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20 Simple Ways To Fall In Love With Your Life Again

20 Simple Ways To Fall In Love With Your Life Again
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Think about the best phase of your life.  What did it look like?  What made it different?  Somewhere in the mix of life, the colors can lose their brilliance.  No worries…it happens to the most of us.  Here are 20 things you can do to add some pizzaz into your life.  Warning: these suggestions are extremely easy to implement and have the power to change your outlook!

1. Take a walk through the park

Find a nice park around you and just take a stroll.  As cliche as it sounds, it might just add a spring to your step.  Bring yourself back to the simplicity of life by walking through a non-commercialized zone.  Soak in the greenery and fill your lungs with fresh air.

2. Set a measurable goal for time of silence

This is a bit crazy…but we really do have to set apart time for silence.  The world is getting louder and louder, so we have to be intentional about giving our bodies silence daily.  Start small and ease yourself into it.  Set a timer for 15 minutes so you don’t have to think about when to stop.  Quiet your thoughts and sit or lie down in a wakeful state of silence.

3. Eat 2 more servings of vegetables than usual

We all know that we feel better when we eat well, so give your body a boost.  Pick a day of the week and add 2 more servings of vegetables than you normally would.  Don’t get too ambitious if this is not natural for you.  Stick to the extra servings just once a week.  Then, after it’s a weekly habit, you can a day at a time.

4. Eat something indulgent on purpose (guilt-free)

There’s always some part of us that wants to indulge in a sweet dessert or less-than-healthy treat.  I just ate a Key-Lime Cheesecake.  I worked hard today and gave myself a treat.  Keep it special.  Know you will only do this occasionally and enjoy the treat.

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5. Watch a comedy

Life is too serious sometimes.  Watch outrageous comedy.  Step outside your situation and watch life from the lens of a comedian.  Find the humor in the mundane.

6. Learn how to bake

Baking requires meticulous technique and whimsical imagination.  Immerse yourself in something that will work your brain in a different way and then make someone else happy with the things you’ve created.

7. Build something with your hands

Just like baking, any kind of craft made with your hands injects a very organic energy into your life.  Find a project that does not require much time or energy, preferably something you can complete in a couple hours.  There’s an innate need to create in all of us.

8. Make a list

This one is a bit more concrete and practical.  Make a list of things that make you feel stuck and see what you can eliminate.  Do this twice a year and whenever you feel stuck and stale.  Some factors are out of our control, but there are some things we can change.  So we should.

9. Call an old friend

What was the best friend era you ever had?  Call one of those friends.  Connect over the phone.  In this digital age, it is so special to actually receive a call from an old friend.  Get nostalgic and lose yourself a bit.  It might even inspire a spark in you.

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10. Forgive someone

This is so powerful.  Do you hold any grudges?  Free yourself.  That negative energy does not serve you.  Release that power and don’t worry about the other person.

11. Do something completely selfless

Focus on someone else.  When you help others, you benefit too.  Yes, you do need to make sure that you are healthy, but you don’t need to be perfect to help others.  Just a little act of selflessness can ripple many other kind acts.

12. Create a safe space

Where do you go when you feel drained, exhausted, upset, or happy?  Find a physical space in your home that will absorb all these emotions.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, just somewhere you can peel back the layers and just be.

13. Get a new Duvet Cover or Comforter

Home design shows have put a reno bug in all of us.  Unfortunately, we can’t renovate our homes every couple years.  What’s the next best thing?  Freshen up your space with things that change the landscape of your room.  Try a fresh new duvet cover, shower curtain, or towels.  A $100 solution to hold you over till the next big change.

14. Try a new food

My grocery bags look the same week after week.  I have to go out of my way to get some new flavors on my tastebuds.  Keep life interesting.  Try one new food every week.  A snack, take out, whatever you want.  Expand your palate.

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15. Watch a documentary

Get immersed in something bigger than yourself.  Find a cause or phenomenon that interests you and then binge watch about it.  You just never know what it will lead to.

16. Join a Book Club

Even if you’re not a big reader, it’s good to hear other people’s perspectives on the same work of art.  Choose a group and remember that you are not committed for life.  Just try it.

17. Clear out your closet

Cleanse the staleness out of your life starting from the 10 year old pants you never wear.  Remove unused clothing every 6 months.  Make it a habit not to purchase more hangers when you buy new clothing.  Maintain the size of your wardrobe by getting rid of something when you add an item.

18. Keep your counters clean

It’s so easy to place something on an empty countertop.  Resist the urge to clutter your space.  Make it a goal to remove any non permanent items (like mail) every day or every couple days, at the most.

19. Cut Down Your Daily Goals

Do you get overwhelmed with all you’d like to do?  Most people don’t do all they’d like to because of overwhelm paralysis.  Try this for a month.  Just focus on 1 goal for each day (other than daily tasks).  What is the one thing you can focus on today.  When you make a goal, remember to keep it measurable and specific.  Small goals will help you get to your larger goals.

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20. Smile

Often and everywhere.  Smile because there is a lot to be thankful for.  Smile because you are alive.  Smile because you can brighten another’s day.  Of course, smiling’s best friend is laughter, so laugh often, too.

What do you think?  Which one of these will you start doing this week?  If you start feeling really good about your life again, just smile.

Featured photo credit: Mitya Ku 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)

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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