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Do These 10 Things Everyday To Gradually Become Mentally Stronger

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Do These 10 Things Everyday To Gradually Become Mentally Stronger

To continue to be mentally strong in today’s society is a challenge in itself. We all carry emotional scars and if they’re not healed we can inflict our insecurities, biases, frustration and pain onto others. However, everyone has the potential to heal, change and become better than they were. Although, it will take a lot of work on your part.

In order to be mentally stronger every day, there are a few things you should incorporate in your daily agenda.

1. Be thankful and show gratitude

I like to start my day off with being thankful. I wake up and I say a few word of thanks to my creator for the simple things in life. It doesn’t matter if you have a religion or not, you can still be thankful for things that you have in your life. Why wait till Thanksgiving every year to be thankful? There are so many things to be thankful for every day.

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Every day you wake up gives you a new day to start over and claim the life you desire and deserve. It’s important for you to learn to be thankful, in order for you to become mentally stronger daily. Life will deal you some hard times but in order for you to champion through it, you must learn to be thankful for the little things in life. It’s like looking at the glass and feeling that it is half full: be optimistic. Showing gratitude to others is about showing some form of appreciation. You can say your grateful but showing someone you are grateful can go a really long way. For example, why do you think it is suggested to send a thank you card after an interview? This is because as a visual element it sticks a little bit better in the mind than quick fleeting words of thanks. It doesn’t mean that the person expects something in return when they do something, sometimes it just lifts your spirits to know you are appreciated. A simple handmade card or letter with genuinely expressed gratitude, detailing why you are grateful, could make a huge impact.

2. Meditate

Yes, I know! You have probably heard about meditating a million times by now. Meditation is said to improve focus, mental clarity and reduce or eliminate stress. That is how meditation can make you mentally stronger every day. It can also give you peace, which I feel is desperately needed in today’s society. As a beginner, you will possibly notice how busy your mind is zipping about with your to-do lists, ideas, worries and more. Don’t worry, over time your mind will quite down with continued practice.

3. Exercise

Release those endorphins. That’s right! Working out is, of course, important to be mentally stronger every day. You can pick the fitness activity of your choice soccer, hiking, skating, tennis, or whatever you choose. I would encourage you to make it fun and include someone as your workout partner if you don’t prefer to exercise alone.

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4. Eat healthy

Fueling your cells with the proper energy (healthy food) is vital for being mentally stronger every day. I’m aware that some of you out there may not like fruits or vegetables. However, can you truly say you have tried every fruit or vegetable? Probably not! There are so many different types of fruits and veggies and they can be prepared in so many different ways. Every fruit and vegetable has its own unique nutritious purpose that it can provide to our bodies. I think it’s worth the effort to try to find some creative ways to cook or juice them to your desired taste. If you have a special diet where you don’t eat certain foods or drinks make sure you are not missing out on nutrition through finding other healthy sources for what you need. Whole wheat, vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, and legumes are some of the things you could incorporate into your diet.

5. Create a Healthy Environment

In order for you to be mentally stronger every day your environment needs to be a healthy one. If your environment lacks structure or organization it can affect your mental strength. You can become quite overwhelmed when your home and bedroom area lacks organization. Create an environment that relaxes you and makes you happy, and include plants for healthy filtered air inside your home. Decorate your bedroom or home with things that will make you feel relaxed, comfortable and happy when you look around.

6. Smile and Show Compassion

You never know what the power of a smile can do for someone. In life, we pass each other and never really know the burdens or struggles life is dealing others and ourselves from moment to moment. It helps to smile and show a little compassion towards others, you may need it yourself one day later in life. When you’re going through something it’s good to smile your way through it and force yourself to think of anything positive that could come from the situation. To be a mentally stronger person every day make smiling, laughter (not at someone else’s expense), joy, and compassion a part of your daily life.

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7. Take Responsibility

Take responsibility for your actions, apologize (genuinely) and move on (even if society does not). Being in denial or lying can hold you back from growing stronger mentally every day. It can also destroy relationships with business partners, friends, family, and spouses.

8. Write in a Journal Daily

Writing in a journal daily is also a way to help you become mentally stronger every day. Journal writing allows you to reflect on your activities for the day. It can include what you have experienced, your feelings, concerns or anything you wish. It could be therapeutic, sometimes we hold our feelings inside and that is not healthy. I use my journal to write daily what I am thankful for, things I achieved that day and other topics. Journals can allow you to see your development over a period of time as a person and appreciate your journey.

9. Power Off Before Bed

In today’s society, some of us are glued to our phones, computers, and other devices. Before you go to sleep you should power them off. Your bedroom should be for sleeping, but so many of us turn our beds into an office. We do this by using our laptops in our bed and taking business calls from our bed at night as well. I understand that with some professions you are always on call. However, your sleep time is precious and your body needs it in order to replenish its own power. Powering off your devices will help you be mentally stronger every day.

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10. Know Yourself and Be a Better Version of Yourself

You are not very likely to be a mentally stronger person if you live your life trying to imitate or be someone else. We are all made different and have different journeys for a reason. The sooner you discover the gifts and beauty you were created to offer the world, the more beautiful you will be to the world because you will be more confident and happy.

Plus, it is really unhealthy to live your life and model it obsessively after someone else; it may create envy and jealousy within you towards that person. So if you find yourself constantly thinking about what someone else has and what you don’t, you should evaluate why it matters so much to you. Are you possibly insecure? Everybody has problems, even the Joneses, so why would you try to keep up with them? Get to know yourself and become a better version of yourself, it will make you mentally stronger every day.

Featured photo credit: Man Celebrating Freedom In nature With Glacier/Dan cooper via imcreator.com

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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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