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What You Need to Remember to Deal With Loss in Life

What You Need to Remember to Deal With Loss in Life
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Unfortunately, we all deal with loss in life. No matter what form or severity, coping is rarely easy. The lack of healthy coping measures can exacerbate the pain, especially when the loss is as drastic as a loved one dying.

There are some crucial things to remember when dealing with loss. A good place to start is understanding that…

You’ll never completely get over your loss. Instead, you’ll adapt, learn, and become a stronger you.

It is difficult to relate to any kind of pain. Even if there are similarities between occurrences, everyone deals with pain differently.

That’s okay. There’s no “correct” or “appropriate” timetable towards healing. Everyone’s will be different. Friends and family may encourage you to “get over it” by occupying your mind and staying busy. While healthy distraction is positive (as I’ll elaborate on in a bit), there’s no need to rush how you think you should feel. Your feelings are meant to be felt as they occur in the moment and no one else knows them better than you. Cry if you want to. Scream if you want to. Flail your arms madly in the air if you want to.

Be kind to your mind and realize that there is no “normal” when it comes to dealing with loss. Plus…

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It’s okay to not want to talk about it.

Again, everyone handles pain in a different way. Many experience a “roller coaster” effect of feelings, where your emotions vary from day to day, or even minute to minute. One moment could feel like the healing process is working, the next could feel like a deeper regression into sadness. There will be days that you feel like going out and about with friends and days where you won’t feel like emerging from the pillow fortress in your bedroom. These varying emotions are also okay, but listen to them attentively. There’s no need to pressure yourself into coping in a way you think is “proper” because “everyone else does it that way”.

Do what you feel is right and when you finally feel up to chatting about it, remember that…

Your friends are friends for a reason. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them.

Many of us do not voluntarily ask for help when faced with uncomfortable struggle. We all consider it a burden to our friends, family, and other counterparts when we ask for help. When the shoe is on the other foot, and friends ask us for help; there is no false sense of burden. Even if your friends are not well versed in loss or particularly gifted at giving advice, they will always listen. Even the worst friend has two ears (in most cases). If you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to put your guard down and open up about your pain, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

Also, it’s a really nice reminder that there are people who will always have your back, because…

Opening up doesn’t make you weak.

I’m an eternal optimist, almost to a fault. Despite that, I understand that life just flat out sucks at times. And, frankly, there won’t be a suckier time in any of our lives than when we deal with loss or death. It will be the low of the low for most of us. But, as previously mentioned, it’s unavoidable. Embracing your feelings honestly and being willing to talk about them is the first step towards healing and empowerment. Emotions are a lot like a bad infection: You can pretend it’s not there, but it’ll get a lot worse before it ever gets better. Spiritual strength and emotional growth happen when we don’t hide from our feelings, but learn to manage them.

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You can’t outrun pain. It’ll always catch up to you. So…

Be kind to your body.

When cloaked in a veil of darkness it’s easy to forget about personal hygiene and appropriate eating habits. Neglecting showering, eating, activity, and regular sleeping habits is detrimental on all fronts to your health and well being.

Activity of any kind takes your mind off the negative, so it’s especially smart to…

Do the things you love most.

There’s no easier and mentally healthier way to remind yourself that good things still exist than doing things you truly love. It doesn’t matter what it is, staying active towards your dreams and immersed in your deepest desires will do wonders when dealing with loss. Wouldn’t your lost loved one still want you to keep doing the things that make you happiest?

But if you suddenly lose interest in a passion, why not…

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Explore something new.

Travel. Cook. Try a new hobby. Take some time off “work” to work on yourself. Even if it’s just exploring a new neighborhood or trying a new food, incorporating new stimuli to your environment will keep things fresh and remind you that there is a lot of life to still experience. My grandma (may she rest in peace) always used to tell me, “Life is for the living.” Some of the most substantial breakthrough moments exist slightly outside of your comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to explore that, even if you’re in pain. But whatever you do, I strongly encourage that you…

Don’t mask your pain in external variables, particularly substances.

There’s an idiotic association in our culture of sadness and substance abuse. In film, television, and other mass medias, we see characters who’re experiencing death or heartbreak drinking heavily in some dank bar alone or getting wasted on heroin in a back alley. This has effectively desensitized us to the real life threat of alcoholism that can be kick started by a tragic life experience. Many people mask their pain in drugs or alcohol, but it never works. It has literally a zero chance of successfully helping you cope. Your problems are still very real when the high wears off, and the high always fades. Don’t prolong your grieving process. You deserve more.

Instead of looking at as a means to an end, remind yourself that…

You’re a richer person because of them.

Instead of dwelling on memories of yesteryear, be thankful in reminiscence that you had them in your life. Cherish the memories instead of refusing to let go of them. Celebrate their life by continuing their legacy and making them proud. Do good by them by celebrating their life more, opposed to constantly mourning their death. It’s good to be thankful for the time and memories you shared together.

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Because when you really get down to it…

The end of anything is a new beginning.

Stories end, relationships end, personal preferences end. No matter what ends, we always go on. Whether still in mortality, or something ethereal beyond our comprehension, there’s always more to be written of your story…

Featured photo credit: Calmly / Hiroyuki Takeda via albumarium.com

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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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