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15 Science-Backed Ways To Cheer Yourself Up

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15 Science-Backed Ways To Cheer Yourself Up

It’s always useful to know how to cheer up, since the older we get the more stressed out we become. There are numerous reasons why we experience inner turmoil and start to feel a bit depressed. It can be a mid-life crisis, anxiety, stress at work, or even overthinking things that brings us down, but too much negativity is never good for one’s wellbeing, which is why the following techniques can come in handy.

1. Take some time off

If you are stressed out due to the nature of your work, it goes without saying that you should take some time off or ask for sick leave. Our jobs are daily doses of stress, and even though we are really resilient, pushing your limits won’t do you any good. The brain is like a muscle, it needs time to heal in order to be fully functional again.

So, by taking some time off, you lessen the strain on the stress neurotransmitters in your brain, allowing it to rejuvenate. If you nurture your brain properly, you’ll be far more productive and a lot less pressured.

2. Start to exercise

When you are angry, a good workout is great for blowing off some steam, but if you are generally running low on energy, then you should start exercising regularly and make it a new healthy habit. It’s good for your health, thus it directly affects your mood. You’ll be in shape and have more confidence, and you’ll have more energy, thereby feeling less mentally exhausted in general.

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3. Get up and start cleaning

Much like exercise, constantly maintaining good hygiene in your home is a healthy habit. First of all, when everything is in order and neatly organized, you get to experience a sense of achievement, which will always cheer you up. Second, if you live in a place with a nice scent, and filled with fresh air, you will feel good. If the space you are living in is cramped up, with all sorts of items lying around, the air cannot circulate as it is supposed to, and there is a chance of foul odors emerging over time.

4. Get a little shut eye

Not getting enough sleep is often a major source of unhappiness. As mentioned earlier, when we are awake and constantly thinking about problems, our stress neurotransmitters are more active. Their activity is significantly reduced during sleep, allowing us to heal. You know what they say: when you can’t make the right decision, sleep on it.

5. Plan your vacation

We all love to go on vacations, but unfortunately, we usually feel sad once our vacation is over. However, it was proven that planning your vacation and daydreaming about the various locations you are going to visit can have a positive impact on your health. The study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, revealed how planning and anticipating a vacation can boost one’s happiness for eight weeks.

6. Spend time with your friends

Spending time with your friends is a great way to cheer up, mainly because we are reminded of all the good times we had with those people. There is a tribe in Africa called Bemba (or Babemba) that has an incredible custom. Whenever someone does something wrong, the person is not punished, instead that person is placed at the center of the tribe and all of the tribe members gather around that person to tell stories.

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The stories are about all the good that the person has done so far, about all the positive traits that person possesses. This ceremony lasts for a few days and the person is embraced back into the tribe. They believe that when a person does something wrong, they need to be reminded of all their good deeds and get back on the right path. This is why you need to surround yourself with friends and be reminded of all the good times you have spent together, it will definitely cheer you up.

7. Move closer to work

Believe it or not, the mere act of commuting to work can make us unhappy, mainly because we are wasting precious time on the road. Therefore, if you want to improve your mood, you can change your location and be closer to work — this convenience will work in your favor. Of course, it may not be really easy to make happen, and you’ll need money, but the rewards are plentiful.

8. Become generous

Generosity will certainly make you feel good about yourself. You are making positive impacts and you are doing it because you want to, not because someone made you do it. If you are feeling guilty because of something, and need to reassure yourself that you are a good person, giving money or lending a helping hand to a good cause can help improve your mental state.

9. Adopt a dog

Sure, it can be somewhat troublesome to raise a dog, train them to listen to you, and teach them some tricks, but we all know that these lovely creatures are the most loyal of friends. Dogs won’t judge you, dogs won’t argue with you, they will simply be happy to see you. With a dog by your side, you’ll never be lonely. It is also worth mentioning that if you are allergic to fur, you should steer away from this suggestion.

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10. Accomplish tasks

To cheer up, you need to fill yourself with a sense of achievement. So, you can by start analyzing your situation and seeing all the minor improvements you can make in your life. These small tasks will easily motivate you to focus on something positive, and whenever you cross something off this list, you will be rewarded with a sense of achievement.

11. Try writing

Remember the time when we were kids and had diaries to write down our thoughts? Maybe this is not such a bad idea, even now. You can write journals, or even write novels — whatever helps you channel your negative feelings. Who knows, maybe it will turn out to be a good story, and maybe you’ll grow to like this new hobby. All things considered, this cannot be a bad thing.

12. Undergo self-hypnosis

Did you know that you can hypnotize yourself? It’s not the same as going to the therapist, but it has a real therapeutic effect. You can uncover what subconscious events have triggered your bad mood, and you can give yourself some constructive suggestions on how to be happier. Of course, you’ll need to be relaxed and create conditions for this to work, but it might be the self-help you need.

Here’s a more thorough guide on how to achieve self-hypnosis and help yourself overcome some of the psychological obstacles that were keeping you back.

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13. Seek catharsis

As mentioned, physical activity can be one form of catharsis for your emotions, but a good book or a movie can do the trick as well. You can also watch a sports game and yell at your team if they are playing badly, or cheer them on as they triumph — both have a positive effect on your mood. A video game can also help if you are sad or harboring some built-up rage.

14. Watch something that soothes you

Although it has not been confirmed, scientist speculate that looking at the color blue can have some positive effects on your mind. However, it was confirmed that looking at fine art or at old pictures of happy events can cheer you up. You can even look at funny pictures or memes on the internet — that usually works for me.

15. Work on your looks

Finally, if you look good, you’ll feel better. In other words, when you are down, try working on your style and looks. It will boost your confidence, bring some innovation into your life, and ultimately make you feel better. Just don’t go on a shopping rampage, because spending a lot of money will nullify these effects.

Well, there you have it, a number of (mostly) easy ways to cheer yourself up. Make sure you try some or all of them out whenever you are feeling under the weather.

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Djordje Todorovic

Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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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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