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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

Need a Mood Booster? Here Are 5 Ways to Get Happier in 1 Minute

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Need a Mood Booster? Here Are 5 Ways to Get Happier in 1 Minute

Everyone hits rough spots. You might be sailing along, happy and content and then something out of left field gets you upset. Maybe you stub your toe, get bad news, or spill your coffee on your favorite pants. Little or big, there are times when you need a quick mood booster.

Happiness and contentment are often states that take a while to cultivate. However, there are things you can do to find a quick boost of happiness if you’re having a bad moment. While these things likely won’t fix your problems, they may help you approach them with a greater sense of ease.

If you want to get started improving your mood, here are 5 go-to mood boosters to get happier in a minute or less!

1. Take a Few Deep Breaths

Deep breathing is a great mood booster[1]. It is an efficient way to promote overall well-being. One academic review pointed out that deep breathing can effectively improve the body and mind’s response to physical and mental stress. The same review suggests that the optimal breathing rate may be between 6-10 breaths per minute[2].

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How to do deep breathing for a mood booster.

    A second study suggested that controlled breathing can improve attention and decrease levels of cortisol, a hormone released when we are stressed[3].

    If you only have one minute, use it to take some deep breaths, aiming for 6-8 in that minute. If you have more time, try extending the deep breathing for 5-10 minutes for even more positive effects.

    2. Doodle

    If you’re in a meeting and are struggling to pay attention, or even if you’re just bored at home, doodling can be a great way to occupy your mind for a few seconds and refocus your efforts. One study suggests that “doodling is a motor act, and when occurring under conditions such as impatience, boredom, and indecision, it seems to alleviate those conditions. This effect recalls other stress-alleviating motor activities such as fidgeting, scratching, and fiddling with different objects”[4].

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    Therefore, doodling can help you tune out information that is stressful, and it may also improve memory. According to Sunni Brown, author of the book, The Doodle Revolution, doodling can affect how we process information and solve problems. It can actually help us retain more information than if we just listen.

    Doodling is also just fun, as it helps us tap into our inner child, and most of us won’t be able to resist smiling as we’re doodling away. Give this mood booster a try next time you’re bored or lacking focus.

    3. Sing out Loud

    Karen Carpenter was onto something when she told us to Sing out loud, sing out strong! One study on cancer patients showed that singing effectively reduced stress and cortisol levels and improved overall mood[5].

    It’s impossible to ignore how good you feel after belting out your favorite song. Of course, if you’re looking for a mood booster, try picking an upbeat song, one that makes you feel good every time you hear it.

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    4. Write a Gratitude List

    Gratitude is a great way to make yourself feel good, and it only takes a minute or two. In a study comparing gratitude, hope, optimism, and life satisfaction, “gratitude was determined as the most predictive variable for well-being”[6].

    If you’re able to develop a daily gratitude practice, it will do wonders for your overall mood and stress levels. This form of mood boosting can even help reduce overall rates of depression. However, even just taking a minute to write down 3-5 things that you’re grateful for can help you turn a bad day around. Use this mood booster any time you’re feeling down or hopeless.

    5. Jump

    Have you ever seen someone who is so angry that they start pounding their feet or even jumping up and down to make their point? Jumping can be a great stress-reliever and mood booster.

    Jumping jacks, specifically, increase circulation and pump out endorphins, which will get you feeling good in no time. Furthermore, they increases bone density and oxygen intake, which helps you focus. Jump long enough and you get a cardio workout.

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    However, if you don’t like jumping jacks or have an injury that makes it impossible, any physical activity will help you get a quick shot of endorphins and act as a mood booster. Choose your favorite exercise and do it as intensely as possible during a few free minutes.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few quick and easy mood boosters, some you can do discreetly in a group and others that are louder and more active. Next time life is getting you down, choose to take action and help yourself feel happier. You don’t need a lot of money or vacation time, a minute or less will usually do the trick!

    More Tips on Increasing Happiness

    Featured photo credit: Fabien via flickr.com

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    Tara Reed

    Tara is the founder of Pivot To Happy, a site with resources for families dealing with a dementia or Alzheimer's diagnosis.

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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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