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12 Amazing Ways We Seem To Stumble Onto Happiness

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12 Amazing Ways We Seem To Stumble Onto Happiness

What makes you happy? Not what you think makes you happy — what truly makes you happy?

I asked myself that question, and I was amazed with how hard it was to come up with an answer immediately. I had to think about it seriously.

Unfortunately, many of us think of things and people when asked what makes us happy but, in fact, they don’t. Those are the things we think make us happy. We think of answers that sound good, but aren’t actually true.

Most of us are overthinkers. We try to analyze and overthink everything. We often forget to listen to that soft inner voice. That ever-present voice that always seem to have the right answers, but yet, we seldom listen to.

That soft voice that seem to be able to block out the noise, distractions, and other nonsensical things going on around us and get to the heart of the matter.

We all want to be happy, and many of us frankly have been searching in every little crevice and corner of our life, trying to find happiness. Some of us have traveled the world over, engaging in happiness seminars, happiness camps, reading happiness blogs and books. Yet, all we find are someone’s perception of what happiness is, and we are left high and dry.

The reason we try so hard to find happiness is because somehow we believe that happiness is something we find, and so we constantly search, hoping that one day we will accidentally bump into it.

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Happiness is always around us, and all we have to do is open our hearts and minds to receive it. We cannot find happiness because it was never lost.

Below are 12 of the many ways you often stumble onto happiness.

1. You stumble onto happiness when you are overtaken with sudden joy.

You suddenly realize that this moment is all you have, and it instantly becomes precious, and for some reason you just become happy.

Something happens in your life, and it’s joyous and amazing and suddenly you realize how happy you are.

This could be the birth of a child or just meeting someone you haven’t seen in years, and all the great memories rush over you and for that moment you realize you are happy. That moment you are overcome with happiness and joy.

2. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how blessed you are.

The things you have taken for granted are brought before you, and you instantly see how much you have to be grateful for. You have taken things for granted, not realizing that there are others worst off than you. You complain about your life and in an instant things change and you realize you are blessed.

You could be walking down the street, and you see someone in need and realize that this could have been you. You then suddenly realize how blessed you are, because you have more than enough. You are overcome with happiness.

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3. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how much you are loved.

You have been with the same partner for a while and, like anything else, it becomes routine. You do the same things over and over again, and things become normal.

Then, you hear of someone getting a divorce and in that instant you are awoken by the gravity of how loved you are. At that moment, you become happy and emotional because you realize you have been happy all this time.

4. You stumble onto happiness when you realize that your children are safe from harm.

You sometimes think you haven’t been happy since your children were born. You were happy then. Here they are now — bundles of energy, and they get on your nerves and mess things up and you become tired and overworked.

Then, you take a moment just to sit and think and you realize your precious children are safe, secure and healthy, and you are overcome with happiness. You realize that you have been happy all along.

5. You stumble onto happiness when you realize you are happy with who you are.

You have struggled to find yourself and to know who you are for years. During your search, you realize that you are happy with who you are. All this time you’ve wasted trying to be someone else, and suddenly you realize that you are indeed very special. You are now happy in your skin. You were happy all along, but never knew it.

6. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how much you have to give.

You have never thought of helping or giving to any cause because you never thought you had anything to offer.

You decide to lend a helping hand to someone else and, low and below, you realize that you indeed have more to offer than you thought. You can, in fact, contribute to someone else’s life. You are happy because you now know you are more than enough.

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7. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how kind you are.

You are busy with your life, and you do things for people, not always taking the things you do seriously. Then, one day someone sends you a thank you note for being kind, and you realize for the first time in a long time that you are indeed happy because you have the power of kindness.

8. You stumble onto happiness when you realize that you are patient.

You have been impatient — running from left to right for some time and not slowing down. You become agitated with everything that gets in your way.

Then, one day you are driving down the street, and someone needs to cross. Even though you are busy and late, you decide to allow them to pass. You now realize you can be patient, and it’s a great feeling. You are happy, even if for that split second, and it feels good.

9. You stumble onto happiness when you realize you are healthy.

You take your health for granted, not paying particular attention to your body until one day you hear of someone who is very ill. You realize that you have every reason to be happy because you are in great health. You have been happy all along, but never took the time to notice.

10. You stumble onto happiness when you realize you are safe.

You watch the news, and it suddenly dawns on you that you can go to bed without fear. There aren’t bombs dropping in your neighborhood, and you take a deep breath and realize you are happy. You are happy because you feel safe.

11. You stumble onto happiness when you realize that you are lucky to have a job.

You go to work every day and go through the routine without much thought. You might even complain about the job and your boss.

You run into someone who isn’t so lucky and you realize you are happy. In spite of all that is happening with the job, you are happy. You can pay your bills, you can support yourself, and that makes you happy.

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12. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how much you have to be happy for.

You can always find something to be happy for. This list is endless, and if you take the time to look into your life, you will find so many reasons to be happy.

Many times, the simple path to being happy begins with you realizing that happiness is nothing to be found. It is a decision you make anytime you want to.

Do not allow yourself to keep stumbling into happiness. Start being happy every minute of the day, because happiness is everywhere in your life — you only have to decide that you want to be happy.

It takes nothing for you to be happy but for you to make that choice.

Featured photo credit: Mother and Children/Gagilas 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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