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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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