“I think that, for most of us, there are times in life when it all just feels like Too Much.” – Therapist, Annie Wright
Life isn’t always easy. There may be times when you stumble and struggle through the day; times when you feel like you’ve had enough. Circumstances where you feel totally overwhelmed. Occasions when you feel sad, depressed, angry or even unloved.
Sometimes, there maybe no apparent reason for these feelings. Other times, they may stem from obvious reasons such as being heartbroken, suffering from anxiety or even a mental illness. It’s okay! We are only human after all. We feel. It’s a part of who we are.
When you feel that life is tough, here are 100 ways to calm yourself, restore the inner peace and make yourself happy. It’s often the simple things in life, that make all the difference.
#1 Be Generous. Give something to a total stranger. Acts of giving make us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
#2 Sit in a coffee shop or a busy street and soak up your surroundings. You don’t have to talk to people.
#3 On the flip side, if being around people is feeling too much for you. Go home. Relax.
#4 Practice self-love. Each day remind yourself that you are a strong, beautiful person, with a lot to offer.
#5 Educate yourself: research what it is you are experiencing. Arm yourself with knowledge and the resources to tackle the problems head on.
#6 Preparation: Write the day’s to-do list the evening before.
#7 Create a dream sanctuary; surround yourself with inspirational quotes and positivity. You can use your laptop and create a folder dedicated to this.
#8 Strengths: Write down a list of 20 of your strengths. [ good communicator, empathetic etc.]
#9 Keep going forward. Keep taking small steps, no matter what. Being stagnant doesn’t serve you. Are you looking to start a business? What steps can you take each day to make that dream a reality.
#10 Walk: Walking helps clear your mind. It offers you a different perspective.
#11 Indulge. Take a day off to spend a whole day doing exactly what you want. Eat what you want. Watch series. Go wild.
#12 Cry: Release all that emotion. You will feel better.
#13 Talk: Call or meet someone in person to chat about problems.
#14 Re-visit an old hobby. If you don’t have one, create one. Paint. Read. Sculpt. Gardening.
#15 Prioritize: Decide what’s important right now. Say no to extra obligations.
#16 Alleviate pressure: Reduce expectations of yourself and others.
#17 Sleep: Get enough rest. Sleep 7-9 hours each night.
#18 Nap: Give yourself a break. Afternoon naps have been shown to increase creativity.
#19 Help: Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help; friend, colleagues or a therapist. Maybe you are struggling emotionally. Maybe you need help with launching a business. Often we get caught up in what we are doing, we forget that help is just a phone call away.
#20 Be silly: Do something that you did as a child. Don’t take life too seriously.
#21 Surround yourself with beauty: Visit an art gallery. Re-instill beauty in your life.
#22 Restore your faith in humanity: Search the internet for inspiring stories.
#23 Surround yourself with positive people who can support you.
#24 Let your hair down: A night out in town might help you blow off some steam.
#25 Meditate: Learn to calm yourself.
#26 Hydrate: Don’t forget to drink enough water.
#27 Check your self-talk. Negative self-talk does not serve you.
#28 Change your self-talk to positive self-talk.
#29 Eat: Make sure you eat healthy foods; if possible,smaller portions.
#30 Watch a silly movie: This can be a welcome distraction.
#31 When you wake up, stretch like you did when you were young.
#32 Shower: A nice warm shower makes you feel good.
#33 If you feel something is wrong physiologically, schedule a meeting with your doctor.
#34 Cuddle: whether it’s your dog, cat, friend or partner. We are human. We require touch.
#35 Intense Exercise: running or even swimming. This will increase energy levels.
#36 Journal: Develop a habit of journaling. This will help free your mind.
#37 Small steps: If you feel overwhelmed by everything, break it all up into small actionable steps.
#38 Gratitude list: Write down a list of 20 things you can be grateful for.
#39 Accomplishments: Write down a list of 20 things you have accomplished so far.Advertising
#40 Remind yourself of the value you have to offer. We are often so good at something, that it becomes second nature. We don’t recognize that it’s something other people can’t easily do. Recognize that value.
#41 Write down the two most important things you want to complete each day.
#42 Wake up. Complete the two most important things. Then do other tasks.
#43 Clean your bedroom. De-cluttering your environment is magical.
#44 Relax: Lie in an open field and stare at the clouds.
#45 Read a good book. Get lost in another world.
