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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

10 Simple Steps to Let Go of the Past

10 Simple Steps to Let Go of the Past

Time flies and the past is behind us now. With the times that we’ve left behind, there are several trials and tribulations we go through in life; we learn from our mistakes and move on. However, there are moments we’ve had in the past that we just can’t let go of. We’re brought down, made emotional and we cry thinking about things that should never have happened to us.

But, it’s not the past that defines us. As psychologist Carl Jung says:

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”

We all choose to become what we desire and want and we should not regret about the things that did not go well in the past as they only make our shoulders heavy and hold us back from a cheerful life.

So how to let go of the past? Here’re 10 steps to try.

1. Recognize That It’s Time to Move On

The hardest part of letting go of the past is trying to make decisions to move on.

Yes, it’s pretty hard to make new choices that can overcome our misdeeds in life but you should always remember that you have a future to share.

You’ve already paid for the past and if that’s not working out for you, you need to recognize that it’s time to move on.

These signs will tell you that it’s time to move on: It’s Time To Let Go And Move On When You Experience These 21 Things

2. Make a List of Things You Can “Re-Do”

Life does not give you a second chance all the time. But, what you can do is make a list of things that you would have done differently if you could go back in time and do it again.

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Making such list will help you to learn from your mistakes while also giving ideas on what things should have been done right. You also develop a skill to plan things and this will surely help you shape your future goals in life.

3. Believe in Yourself

Pain and suffering are parts of everyone’s life and if you believe in yourself, you’ll overcome the grief sooner than everyone else. All you need to do is make sure you know what you are doing and it’ll not let you hold back in forgetting your past.

When you start believing yourself, you develop a positive vibe around you and these feelings you gain will help to overshadow the mistakes and bad memories that haunt you.

4. Meditate

If you’re frustrated and depressed because of things that happened in the past and nothing worked to change your feelings towards it, you need to start meditating.

Find stillness, remain calm and take long breathes. With meditation, you get to keep yourself away from the busy and fast paced noisy world. You keep yourself away from distractions and make yourself at ease with meditation.

Try out this 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

5. Live in the Present

If you don’t enjoy the life that you are living, you future is certainly going to be dark. You should have no regrets that eat up your thinking and you need to live in present. What’s done is done and there’s no going back.

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Go on a hike with your friends or dance, sing and do what ever you love to do. It’s make you lively and energize you to focus on things that you need to accomplish right now.

Here’s How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying.

6. Forget the Fear

If you’ve ever failed in the past, chances are it’s developed a sense of fear in you. If you can’t overcome the fear of your failing and wrong-doing, you’ll get tensed and things won’t work out smoothly.

Become a challenger and forget the fear. Think about things that you’re afraid to do and try to perform them, one at a time and overcome the fear. If it’s still difficult, find someone you believe to help you overcome your fear.

Learn How to Overcome Fear and Realize Your Potential (The Ultimate Guide).

7. Don’t Forget Your Morals and Values

If you’re to perform better in life, you need to stick to your morals and values. There’s no denying that the bad events in life develop a feeling of change in us and changes are not good every time.

Stick to your beliefs and morals to develop a self-esteem and pride. This plays a huge role in order to develop a positive attitude towards your life.

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8. Forgive

Mistakes happen but holding back and remembering the same thing again and again will do nothing good to anyone.

If you’ve made mistakes, apologize, console and forgive yourself. If it’s your close ones who’ve hurt you in the past and you just can’t let go of it, acknowledge the fact that they are the one’s you trusted back. You need to learn to forgive and move on to find happiness.

Take a look at these tips to help yourself: How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

9. Let Go of Anger and Resentment

Anger and resentment are toxic. These feelings will keep you enmeshed in the past. They will bring you down to the ground and hurt you more.

Letting go of anger will help you to develop positive attitude and you might want to punch on the wall or a pillow, or scream; do it. Vent your anger and frustration. It might take time, but after you leave anger and resentment, you’ll start feeling fresh.

Find out how you can let go of your resentment in this article: How to Let Go of Resentment and Anger

10. Realize That You Did What You Could Do Best

Perceptions shape our feelings and actions. The way you respond to what you did in your past will help you decide on your present and future.

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If you’ve a feeling of guilt or remorse at things you could have done better, realize that you did what you could do best at that moment. If you acknowledge the fact, you’ll also learn that your effort was never intended to go in vain. This will keep you motivated to improve and thrive for the better in the future.

More Tips About Letting Go

Featured photo credit: Spencer Backman via unsplash.com

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Grishma Giri

Grishma Giri is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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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)

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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