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12 Little Habits That Steal Your Happiness Away (When You Aren’t Aware)

12 Little Habits That Steal Your Happiness Away (When You Aren’t Aware)
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We all want to be happy at least most of the time, but, unfortunately, that’s not the case, and we end up searching aimlessly to find happiness, and it always seem to eludes us.

We are all creatures of habit, and often we get stuck in a rut because we refuse to make the necessary changes to our lives that will bring us the happiness we yearn for.

Not all our habits are bad, but sometimes we need to look at the things we do continuously and decide whether we need to make some adjustments if they don’t yield the results we need.

Unfortunately, as humans beings we tend not to want to change, and so we fight tooth and nail not to do this.

We suffer the same headaches and frustration time and time again and never do anything about the issues that are causing us such unhappiness.

Remember if you continuously do the same things over and over again not only will you get the same results but you will become the things you do.

So, if those habits aren’t helping you they are hurting you, and you need to change now to avoid being the same way for a very long time.

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Some of the many reasons you are unhappy are that you:

Hold on to what you know and refuse to budge

Life is about living and learning. When you stop learning, you stop growing and thriving; hence you won’t  be living a fulfilled life. You have to be prepared to venture out of your comfort zone into unfamiliar territory to truly grow and become who you were meant to be.

You need to be challenged and tested because only when you face challenges will you grow and become better. Remaining in one position will only keep you stuck. Being stagnant is not progressing.

Find ways to challenge yourself and do not be afraid of being pushed. Push back when pushed but do not accept the normal as progress. You must hold fast to your core values while you search for your purpose in life.

Keep resisting life and its changes

There is nothing more painful than when you try to resist life and the changes it brings. Change is never without pain and discomfort. There is nothing more painful than remaining where you are for the rest of your life.

Whether you want to change or not you are in fact changing every day. Look back at your life and see the many changes that have taken place, some positive and others negative. That is life, and you must accept it and work with it as it comes instead of fighting to remain stuck.

Allowing other people to decide what is possible for you

Close your ears to all the discouragement and negativity from people who do not know or care about the real you. You know yourself, and the plans you have for your life so do not allow them to use words to discourage you.

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Most of the time they are only telling you what they think and want for themselves so close your ears and forge ahead. Choose to do things your way and if you mess up, you’ll know at least that you did it your way.

Focusing on others and not your own life

You could spend your entire life focusing on others while they build their lives and enjoy it, and neglect yours, or you could choose to use your time to build your life. Do not sit around and admire the success of others while your dreams fall apart.

Be happy for them but put the focus on building a life for yourself. Do not allow others to use you to build their dreams and life either.  Cut a path for yourself and chart it. Do not be burdened down with other people’s load.

Focusing too much on your problems

You need to change the way you view difficulties in your life. The challenges you face most times aren’t the real problem: it’s how they are perceived. Change your attitude towards the difficulties you encounter.

See them as nothing more than minor infractions in your life; keep maintaining a positive attitude and you will be fine. You have the power to control your mind and how you view things. Use this to help you to keep your mind away from your problems and focus more on your goals. Let go of the stress by letting go of the problems.

Focusing on being right all the time

When you are focused on being right all the time, you are losing valuable insight into things. Not only are you destroying some great relationships but you are allowing your pride to sabotage your future.

Sometimes you have to choose to be wrong even though you aren’t to maintain and keep an important relationship. You must become confident enough to accept when you are wrong, and even when you are right; sometimes, you must be willing to back down.

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Holding on to someone who is pulling away from you

It is important to build a great relationship, but you need to make sure the persons or person with whom you are building that relationship are offering you the same in return. It doesn’t make sense for you to be forcing yourself to maintain a relationship with someone who doesn’t want a relationship with you. Do not waste your time trying to prove to them how wonderful you are. If they can’t see it, then that’s their bad luck. Use your time and energy to build yourself up and find someone who will treat you right.

Loving others more than you love yourself

It is fine to love others, but you must remember if you do not invest into yourself no one else will. It is alright to give to others, but you need to be giving to yourself as well. There is nothing wrong with loving yourself and taking the time make sure you are being taken care of.

You won’t be able to take care of others if you aren’t well. The only way you can do that and give them your best is if you give yourself the best as well. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty for loving yourself and who you are. You can only be happy if you are happy with yourself.

Being too self-absorbed

You cannot spend your life focusing on you and not take some time to lend a helping hand to someone else. Being kind is what will help to make you happy. Giving to someone who needs it is what is going to make you smile on a bleak day. Being kind is what will make you feel as though you are contributing to human lives.

Expecting that people will always like you

You have to understand that not everyone is going to like you and want to be around you. People aren’t going to be nice to you all the time, and you must accept that and move on. Do not waste your time trying to convince them to love you. Accept the love from people who want to show it to you and forget the others.

Refusing to let go of the past

Letting go of hurt and pain is necessary for you to be happy. You cannot be holding on to things that you no longer have control over while trying to build something new. You must be willing to let bygones be bygones and leave them where they are. They are in the past for a reason; they should no longer be part of your life. Stop picking back up old pain and burdens that have weighed you down for so long. Rid yourself of them and move one.

Waiting for the right time to be happy

Happiness is not an event; nor do you have to achieve any specific goals to be happy. You must be happy where you are while working to get where you want to go. You should not be waiting around for some great accomplishment before you can be happy.

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If you can’t be happy with little, you will not be able to be happy with much either. Choose to be happy now while working on achieving the goals you set for your life.

Life is filled with ups and downs, and you must be prepared to adjust to make your life as happy as possible and that includes making some changes. Even though you might not want to do so, you must realize that the temporary discomfort is good for you in the long run.

Accept these changes in your life and you will see the results you have always wanted.

What are some of the changes you have made in your life that have served you well?

Featured photo credit: Giedriusok via shutterstock.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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