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How Vlogging Can Improve Your Mental Health

How Vlogging Can Improve Your Mental Health
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Mental illness is, unfortunately, seen as a topic no one is willing to talk about. Even in the 21st century, people still run away from it. Because of this, those who are suffering are afraid to share their problems openly. They fear being mocked and judged, so they keep carrying the burden alone, isolated, which only furthers the illness.

However uncomfortable it might be at times, getting things off your chest can be really helpful. Additionally, spreading the word about what it is really like and the possible dangers will help to destigmatize mental illnesses. Basically, the more people who are aware, the better the chances of finding help and adequate support.

Vlogging is a viable tool for discussing and coping with mental illness

Involving a great number of people is key in order to fight misconceptions about depression, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), schizophrenia, or any other mental illness. What these misconceptions do is destroy people’s willingness to seek help, as well as their belief that there is any help available at all.

It’s important to get people to understand that mental health is something a significant portion of the population has problems with, and that it is something that has to be talked about, understood, and treated appropriately.

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Vlogging can actually help you improve your mental health, cope with all the related issues, and even help others to live happier lives, and there are people who are already vlogging about this with great success. Here are some of the benefits of vlogging on this topic and a few tips on how to get started.

Speaking about your problems makes it easier to deal with them

Opening up to anyone, or the whole world if you are a vlogger, can be a huge help. By saying some things out loud, you begin to actually deal with them. When you say something, you acknowledge its existence. Also, you start crystallizing your thoughts, which enables you to make the first step towards getting better.

Through vlogging, you not only make it possible for yourself to heal, but you also become an inspiration for others. For instance, if you speak up about self-harm or depression, others suffering the same way will understand you and know that they are not alone in this. Perhaps it will encourage them to seek help or to start openly talking about it and expressing themselves in a creative manner. You can get some things off your chest, and offer a helping hand to someone in need.

You will build a community of people with similar problems and a strong support group

People that would watch your vlog would most likely be others struggling with mental health issues. Whether it is to support you or to try and help themselves, they would be there for you. And, as more and more viewers come along, you will build a strong community with them.

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For example, you will communicate with them through your videos, comments, or perhaps build an even deeper relationship by meeting up in real life. The last option could result in a support group with regularly scheduled meetings. If you are feeling really ambitious, you could start an official organisation that would deal with mental health issues.

Spreading awareness and helping others will give you a sense of purpose

Once you make an improvement within yourself, you will feel a lot better and a lot healthier. Helping people around you will give you a sense of usefulness and purpose. This purpose will bring you further into the world of vlogging. In a way, you will become a spokesperson for mental health. This will make you fight harder and try to get your life together.

And, the more you try, the better you will become at it. Spreading awareness by actually talking about an issue, dispelling myths, and teaching people how to cope is immeasurably more helpful than wearing a bracelet or sharing an image on Facebook.

If you are indeed serious about this, and willing to try it, there are some actionable steps you need to take. They can be both easy and hard at times; the key here is to never give up, to never stop. Continuing with your project when you are feeling as if nothing is going your way is crucial. Even when criticism comes, you should fight it and keep doing what you love.

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Here are some of the steps you will need to take.

1. Get started on YouTube

Getting started as a vlogger is super easy. You just need the right equipment — a decent DSLR camera, mic, a basic lighting setup, and a YouTube channel. Also, think of a plan. How many times do you want to vlog and what do you want to say exactly? More importantly, choose a good name for your channel and keep it up to date. Lastly, when you post a video, share it on other social media platforms to get the word out. Promotion is very important if you want to be heard and known.

2. Turn streams of consciousness into coherent scripts

If you want to have a good-quality program, you should think of daily tasks. Having a daily theme would be a nice way to start. Perhaps you could have daily or weekly diary entries on your vlog. Moreover, you could answer questions from your followers at the end of each video. Having a quality script will attract viewers. You should also be talking about relevant things, such as how you coped with your personal mental health issues and how you overcame your problems.

3. Engage your audience

As mentioned, engaging your audience through a question and answer segment is the best way to do it. You can have them ask questions or even share their experiences. You can also answer them directly in the comment section, which is more immediate and a lot easier. Additionally, you can request topics to talk about. This way, you address your audience’s needs.

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4. Deal with criticism and trolls

When you are in the public eye, especially as an Internet personality, you will constantly be under scrutiny. Unknown people will criticise you, both in good and bad ways. Even worse, as you reach more people, the infamous internet trolls will flood your comment section.

Unfortunately, their words can be hurtful and mean, but you should not let them get to you and bring your spirit down. If you decide to answer them, you should do it in a specific way. It is crucial that you do not answer in a hateful way. You should be humours and calm. Try to write something funny or even sarcastic. Of course, a great tactic is to simply ignore them and ban people who are being abusive. They will go away eventually.

Not everyone has the courage to openly discuss mental health, but the worst thing you can do is to keep your feelings bottled up and let them eat away at you. We are social beings and we need to talk to others about our problems. Not only does this help us cope, but it also provides others in a similar position with some valuable insight and teaches those who don’t have these problems about what it’s really like.

Vlogging is a great outlet, a great way to build a community and share experiences, and a great way to spread awareness about a topic that very few people actually understand or are ready to openly talk about.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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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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