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5 Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Go on that Road Trip

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5 Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Go on that Road Trip

Have you been feeling tired, over-worked and stressed out about life, love and your career? Maybe you’ve been feeling on the brink of checking yourself into a mental health facility – but you don’t even have the strength to do that! Whether you are fizzling out or not, one thing that is never a bad idea, is a good old dose of what’s called a “Road Trip” – especially with those you deem your closest friends!

Yes, that trip that allows you to escape the mundane of everyday living, and provides you with some much needed R&R (caution: Rest may be limited due to your preferences of having fun). However, by going on a Road Trip you have the opportunity to see more, experience more and appreciate more. In the age of “gadgets-and-gizmos” and where everything from our meals to our hours with family and friends are planned out, this is probably one of the most spontaneous things to do. By going on a Road Trip with friends, especially if they are as crazy as mine, make way for the spunk known as spontaneity!

Neither finances, nor means of getting there is a problem. As the saying goes: “Where there is a will, there is a way.” If you open yourself up to it, you will find creative ways to ensure you have the best time possible, without spending too much money in the process. For once stop allowing your fears and inhibitions to control every aspect of your life and make that decision to go on that road trip and have some fun!

Still need more convincing? Here are 5 reasons why you should absolutely go on that Road Trip:

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1. Opportunity to Let Go

As mentioned above – you have the opportunity to escape all the stressful factors in your life and take a breath of fresh air – and the best of all, you get to that with friends. You have the opportunity to stop the life that is passing you by and you get to actually live it. By not being consumed by hours and deadlines, time will become your friend and no longer your enemy – this is the key to bringing you the healing you might need.

    Photo by Marlè Visagie

    2. Opportunity to See More of Your Country

    Take a beat and realize that you find yourselves in a world that is spectacular in its beauties and wonders. We often get so lost in the problems in our lives, the problems of the world and yes, the problems that often hit a lot harder with the fear of the future for our children, our country. However, if we are constantly looking for the worst in situations, we will find it. Like my Dad said when my music choices (cough-cough, any rock lovers out there?) were being frowned upon: “If you look for the Devil in something, you will find him.”

    If all I do today is leave you with one thought, let it be this: Do not let fear and negativity rule your mind and emotions. This will hold you back in all aspects of life, and truth be told – no one really appreciates the pessimistic person referred to as the “Party-Pooper.” Let us stop overlooking the beauty and the exciting experiences that our own country has to offer us and let us embrace it – arms stretched out and running like the cliché of a love boy and girl through the fields of flowers, eagerly awaiting each other– with an open heart and mind.

    We have too many roads less travelled, oceans not yet seen, forests not yet explored and people not yet met.

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    IMG_6688
      Photo by Marlè Visagie

      Which brings me to my third reason:

      3. Opportunity to Meet New People

      Ah – nothing like the locals of a town to bring a new sense of flavor and adventure into our lives. From showing you the ins and outs of your destination to helping you with new skills like hiking, paddle-boarding, surfing and many more, all of which broaden your horizon and literally turn you into a new person.

      You should also not forget about all the other exotic travellers from within your country, as well as without, that you get to meet. It is in them that you see new places, new cultures and new ways of doing things – which is very important for personal growth and understanding – something we all need a little extra of in the world that we find ourselves in today. These new friends will not only allow you to leave your mark on them, but they will leave their mark on you – making you want to stay longer than what you originally planned.

      95981e482a41cd59302e3b4af830762a
        Photo via Pinterest

        4. Opportunity to Make Some Unforgettable Memories

        One thing you can be certain of is this: you will make memories and you will make lots of them. Whether you opted for something as peaceful and relaxing as a wine-tasting (which in my case would just turn out to be one big party – what can I say, we love our wine) or something a little along the wild side, like a quick skinny dip in the ocean. Whatever it is you decide to do – the memories you make will last you a lifetime, it will carry you through all the ups and downs in life, it will bring a smile to your face once you find yourself back in the mundane of things and it will make you spontaneous in your planning of the next Road Trip. How can there not be a next one?

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        Nothing is too big or too small for this trip – the things you do will end up being the things that bring a warm feeling of fondness to your heart. The best of all – if you have friends like mine, there will absolutely be no judgement, just lots of laughter and opportunities for inside jokes and “remember when you (insert verb).” These memories will also be something you can tell the kids one day – take note, I said one day – some of us will have to wait until they pass the R rated phase and are a little bit older and wiser.

        On a serious note though, these are the moments that count, that color your life in and make you say: “You know what, I am lucky. I have a beautiful life and I get to share it with beautiful people.”

        20150922_155741
          Photo by Marlè Visagie

          This brings me to my fifth reason:

          5. You Receive an Appreciation for Life

          Yes, you get to see new places, meet new people and learn new things. Yes, you get to make memories that will last you a lifetime and you get to make it with the friends of a lifetime – but that is not all: You get to chase the sunrises and sunsets which are a gift of everyday life. Do you remember the last time your mind was shushed by the artful sunrise or sunset of a new place? The last time you could felt a completely uninhibited breath of fresh air fill your lung?

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          Those artworks of Heaven that leave you breathless will give you a new sense of appreciation for all that this life offers and still has to offer. It will quiet you down and show you what really matters in this world – giving you a new sense of direction, a new vibrant vision and a passionately heart-pounding purpose.

          Just Breathe it in
            Photo by Bianca Gouws

            This is the playlist of your life – one with no stops, no pauses, no rewinds and no fast-forwards (no matter how much it often feels like it has) – we ought to ensure it is an epic one!

            Featured photo credit: tripoto via tripoto.com

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            Bianca Gouws

            Freelance Writer, Director and Actress

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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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