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Intuition: 10 Tips For Greater Awareness

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Intuition: 10 Tips For Greater Awareness

The word “intuition” comes from the Latin word “intueri,” which roughly translates as “to look inside.” In simple terms, intuition is that gut feeling that something is either right or wrong. It often comes through as a feeling, an emotion, or a thought. For some, it can even be a voice that repeats itself over and over again inside your head, eventually becoming too loud to ignore.

Intuition is a really interesting form of intelligence that goes way beyond the rational mind. It often resonates from deep within and tends to give us answers and direction that extend far beyond any voice of reason. It is more of a subconscious process of receiving information that will help us to solve problems, make life choices, and guide us to either proceed or back away from certain situations.

Intuition is like an internal compass. If you access it and learn to interpret it correctly, it will open up pathways to an amazing life. It can also give you the answers to any challenges that may arise on a daily basis. The problem many people face is knowing how to interpret and trust what they hear and feel. The rational mind can be working totally against what your intuition is telling you and that is where the challenge lies for so many.

Albert Einstein once said “The intuitive gift is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

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When you listen to your intuition and trust it completely, it will rarely lead you astray. The following 10 tips can help you to develop and trust your intuition.

1. Get to know that gut feeling

Developing your intuition is different for everyone. We all feel and interpret things differently, so it is important to recognize how your intuition communicates with you. This can occur in several ways:

  • A deep feeling right in the pit of your stomach that can either be light or heavy depending on the circumstances you face.
  • A voice that you hear in your mind that repeats the same statement over and over again.
  • A powerful thought that pops into your head, so strong you cannot ignore it.
  • A sensation in your body, perhaps a tingle, that happens when you are focussed on a certain situation.

Pay attention to the signs and signals that you are receiving in your body and your mind. Get familiar with the sensations you are experiencing, especially when you meet someone new or are faced with a challenge. Identify the feelings you have and honour them.

You will start to notice a regular pattern when you learn to listen and feel the sensations you are experiencing. You will soon be able to interpret them as messages that will guide you.

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2. Ask the questions you need answered

If you are faced with a challenge and need direction, put your hand on your heart, ask for guidance in the form of a question, and then listen for the answer. It will usually come in a resounding YES or a NO. If you don’t hear the answer instantly, wait for the answer to unfold.

3. Develop your intuition

We all have intuition. Some of us come into the world with the ability to hear, feel, and see without a shadow of any doubt, and then some people come into the world and their intuition requires awakening and developing. If you need to develop your intuition, set aside time every day to work on techniques that will open and strengthen it. From meditating to focussing on breathing techniques to recording your feelings in a journal, just like any muscle, you must do the work to strengthen it.

4. Don’t doubt it

In order to allow your intuition to guide you, you must develop complete trust and faith in the way it communicates with you. For example, when a thought or feeling comes through to you and it is strong and resounding, trust it instantly. If your inner voice is trying to communicate with you and is making itself heard, you should really pay attention.

5. Work with your dreams

We often get messages in our dreams and it is important to learn to interpret them. We can connect our outer world and our inner world this way, so pay attention to your dreams.

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Create a dream journal. Place it by your bed so you can record your dreams when you wake. When you get into bed at night, get into a meditative state by doing some deep breathing. When you are calm and relaxed, repeat: “I want to observe my dreams.” When you wake up in the morning, stay silent for at least five minutes so you can begin to recall the images and the stories you have witnessed during your sleep state. Record them in your dream journal. This is a perfect way to unlock all sorts of valuable insights into your feelings, your life, and your future.

6. Be silent

Learn to become silent and still. Intuition comes from deep within your heart and soul, so if you have any overwhelming struggles and anxieties, in order to feel and hear your intuition, you need to deal with your own issues first. Stress and anxiety can drown out your inner voice and it can overwhelm you. Clear out anything that doesn’t serve and support you.

7. Read more

Invest your time in reading and learning more about how to develop your intuition. There are so many great books written by incredibly intuitive writers, and their wisdom and practices can open you up to a whole new world of seeing, feeling, and believing.

8. Become aware

One of the biggest challenges can be the decision to act on your intuition. It is important to understand that these windows of opportunity presented to you don’t stay open forever. They can open up in a heartbeat and they can close just as quickly, so you need to listen and act so you don’t miss out.

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9. Meditate

The more you meditate, the more open you will become to receiving guidance from your intuition. Meditation clears and quiets the mind and opens up a beautiful clear channel for you to receive internal guidance.

10. Connect the mind, body, and spirit

It is important for our bodies to be in alignment so we can hear, feel, and trust our intuition. It is vital to invest time and energy into our mental, spiritual, and physical wellness every day. The mind, body, and spirit are all connected, so we must keep them in a state of constant and continuous flow.

Your intuition is a powerful gift. Develop it and trust in it completely. You are equipped with all the answers and the knowledge that you will ever need to ensure you experience a happy and positive life. Always look inside to find the truth.

Featured photo credit: Akshay Moon via flickr.com

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More by this author

Jo Ettles

Jo Ettles is a published self help author, international writer, speaker and extremely gifted intuitive life coach.

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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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