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How to Improve Your Relationships With Those Surrounding You

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How to Improve Your Relationships With Those Surrounding You

A key part human existence is the ability to build meaningful relationships over the years. There will be points in your life where you encounter hardships, betrayals, or disappointments. It happens sometimes with friendships, with family, co-workers, and just about any other group. How you react to and execute decisions really has an impact on the result. It is truly about learning to channel your own emotions, feelings, perceptions, and energies to better harness the law of attraction that influences our ability to move forward.

So, how can the “law of attraction” be explained? Everything you think about on a regular basis in your mind translates to flows of energies. According to Wikipedia, the law of attraction is the name given to the maxim “like attracts like,” which in new thought philosophy is used to sum up the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. This definition is subject to objection, but the philosophy can be traced back to ancient texts and different religions (Hermeticism, New England transcendentalism, Bible and Hinduism).

The first mentions of the law of attraction in the form of what we think or wish upon the universe can be found in beginnings of human civilization. Below is a list of the thinkers, philosophers, and proponents that echoed the so-called theory:

  • “Likes tend toward likes.” — Greek Philosopher Plato
  • “We are all the ephemeral forms of a consciousness greater than ourselves.” — Philosopher V. Stenger´s paper Cosmic Mind
  • “Thought vibration or the law of attraction in the thought world.” — William Walker Atkinson
  • “…Positive thinking is a strong and consistent predictor of life satisfaction.” — Ji Young Jung Yonsei Medical Journal Paper

So, basically everything that we think about exerts an influence upon us. One of the first pillars to improving any situation — in particular, getting rid of toxic friendships or relationships — is acknowledging the problem. The other difficult task to master is not making excuses and instead taking action to remedy the problem.

How to Execute These Ten Golden Relationship Rules

Keep in mind that this recommended list is by no means definitive or tantamount to 10 commandments for relationships to work perfectly (source: UK Cupid).

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  1. Love each other.
  2. Open lines of communication.
  3. Respect for each other.
  4. Honesty is the best policy.
  5. Sacrifices.
  6. Compromising.
  7. Conflict resolution.
  8. Give space when needed.
  9. Maintain the element of surprise.
  10. Remind the other person why you chose them.

Independent of your background, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or any other factor, everything should come down to how much you love each other. This feeling or sentiment is recognized in any four corners of the globe. In addition, the lines of communication are crucial and it is better to maintain a high degree of transparency to build everlasting trust.

The third point is one of the essential, if not the most important, aspects of a relationship: respect. Without this, no relationship of any kind can really evolve in a healthy manner. By extension, honesty goes hand in hand with open lines of communication and it is better to tell the truth.

When you give up something, no matter the cost or worth, you are building a lifetime partnership. This opens a smooth transition to the step of compromising and making exchanges that satisfy both parties invested in the relationship.

Nevertheless, conflicts will occur at any point of the relationship. Conflicts sometimes show up in the early phases or at a later stage when getting to know someone. So it is best when a tense argument erupts to have each person walk away and reconvene when moods are settled down. There is nothing worse than saying fowl or mean things in the heat of the moment — you will regret it later. Think long and hard before uttering painful words at the other person.

Chances are, if you have reached item eight on the list, that it is easier from there onward. Co-existing with a lifelong partner requires a lot of work and a sense of renewing the relationship, so allow for the other person to engage in separate activities with others. This helps remove saturation and a sense of routine or boredom with each other.

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Whenever appropriate, plan beyond traditional relationship holidays like Valentine’s Day or an anniversary celebration. Sure you want to keep those days in mind, yet leave plenty of room for spontaneous events. This helps build a sense of adventure and timeliness for any relationship. Remind each other in reasonable amounts why you are with each other in the first place.

Here is a visual graphic to recap how to keep relationships fresh.

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    Five Ways to Maintain Healthy Friendships

    One of the most difficult things to do is to get rid of negative influences. We know deep down when a friend or an acquaintance brings trouble or drama into our lives. Sometimes, we have to clean out our closets to have a fresh start.

    Remember when trying to make new friends or maintain existing ones you must accept that not all friendships will be perfect or perhaps even last. People come and go, so nothing is permanent in this life. It is cruel to say, but if you look at the big picture, you will realize which people make a difference in your life.

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    Here are five helpful tips asserted by Psychology Today to maintain long-term friendships:

    1. Be honest.
    2. Repair misattunements.
    3. Make time and who appreciation.
    4. Alter your expectations and do not make assumptions
    5. Choose compassion over cynicism.

    Some of these tips overlap with the good practices of maintaining a relationship. In a nutshell, be sincere with your lifelong or best friend. If there was or is a falling out, remember we all make mistakes and we must learn to forgive.

    If you are friends with people who have existing relationships or are married, make time to meet up. Just because you have settled down does not mean your friends are forgotten forever. Agree with your partner and make time in your busy schedule to do something with your own friends so you reinforce those bonds of friendships.

    The way your friends act is beyond your control. Give up the idea of reshaping people — not everyone evolves in the same fashion you do. Appreciate who they are and how they came into your life. Last, and not the very least, give compassion a priority over cynicism. It has been show that from as young as the age of two, people come to enjoy seeing others getting help. Compassion is its own reward, and when you share this onto others, you will associate with people who share those same values and bring joy to your life.

    Takeaways and Conclusions

    When you are surrounded by healthy friendships and a stable relationship, everything comes together. When you are around likeminded people who share the same compassionate views and principles, it becomes a win-win situation for all the parties involved.

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    When a relationship is based on superficiality or some inherent material interest, things will result in failure. None of these tips for friendships or golden rules for relationships is the perfect remedy to fixing everything wrong with your surroundings. It is a guide to encourage you to reflect, to become more self-aware of your purpose, and to think about what role certain forces govern in your life. We all must come to grips with managing the good and the bad aspects on this road of life.

    Sometimes, we will come to know solitude and isolation. We all know that sinking feeling. It is really about knowing who you are, learning to be comfortable with yourself, choosing friendships and relationships carefully, and finding your calling.

    Featured photo credit: Felipe Bastos via flickr.com

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    Anthony Carranza

    Multilingual writer and journalist covering all things technology and productivity.

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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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