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Happiness Isn’t About How Much You Have, But How Much You Enjoy Life

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Happiness Isn’t About How Much You Have, But How Much You Enjoy Life

Many of us believe that the more we have, the happier we are. But is it really the truth?

As economy develops, we seems to be able to live a better life. Earning money to buy the things that we desire, that’s how it goes. But do these material possessions always guarantee long-lasting happiness?

There might be a time that you have been saving money to buy yourself something, like a new gadget, a luxury car, or a grand apartment. Yes, you might be uplifted at the moment but the delight never lasts. The happiness recedes after a day, a week, a month, a year, or a decade. The new gadget will become old, the luxury car will depreciate, the grand apartment will become boring.

The truth is that although we have much more than the previous generations do, we are not happy as we are supposed to be.

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Probably we have fallen into traps which keep us away from the long-lasting happiness that we have been chasing for throughout our lives. Check if you have fallen into one of these 3 traps and try to get rid of them:

We play hard but become slaves of desires

There is a kind of people who always play hard and sometimes we call them the hedonist. The hedonists always strive to maximize pleasure and hunt for excitement to satisfy their desires without realizing the negative side of their behaviors. They only look for pleasure and try to escape from pain. It is not uncommon that they would gradually become the slaves of desires with only vanity left after the excitement fades away.

We work hard but suffer from the pain

The busy bee is the exact opposite of the hedonist. They work hard in exchange for more material possessions. They look for the pleasure that comes in the future but suffer from the present pain. They do not realize that they are just running on a treadmill, running hard but only marking time. Ironically, the material possessions that they work hard for can only give them temporary happiness.

We do nothing hard but lose the passion of life and the hope of future

Then, you might think that it is better not to play hard or work hard. However, being a nihilist can neither guarantee you long-lasting happiness. Being a nihilist is the worst case because the nihilists believe that life is meaningless. They do not enjoy what they have got at the moment, nor do they have any hope for the future. Without passion and hope, one can hardly have feel any kind of happiness.

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We spend years living our lives on this planet and it would be a pity if we cannot get a taste of what it is like to be truly happy. Easy come, easy go. The long-lasting happiness that keeps us living our lives passionately is something that worth us spending time to build. There is something we can do to pursue the happiness that lasts a lifetime.

1. Capture and collect positive emotions

    Capture your happy moments every day.

    To put it simply, the more positive emotions you capture in a day, the more likely your happiness sustains.

    Positive emotions are not limited to joy and excitement. Psychologists say that positive emotions also include joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. [1] These positive emotions can broaden and build our long-lasting psychological, intellectual, physical and social resources which increase our well-beings.

    Try to capture and collect your positive emotions every day. Keep a diary or take some photos. Instead of recording what happens, describe how you feel is rather more important. This will build your psychological resource and one day it will remind you what kinds of positive emotions you have experienced.

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    2. Engage with what you do

    Wanderers with no goals often feel unhappy. They disconnect with the world and tend to be over-absorbed in their emotions or abstract, unexplainable thoughts. They are on a road to nowhere.

    But instead, if we are more present in our lives and feel engaged with whatever we do or say, we can feel more grounded and happier. Being engaged prevents your mind from wandering and stops you from overthinking too much. On the other hand, when you are engaged in something, maybe your job or your hobby, you work for improvement and accomplishment. The pleasure of eventually achieving something gives you the feeling of pride and also makes whatever you are doing meaningful.

    3. Derive meaning from everything you do

    If we can’t find any meaning in what we do, we tend to have a sense of loss, thinking that we have wasted our time and energy. It is just like the nihilists who think life is meaningless and a waste of time.

    Frankly, there are some times that we really find something meaningless. Those things that are supposed to disappoint or frustrate us are exactly what keep us from the long-lasting happiness. Try to derive meaning from them and think in the other way round. Losing a competition might be a chance for you to realize your room for improvement; failing in a interview might be a chance for you to look for a better opportunity.

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    4. Build in-depth relationships with others

      An in-depth relationship makes you feel fearless.

      We always need some kinds of connections with people, friends, families, and lovers. But what makes us feel satisfied from relationships is not the quantity but the quality.

      Some might be satisfied with the fame but it is only the vanity. An in-depth relationship is a totally different story. It allows you to open up your mind fearlessly. You can have deep chats with your friends, hearing their stories and telling yours. You do not only gain practical support but also emotional supports from them. There is nothing better than being deeply known by someone who knows you better than yourself and speaks your mind.

      5. Broaden your definitions of success

      Success is not only about winning a game or trumping others. It can mean completing things you want to do or should do. It can be small or big, which does not really matter. It can be as simple as finishing a small task on your work. Sometimes people judge and they define the meaning of success as numbers. But bear in mind that you are the only one who can define your success.

      And by celebrating your accomplishments, even the smallest ones, every day can make you happier. Just because of finishing a small task on your work, you can celebrate it by giving yourself a little treat. It is the mark showing that you are capable of achieving something and giving you a sense of pride.

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      Be happy and shine like a diamond

      Happiness is sometimes a very abstract idea and we might be lost on the road to the long-lasting happiness. The pursuit of happiness is a lifelong lesson that we all have to take. But once you and I get the clues, we will all shine like a diamond, with an everlasting shiny light that everyone would admire.

      Reference

      [1] The Huffington Post: What Are The Top 10 Positive Emotions?

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      Sheba Leung

      Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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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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