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15 Ways You Can Adopt To Make Kindness Your Habit.

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15 Ways You Can Adopt To Make Kindness Your Habit.

Kindness is not just a habit for priests and other do-gooders. It’s a habit for all of us. Medical science has proved that being kind alters our body chemistry and brings all sorts of benefits, including improving our mood, lowering our blood pressure and increasing our positive thinking.

Acts of kindness boost production of serotonin, a natural antidepressant in the brain, for the giver, the receiver and those who witness the kind acts. Kindness is such a beautiful thing. Reports actually show being kind not only improves your happiness, but also extends your life span.

To be a better, happier person, you need to be kind every day, all the time. That includes being kind to both those you like and those you dislike or disagree with. If you are unkind to others, it tends to cause more harm to you than to the person you are performing unkind acts to.

The problem with being unkind

Thing is, being unkind fosters negative thoughts. It increases fatigue and raises your blood pressure. You lose sleep and become distracted from important and enjoyable activities, which ultimately impairs the quality of your personal and professional life. Moreover, being unkind makes you feel bad and has an adverse impact on your health. It is simply wasted energy.

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So, be kind. Make the commitment to act kindly, speak kindly and live kindly. You’ll be happier for it, as will those around you. One way or another, acts of kindness always come back to you. Besides, there are so many delightful ways to show kindness and make it a part of your daily life.

Here are some ways to make kindness your habit:

1. Smile a lot.

Smiles are contagious. They lift the spirits of people around you. Extra points if you can smile and have a cordial conversation with a homeless person.

2. Say “Good morning.”

A simple good morning accompanied with a pleasant smile creates an instant connection. Even if you don’t know someone, saying “Good morning” is a common courtesy. It shows you recognize their presence and acknowledge they are a person too, important enough for you to say hello to.

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3. Spend quality time with loved ones.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race and fail to realize you are not spending as much time as you’d like with family and friends. Take time every week – no matter how busy you are – to spend with your loved ones, and tell your family members how much you appreciate them every day.

4. Sacrifice, even in a small way.

Share your lunch with a homeless person, buy groceries for someone in line with you at the supermarket or just help an elderly neighbor carry the rubbish out. These small acts of kindness make someone else’s day.

5. Be generous with compliments.

Compliment and say genuinely nice things to people. Even a small comment in passing can uplift someone, and make you feel better about yourself.

6. Mentor a child or teen.

Someone observed encouraged people achieve the best; dominated people achieve second best; neglected people achieve the least. This is especially true when it comes to an at risk child. Don’t let children go neglected and or dominated. Became a mentor and encourage them to achieve their best.

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7. Give the benefit of the doubt

Lawyers insist people are innocent until proven guilty. Make this the default rule in your life. Don’t be quick to judge and condemn others. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t you also want others to give you the benefit of the doubt and not judge you too quickly?

8. Forgive others.

We all make mistakes. No one is perfect or blameless. So, extend grace to those who have wronged you. You will need the same grace extended to you in the future.

9. Pat someone on the back.

A pat on the back can be a way to say “hello” to a friend, a way to congratulate someone for an achievement or a way to comfort someone who’s had a bad experience. It’s a beautiful gesture that lets others know you care. People thrive on such physical contact. Consider giving free hugs, too.

10. Be patient and polite on the road.

When a driver needs to make a turn, change lanes or merge into your lane, let them through with a wave and a smile. And if another driver makes you angry, let it go instead of retaliating. Letting go can make a big difference.

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11. Thank your employees.

Nothing shows good leadership, great communication skills and depth of character quite like a boss who is not afraid or shy of saying thank you to his employees. Bring your assistant coffee. It shows deep appreciation and can go a long way in strengthening your work relationship.

12. Bring your coworkers a special treat.

Similarly, show appreciation to your coworkers. Bring those donuts, cookies or a homemade treat. Small surprises and tokens of appreciation spread good cheer in the workplace and build comradeship.

13. Let someone go in front of you.

Many times we encounter a situation where we are required to wait in line. Whether it is at the bank, in the supermarket or at the airport, waiting in line can be frustrating, tedious and irritating. Ease that tension by letting someone go in front of you. It helps make someone’s day a little better.

14. Offer the handyman a drink or snack.

We’ve all had to call a handyman to help us out with things like a leaky faucet that needs fixing, a furnace that needs replacing or a lawn that needs mowing. Offer them a drink or snack. Don’t forget the delivery person. Give a fruit and let them know you appreciate the work they are doing for you.

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15. Embrace your own mistakes.

Love and be kind to yourself too. Accept that you are human and will make mistakes sometimes. Instead of being hard on yourself for making a mistake, ask yourself what you can learn from it. Make amends where applicable and move forward. It won’t help anyone to dwell on mistakes and feel guilty about them. As John Powell rightly said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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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