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20 Small Things You Can Do Every Day To Lead A Joyful Life

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20 Small Things You Can Do Every Day To Lead A Joyful Life

To be joyful is to be happy, jubilant and elated. Who doesn’t want more of that in their life! Here are 20 small things you can adopt into your everyday life that will do just that…bring you joy!

1. Eat Breakfast

Make sure to eat a healthy breakfast, as it will help you concentrate and maintain your weight. Besides breakfast, be mindful of what you are putting in your body. You get out what you put in!

2. Smile

It’s amazing what happens when you smile. In today’s busy world, many of us walk around with our heads buried in our phones. Take a break from your busy day and smile, it will naturally put you in a good mood!

3. Be Present

Be mindful by paying attention to the moment. Throughout the day, just stop what you are doing and realize what is going on around you. It’s so easy to run around in auto-pilot and fall back on our bad habits. If we can consciously take ourselves out of that state a few times a day, it makes a big difference!

4. Slow Down

We all have “so much” to do every day! The problem with being “busy” is we actually end up getting less done, and our work suffers. We like to “multi-task” which is actually counterproductive. Pick one thing at a time and do it mindfully. You will produce a better end result and experience less stress throughout the day.

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5. Drink Water

The more water you drink, the cleaner your body and mind become. Start substituting water for what you normally drink. If you drink soda, stop! You will be amazed at how much better you will feel and think!

6. Take Breaks

No matter what your day entails, make sure to take frequent breaks. A recent study shows that your brain works at a high level for about an hour and then slows for 15-20 minutes. So, work for an hour and take a 15-minute break. This will help your productivity, and your peace of mind!

7. Move

When you do take those breaks, move! If you sit at a desk all day, make sure to schedule times to get up and walk around, or at least stand up and stretch. It will help you stay energized throughout the day!

8. Write it Down

Writing things down during the day is a great way to remember things and enforce goals you are trying to accomplish. Whether it is a pen and a pad of paper, or an app on your phone, get in the habit of writing things down. You will be amazed at how much more you remember, and how organized your life becomes.

9. Listen

Start listening to people. No, really listen. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next while they are talking, cut out the chatter in your head. Just sit there and attentively listen to what the other person is saying. You will be amazed at what you learn from what is being said, as well as who is saying it.

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10. Take Action

We say we are going to do this and do that, but rarely do this or that! Pick something each day that you want to accomplish, and do it! It’s amazing how good it feels to finally start doing things you’ve been wanting to accomplish, even if they are small ones.

11. Small Wins

It can sometimes seem like we haven’t had a “win” in a long time. This can be because we often work on large goals or projects. If you don’t already, break down your larger goals and projects into smaller ones. Each time you finish your daily goal, feel good and enjoy your win. Small wins add up to big ones!

12. Me Time

You should be taking small “me times” during the course of your day. Me Time can be anything you enjoy, and is something that takes you away from the clutter of information we are bombarded with. Taking me time lowers your stress levels, and allows you to live a longer and healthier life.

13 Be Positive

This is easier said than done. Beginning your day with a positive mindset is very important. During the course of a day your mindset will be tested. If you can mindfully keep a positive mindset throughout your day, you will have a happier and more successful life.

14, Limit Worry/Anxiety

Stop worrying about what happened yesterday and what is going to happen tomorrow. Be present and think about today! There is nothing you can do about yesterday and tomorrow hasn’t happened, so enjoy today!

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15. Breathe

Yes, if we stop breathing we die…I get it. I’m talking about mindful breathing. If you start to feel anxiety or overwhelmed, stop and take a deep breath! There is also a form of breathing called “box breathing” which helps you relax and strengthens your brain.

16. Listen To A Song

This is actually a mindfulness exercise that is easy and fun. Be in your own space, relaxed, put your earbuds in and put on a random song. It works better with a song you don’t know very well. Sit or lay there for the 3-5 minutes (length of the song) with your eyes closed and just listen. Don’t think about anything but what the music brings. Listen to the different sounds and just observe the power of the music.

17. Avoid Negativity

Don’t surround yourself with negative people! Limit the amount of time and energy you spend with negative people, it will have an immediate positive effect on you.

18. Laugh

Just as smiling has a natural effect on your mood, so does laughing. As you avoid negative people, gravitate towards funny ones. Watch a funny show or movie, anything to get those endorphins pumping.

19. Plan Your Next Day

At the end of your day, sit down and write what you want to accomplish the next day. This transfers your thoughts of tomorrow and puts them down on paper. You will sleep better, as you won’t lie in bed worrying about what is going on tomorrow. When you wake up, all you have to do is look at what you have written down and follow the plan.

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20. Sleep

Make sure you are getting enough sleep. We are supposed to get 7.5 to 9 hours a night, and the average American gets 6.8. Start scheduling your sleep and start getting the correct amount. You will be amazed at how easy life becomes when you get enough rest. It has an impact on your energy, mental capacity, mood, emotional intelligence, and overall short and long term health.

So, write down what you will be doing tomorrow, get a good nights sleep, wake up, start adopting these little things into your day and begin to live a happier, more joyful life!

Featured photo credit: aaaaannnnddd JUMP…! by Grego 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)

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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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