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5 Ways to Take Care of Your Voice

5 Ways to Take Care of Your Voice

Losing your voice — even for just a few hours — can be extremely debilitating and frustrating. It’s one of those things you take for granted until it’s gone. But when it goes, you suddenly realize just how useless you are.

Unfortunately, the only people who ever do anything to prevent issues and protect their voices are entertainers, singers, and professional speakers. This leaves the rest of the population susceptible to problems.

Don’t follow the masses. Instead, make sure you’re doing everything possible to protect your voice. Here are a handful of tips you should find helpful.

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1. Warm up your vocal chords before presentations.

Any time you’re set to give a presentation — or otherwise speak loudly for an extended period of time — it’s smart to warm up your vocal chords. There are a variety of methods for warming up, but most involve breath relaxation, jaw and lip tension release techniques, tongue drills, octave scales, humming, and cool down exercises.

You may feel strange warming up your voice, but remember that your throat is just like any other part of your body. There are muscles that must be stretched and prepared prior to extreme exertion.

2. Avoid unnecessary and sudden volume changes.

Few things are as detrimental to your voice as sudden changes in volume. When you shout or scream with too much force, the lining of your vocal cords can actually become compromised. The muscles in your throat also tighten and breathing becomes lighter. This means your body has to put forth more effort to recover your voice. Ultimately, this can make it worse.

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This is why coaches who frequently yell and scream often lose their voices or deal with issues later in life. “Usually, it’s just a temporary thing that goes away,” says Dr. Michael Pitman of the Mount Sinai Health System. “But sometimes, as the vocal cords try to repair themselves — and you strain and push your voice even harder — that’s where you get into a vicious cycle of vocal decompensation. The more you try and compensate, the more damage you do.”

3. Have a regular voice check up.

Most people get an annual physical — or at least go in for a checkup when something about their health seems wrong. You should treat your voice with the same amount of respect and care.

“Your annual physical probably will not reveal vocal cord problems,” says Dr. Inna Husain, director of the Voice, Airway and Swallowing Program at Rush University Medical Center. “The best way to really assess what’s going on with the voice is for someone attuned to the nuances of vocal changes to listen to your voice — and then look at your vocal cords.”

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4. Don’t clear your throat excessively.

Did you know that you can actually damage your throat by clearing it with too much force? Aggressively coughing and clearing your throat over and over again can actually result in vocal chord damage. Instead of using force to clear your throat, try having a few sips of water.

5. Deal with acid reflux promptly.

Acid reflux is something that thousands of people suffer from. For some, acid reflux comes and goes with specific trigger foods. For others, it’s almost a chronic situation. Regardless of frequency, acid reflux must be dealt with in an appropriate manner. Understand how to take hold of your condition and prevent excess stomach acid from damaging your voice.

Don’t take your voice for granted!

Your voice is one of the single most important assets you have. Since communication is one of the key aspects of our daily lives, you can’t afford to lose your voice — temporarily or permanently.

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Stop taking your voice for granted and start protecting it!

Featured photo credit: peter castleton via flic.kr

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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