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Make These 15 Small Changes If You Want To Become Happier And Healthier

Make These 15 Small Changes If You Want To Become Happier And Healthier
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So you want to be happier and healthier. If you want to make  a life change for the better there are several different ways to get you there. It’s not difficult at all once you gain an understanding of your choices and you are willing to take action.

I have no doubt that the items on this list will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

1. Volunteer to Help Others

Sometimes we forget that there are others who need our help. When we give to others we come away with a sense of satisfaction that can’t be replicated.

Think of a time you’ve been there for someone and you will remember that feeling. Make this notion of serving others part of your weekly routine. You will be providing a life change for two people – yourself and the recipient of your kindness.

On a smaller scale you could also make ‘giving compliments’ part of your daily routine – this also has a pleasing affect on your mood and it’s a nice thing to do for others.

2. Wake Up Earlier

Getting up just a half an hour earlier than you need to can help you to feel calmer, more in control and generally happier.

Staying ahead of things means your’e avoiding the rush and cutting down on stress. Practise this every day and ultimately you will be happier and healthier.

3. Spend Money on Experiences

Researchers have found that spending money on items isn’t really what makes us happy. It may please us for a short while, but really what makes us happy is to spend our money on experiences.

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So, go and book yourself  a day trip away to somewhere beautiful and cancel that order for the new laptop.

4. Laugh, Cry and Have Sex

Here are three ways to release endorphins (happy hormones) which will lift your mood in no time.

Who would have thought that crying could make you feel good. Well, it makes sense in a way as we know already that holding in tears doesn’t make us feel very good. The relief of letting it all out brings about happy emotions – so don’t hold back the next time you feel like blubbing.

We already know that sex is good for our health as it’s fantastic exercise but now that we know it’s good for our mood there’s no more excuses not to have a good romp.

5. Drink Almond Milk

Almond milk has many fantastic benefits while dairy milk can wreak havoc on the human body. Stay away from dairy and use almond milk as a replacement – your cardiovascular and skeletal system will benefit and you will also have better skin. This is definitely a small life change that will result in a healthier you.

6. Smile

Smiling releases endorphins or happy hormones which enhances mood.

If you put a pen horizontally between your teeth for a few minutes you will be forced to smile and your mood will thank you. This well researched phenomenon is an immediate fix for anyone who’s a bit in need of a lift.

A good tool to use here would be to take out an old photo album (that doesn’t contain upsetting photo’s) and flick through the pages. You will be smiling so much you’ll be feeling happy in no time.

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7. Surround Yourself with Happy Healthy Folk

Our habits and our moods rub off on one another. We are impressionable beings both on an energy and psychological level.

If we are in a group of happy people for the afternoon we will inevitably feel happy as we make our journey home. So choose your company wisely and your mood will escalate steadily.

8. Breathe Properly

People get stressed and their breathing becomes shallow – they forget how to breathe properly.

Anytime you notice your breathing speed up and become shallow, stop what your’e doing and inhale deeply – hold for a second and let it out slowly. Repeat a few times until your breathe naturally slows down on it’s own.

You will feel relaxed and renewed after this exercise. It’s good for your lungs, your digestion, your circulatory system and of course it’s great for managing stress.

9. Expose Yourself To Humour

Just as with your choice of company – be careful about what other things you are exposed to. Watch lots of good comedy on T.V, read humorous books and listen to happy music.

We each have our own taste, but Melissa McCarthy does it for me every time.

10. Write a Pot List

This is like a baby bucket list. It’s a list of the top ten small things you wanna do in the next month. It could be something simple like going sailing or something more lasting like a new tattoo or rescuing a  dog. It’s completely up to you. There are so many adventures out there big and small just waiting to be realised. Now it’s your turn to have a little fun.

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11. Change Your Sleep Routine

For about a year now, I have been going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. People compliment me and say that I look really well and I’m pretty sure it’s down to my sleep pattern.

I don’t feel tired anymore – I’ m careful to get at least eight hours sleep every night. Of course there will be exceptions to this but as a rule have your set hours for getting up and going to bed.

12. Connect with Something Bigger than Yourself

Connecting with something like a community group, religion, nature or the universe is a surefire way to invite happiness into your life.

Get involved in a spiritual group or maybe something of interest to you in the community. There is always very positive energy in activities involving music and dance.

13. Eat, Drink and be Merry

Now don’t get all excited – I mean in moderation.

Those endorphins are just so easy to manufacture – turns out we can make even more if we drink wine (a glass a day), eat dark chocolate and spicy food (yummy).

Then we have tea – gingseng makes us happy and green and white tea are particularly healthy. Green tea is a great antioxidant. It does a fantastic job of cleansing our systems and it gets to work on those calories too (nice one!).

So throw out the coffee (go on just do it!) and buy yourself a few boxes of herbal tea. You’ll feel so much better.

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14. Lift Weights

Lifting weights is all the rage now. It is thought to be the best way to get in shape and it has tremendous benefits for your posture and your muscle strength. Getting in shape makes us happy and you guessed it – healthy.

15. Be Grateful

Gratitude can be used as a tool for happiness and good health. Take some time every day to write down your messages of gratitude and see what happens. Many experts on the laws of the universe say that when you make a statement of gratitude you get more of what you are grateful for.

So if you state – “I am so grateful for my good health” – you will get more good health. I was very ill for some time and using gratitude everyday was a very big help to me.

Happiness and good health are intertwined – you get one then you have the other within your reach.

Taking action on even one or two of the above could have a dramatic effect on your life – so why not have a try and see how you get on. The effects of each change will be a reward in itself and you will build momentum as you work your way through the list.

Whatever you do – don’t forget to smile.

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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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