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7 Seemingly Small Yet Insanely Destructive Lifestyle Choices

7 Seemingly Small Yet Insanely Destructive Lifestyle Choices
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We often do harmful things to ourselves because we’re not aware of their consequences. Even the smallest decisions that we make in a nanosecond on a daily basis, like drinking another cup of coffee with the hope that it will make us energized or spending another minute on Facebook instead of going to sleep can be severely destructive if we take a look at the long-term effects.

Somehow, people find it easy to be ignorant when it comes to their body and mind – I’m sure you’ve managed to shush that voice that says you’re tired, hungry or thirsty in time. By doing that, you’re actually neglecting your basic needs and it’s not necessary for you to be a medical expert to understand how bad that can turn out.

The first step towards ending your self-destructive behavior is developing awareness.

1. Physical and Mental Negligence

Ignoring that constant pain in your neck or trying to drown the very same thoughts that pop in your mind each night before you go to sleep won’t make them go away. It’s the very same with cleaning – if you cover up all the dirt with a carpet, that doesn’t mean your home is clean. As a matter of fact, it means it will only get dirtier in time.

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Listen to what your body is trying to tell you in both physical and mental terms. The human body has its own natural alarms like the ones you install in your home, e.g. smoke detectors or those for household security. I’m sure you wouldn’t let an intruder come into your home, steal your stuff and harm you physically – you should simply react the same way to the signals that your body is sending to you.

2. Antisocial Behavior

Spending quality time with your mind is one thing, but being way too much inside your own head is not exactly healthy. Saying “no” to a cup of coffee and skipping a pleasant talk with a friend because you’re nervous can only make things worse – you’re not filtering out your anxiety, you’re allowing it to grow and multiply inside of your head.

There’s an opposite extreme to this behavior and that’s being too social – avoiding solitude can imply that you’re avoiding a problem that needs to be solved. Obviously, moderation is the key and you should try to find a balance here.

3. Acting a Martyr

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    Blaming the whole universe by asking why does everything always happen to me only magnifies your problems. We live in a world where good things happen to bad people – it’s not fair, but we need to deal with that harsh truth.

    That being said, you should take responsibility and take action, because no one will live your life instead of you, nor fix your problems.

    4. Over/Under Eating

    Unhealthy eating habits are a disease of the modern society – food became irrelevant at some point and we just forgot about its main purpose altogether. Starving yourself because you have a busy schedule and simply not enough time, or perhaps because you’re trying to achieve an unrealistic body figure that’s reflected on covers of magazines isn’t a price worthy enough, because you’re paying with your health. Your eating habits affect the quality of your sleep, especially if you try to replace a full meal with energizing beverages or junk food.

    The same thing goes with overeating – you can start small, by having an innocent snack at four AM, but it can end with high blood pressure, cholesterol issues and heart problems. If you’d put in some effort in preparing healthy meals and work out a schedule that meets the needs of your body, you’d feel more energized and more capable throughout the whole day.

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    5. Substance Abuse Instead of Coping

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      Another very efficient way to silence your mind and forget all about your problems is substance abuse. If you’re prone to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, you’re on a certain path that leads to serious health issues – the longer you stay on that path, the more severe the consequences that lay in front of you.

      The fact you refuse to be present in your own life and you’re trying to escape into the world of vices doesn’t at all mean that everything you don’t like about it will disappear or get improved by itself. Those problems that banished you to a dark place will only get bigger if you stay there.

      Facing your demons is never easy, and if you can’t do it by yourself you should turn to members of your family and close friends. For some people it’s hard to have their loved ones watching them trying to fight addictions – if you’re one of them, you should turn to professionals and medical experts who are trained to guide and help you.

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      6. Careless Spending

      Having a problem with money management isn’t uncommon – a significant percentage of people have serious issues with handling their income. However, if your debts are only increasing and if you’re in serious situations where your paycheck can’t cover your expenses, it may mean that you don’t have respect towards your own effort.

      Each paycheck is a reward for your month’s work and the next time you start thinking about purchasing an overpriced item that you don’t really need, remember to remind yourself how much time and skill is invested in that price tag.

      7. Denying Help Completely

      There’s strength to independence, I won’t argue about that – being on your own is tough and it requires both physical and mental preparedness. However, there’s an extreme to this behavior; if you insist on doing everything on your own, even if it’s not on your list of responsibilities, and you deny every bit of help offered along the way, you have a problem.

      Wasting your time and energy because you’re stubborn or spiteful will come back to haunt you, have no doubt about that. Allow people to get closer to you by accepting their help. It will be beneficial on many different levels for the quality of your life – just try and see.

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      Having introspectiveness in your set of skills is a smart thing to do – being transparent with yourself will help you realize what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. When that becomes clear, you should be able to steer clear of all the destructiveness that you bring into your life, and that’s something you should be able to live without.

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/jim-jackson-8721/ via pexels.com

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      Nemanja Manojlovic

      Editor at MyCity Web

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      Last Updated on July 20, 2021

      How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

      How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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      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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