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4 Ways A Summer Road Trip Can Be Fun And Safe

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4 Ways A Summer Road Trip Can Be Fun And Safe

Summer is a time where travelling becomes the ideal situation, the weather is hot and humid and the beach and fresh air seems a divine idea. You crave for the chance of letting your hair down and dipping your feet in that cold water. A long swim towards the wide blue horizon or a hike up the green mountains is something that only the summer season could bring.

However, excitement and joy often cloud one’s judgments, leading us to disastrous consequences. It’s been calculated that on an average, there are about 3 accidents involving cars in Europe every summer. One must be aware this calculation is just based on Europe, it could be a larger number if you would calculate worldwide. It often involves excited families and dramatic friends, instead of leaving a memory of having the best time of their lives, it just ends in a tragedy. Often times these accidents are due to careless driving and the “Caution to The Wind ” character.

Here are some practices to enjoy a safe and happy summer road trip.

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1.Never Disturb the Driver. If You’re a Co-Driver Keep That in Mind.

If you’re travelling with 5 or more people, it’s hard to contain the excitement. It’s easy to indulge in the fun that goes on in the back seat. Sometimes you might feel left out and feel the need to contribute and you stop prioritizing your driving. If your co-driver too failed to insist on the importance of concentration, then this could actually be your biggest haphazard.

What happens if you lose concentration for just a moment? It couldn’t be the end of the world, you may argue. Based on my personal experience, this is where people lose not only their happy memories, but they tend to lose their loved ones or even worse, their own lives. After being a depressed victim of witnessing my friend losing his life to this same reason, I can’t help but send the story of caution through my writing.

If you’re a co-driver, your responsibility is to keep the driver awake and focused on his driving. You should refrain from disturbing or dragging the driver into situations and circumstances that might take away his focus on driving. Furthermore, if you’re the driver, you should always keep in mind that you’re responsible for the number of lives in your car. That should be a perfect reminder why you should never be distracted.

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2. Never Text and Drive.

We function on a very technological level. We prefer hanging out with our virtual friends compared to interacting with people. Therefore, we are never apart from our devices, unless we are taking a bath or sleeping. Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and various other networks seems to always be a priority in our lives.

Therefore, it’s never surprising that the most common deaths resulting from accidents are due to texting. The text and drive concept began with our first mobile phone. It never ended there, as our technologies seemed to improve our everyday lives, it also became the biggest haphazard of the road.

Hence, if you’re driving make sure to keep your phones on silent or connected to a Bluetooth. A Bluetooth connector could either be an additional software with the car or a separate device attached to your ear. Google too has created voice commands, where you’re able to voice out your reply instead of texting. Practicing this doesn’t only spare your life, but it also saves the lives of others on the road. I don’t think so you would want to be the cause of another being’s death.

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3. Always Carry a Pair of Sunglasses.

The sun during the summer is our worst enemy, often times it’s too powerful for the mortal world. The heat seeps through our skin, cooking it from the inside however the worst isn’t the heat, but the glare of the sun. The bright sun can often time deprive you of your eyesight, especially while driving. This in many cases can lead into an accident, which either harms your physically and financially, or harms another person.

Therefore, the best way to prevent any of such incidents from occurring is to take proper precaution. In this case, it would be to always carry around a pair of sunglasses. There are various ranges for proper sunglasses, the best would be the UV400 rated sunglasses. This is because these kind of glasses only allows minimal amount of light penetrating through (3%-18%) and also act as amazing light reflectors. It helps you protect your eyes and gives you the necessary vision needed for driving. They  say caution is always better than consequence.

4.Never Assume Speeding Is Cool.

If you’re in Germany this summer, you’ll soon realize that there is rarely any limitation for speed on the freeway. The cars fly down the freeway in competition with Nazcar. I suppose some of the drivers might have even broken the world record. However this isn’t something to be taken lightly. In other words, it’s an unofficial death sentence on the road.

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Even though it may pain your ego or you may get classified as uncool, when faced with a challenge to speed across the freeway or any random street, please reject such ideas. It’s better than inflicting serious danger upon everyone around. Often enough, the innocent victims involved are your passengers or another user of the road.

Summer is a season to be remembered and road trips are events that create beautiful memories. Try to always stay on the safe side when you’re on the road then you will definitely have the best summer of your life without hurting anyone or yourself.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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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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