#46 Take a break from social media, if it all feels too much.
#47 Avoid the comparison game. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others remind yourself (daily) that it’s not healthy.
#48 Pamper yourself. Go to the spa.
#49 Ask for reassurance from family and friends. Hearing ‘all will be fine’ is often all that is needed.
#50 Listen to your favorite music (not a love song, if you are heartbroken).
#51 Volunteer and give back to your community. Maybe a pet shelter?
#52 Find a safe place to scream and let it all out. Keeping emotions bottled up is not healthy. It creates stress and can cause anxiety.
#53 Eat foods that make you feel comfortable.
#54 Embrace silence. Go somewhere to be alone.
#55 Think about your dreams. Allow yourself to dream. Write down your dreams.
#56 Do simple coloring in books. Be like a child.
#57 Take a walk on the beach. The ocean is soothing.
#58 Mountains are strong and secure. Find them. Absorb them.
#59 If Self-help books overwhelm you. Read fiction instead.
#60 Get inspired. Watch inspiring videos on Youtube.
#61 Find those that have overcome what you are going through to restore inner strength.
#62 Get expert help (psychologist, doctor etc) if required. Ask family for help with this.
#63 You have won the lottery. Just being alive and being able to breathe is a privilege. Remind yourself of this each morning when you wake-up.
#64 Routines: When life is chaotic, establishing a routine provides stability.
#65 Embrace the sun. Soak it up. Go outdoors.
#66 10 min alignment exercise. Set a deep meaningful goal (e.g. being self-employed). Write down all the skills and abilities you have to achieve it now. Sit with those thoughts until you feel excited.
#67 Sit in silence and just breathe. In and out. Nice deep breaths.
#68 Seek out happy memories: go through photos of loved ones or even postcards from friends.
#69 Relax. Have a warm bath. Clear your mind.
#70 Invest in a miniature Zen Garden. Start by searching on the internet.
#71 Walk barefoot in the grass. This can be therapeutic.
#72 Bake bread. Enjoy the process. Absorb the comforting smells of your creation.
#73 Watch the sunrise, whilst sipping your favorite coffee. Get excited about the day that lies ahead.
#74 Watch the sunset, with a glass of wine. Recap on the day.
#75 Decorate your room or house. Make it look beautiful.
#76 Call your boss. Tell him you’re sick. Just take the day off to unwind from all the stress.
#77 Create a morning ritual that provides the needed support.
#78 Or (because everyone is different) you can develop an evening ritual instead.
#79 Switch off all devices an hour before you sleep for a good night’s rest.
#80 Help someone else with their problems. This can often be the best self-care.Advertising
#81 Watch a comedy show (live or on T.V.). Get yourself to laugh. Laughter, as they say, is often the best medicine.
#82 Dance. Dance on your own. Dance in your house. Dance wildly.
#83 Walk your dog and get exercise.
#84 Walk someone else’s dog and do them a favor in the process.
#85 Seek out new experiences. Do something you haven’t done before.
#86 Ideas. Start writing down all your ideas. Carry a notepad with you.
#87 Be spontaneous. Instill excitement into your life. For example, take a drive on the spur of the moment. If a friend calls you to do something, do it.
#88 Sign-up for the gym. Exercise helps clear your mind.
#89 Or exercise in the comfort of your home – you don’t have to spend lots of money to stay fit.
#90 Plan a short road trip with a friend to get away.
#91 Speak to a nutritionist to develop a food plan that can support you.
#92 Try yoga. It’s great for the body and the mind.
#93 Get rid of limiting beliefs that do not serve you. You may believe that you cannot do something, but is this really true? Consider what you can do right now to make it happen. Maybe you can ask for a friend’s advice to start?
#94 Use your senses. Buy some incense for your house.
#95 Love. Call someone (instead of texting). Tell them you love them.
#96 Listen to classical music. Get relaxed and improve your intelligence.
#97 Spoil yourself. Buy yourself presents – flowers or even a new dress.
#98 Sketch. Take out a notepad and start sketching. This can be therapeutic.
#99 Wake up and listen to inspirational podcasts to get you motivated.
#100 Remind yourself that life is a journey. Remember that what you are going through is temporary, It will pass.
Last Updated on July 20, 2021
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:
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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:
- How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro
- 10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations
- Tricks to Deliver an Impressive Presentation Every Time
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