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7 Inspiring TED Talks That’ll Help You Get Through Difficult Times

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7 Inspiring TED Talks That’ll Help You Get Through Difficult Times

Are you facing adversities and in need of positive messages to help you get through difficult days? All of us have to deal with feelings of failure, loneliness, and blah-ness. Sometimes we lack focus, calmness or positivity.

I’m excited to pass on the following 7 TED Talk videos that are both comforting and inspiring. TED Talks motivate the viewer to take action to make a change in their lives.

During difficult times, we might feel confused and unclear about how to move ahead. Taking a time out for some Ted Talks is a positive step forward.

Try one of the following and be inspired today!

1. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you could benefit from using this “10 Minutes a Day” technique.

This is a great 10-minute video from Andy Puddicombe explaining the necessity for keeping the mind healthy. His positive technique involves doing absolutely nothing for 10 minutes each day. Simple, eh?

The benefits are huge. You’ll experience a greater sense of calmness in your life, particularly if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

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Andy contrasts his positive technique with the negative ways people often handle being overwhelmed. These include burying yourself in work or taking medication.

You can’t change every little thing that happens to you in life.  However, after listening to Andy, you’ll know how to change the way you handle life’s experiences.

2. If you’re feeling like a failure, you might be ready to learn this important key to success.

In this 6 minute video, Angela Duckworth explains her view that the key to success isn’t necessarily being smart. Her message, backed by her own research, focuses on having grit. That’s her key ingredient for success.

Angela suggests that it’s okay to fail or to be wrong. Failure isn’t a permanent situation. Simply start over again—but this time, be gritty.

3. If you’re feeling alone, you could try clarifying what is most meaningful in your life.

Candy Chang gives a brief talk about what life meant to her after she lost someone she loved dearly. She realized she wasn’t alone when she conducted an experiment. She asked many people the question, “Before I die I want to … ” and received some thought-provoking answers.

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Have you thought about what is most meaningful in your life? Just refuse to let day-to-day pressure dominate your life. You’ll find you have time for friendship and community involvement. That lonely feeling will be lessened.

Be inspired by Candy’s account of her creative community activity. It’s a video of reflection and contemplation and how thinking about death clarifies life.

4. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, you’ll probably enjoy following this 30-Day Challenge technique.

In this TED talk, Matt Cutts details his special technique—the 30 Day Challenge—guaranteed to move anyone out of the rut they’re in. Matt challenges you to make small, sustainable changes to your life. You’ll build self-confidence through achieving the changes you make.

Follow Matt’s ideas to make your moments more memorable. It’s true, as Matt says, that if you really want something badly enough, 30 days gives a reasonable time frame within which to accomplish your goal. It would, don’t you agree?

Well, take on Matt’s challenge and move ahead from today. This 3 minute video should bring lots of positive results with it. Well, what are you waiting for?

5. If you’re feeling stressed, you might find the key you’ve been looking for to unlock your feelings.

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In this 10 minute video, Tara Igoe shares how she found her way back from the darkest period of her life. She views stress as a trigger to start thinking deeply about our feelings, so we understand them more.

Follow Tara’s steps to unlocking your feelings and free yourself from the grip of stress.

Do you always experience stress and anxiety as negative situations? Instead, find freedom by viewing these feelings as opportunities for transformation.

You’ll find this video enlightening as it brings a different angle to coping with stress.

6. If you’re feeling negative, you can focus on the good things in your life to bring that smile back.

Alison Ledgerwood gives a thought-provoking talk about changing from a negative to a positive frame of mind. She admits that making such a change isn’t easy.

Why does failure stick in our minds longer than success? Alison answers this question and others.

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What can you take away from this talk? You’ll leave being more aware of why negatives tend to stick in the mind. With this knowledge, you can use Alison’s quick way of changing negative feelings into happy ones.

Adopt this simple idea that will make you smile.

7. If you’re feeling blah, you can lift your spirits quickly by marveling at the music created by this young violinist.

Are you feeling blah or very ordinary about your life just now? Let Sirena Huang, a brilliant 11-year-old violinist, work her magic on you.

This is a feel-good TED Talk. You’ll relax as you marvel at her performance. It’s obvious that Sirena loves playing her instrument. You’ve probably heard the saying that music is food for the soul. Well, prepare yourself for the beauty of the music that this young person creates to feed your soul.

You’ll be amazed at how uplifted you’ll feel.

If you’re facing adversities, I hope you’ve found comfort and inspiration from viewing the above TED Talk videos. They contain many actionable ideas that can lift you up from even your darkest moments. So try some of these to put a smile back on your face. Hopefully they’ll transform your pain into purpose.

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Featured photo credit: Andy Puddicombe All it takes is 10 mindful minutes via tedcdnpi-a.akamaihd.net

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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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