Your Disability is not an Excuse

One of the biggest issues with disabilities is that life itself is often seen as an excuse. Yet, the fact remains that disabled people can do just as much as anyone else. The best way to describe this is to look at two different options.

In one instance, you can work around your limitations or injury and find something you can do. This includes finding a job, or finding new hobbies to replace ones you no longer feel are suitable. By choosing a new path, you can stay active, engaged and happy.

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On the other hand, there are those who wish to push through their injuries, seeing the disability as a challenge. Many runners from the unfortunate Boston Marathon incident for example, have gone on to run again, defying expectations.

In either case, you’re doing something. If you accept your disability and use it as a means to get out of things, life will never improve. Like anyone else, you have to push yourself and not fall back on excuses.

8. Become an Example/Inspiration to Others

Finally and perhaps, most importantly, you should always set an example for others. Many people look up to the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. Many have become a shining example of what individuals can achieve and if you’re ever in the same situation, there’s really no excuse not to do the same.

In summary, many of these points focus on finding a passion or goal to inspire yourself but, by being the best you can be, you will also inspire others to do the same as well. Start thinking about how you want others to see you, and plan then to become that person!

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Featured photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Page 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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