The feeling of falling and being in love is one of the greatest feelings one could ever feel and experience.
You feel motivated, driven, and secure having someone in your corner to support and comfort you.
However, some of us may become confused when trying to figure out what it is that we are feeling exactly–Do I just like them a lot, or is this love?
According to science, your brain will be able to figure it out before you’re able to realize it.
Arthur Aron, a psychologist at State University of New York at Stony Brook says, “Intense passionate love uses the same system in the brain that gets activated when a person is addicted to drugs.”
Here are 12 signs that will let you know if you really are, in love.
1. You want your family and friends to be accepting of them
When you start seeing someone you really like, you’re going to want to bring them around your parents and close friends. Your social circle typically plays an important role in the success of a relationship. Of course, the opinion of friends and family probably won’t decide whether or not you continuing seeing them, it’s nice to know that they like and accept the person you’re spending your time with.
2. You’re happy when they’re happy and sad when they’re sad
You start to almost feel exactly how they are feeling whether it’s up or down. the person you like gets a promotion and they’re overjoyed when they tell you about it. You’re able to share his/her success and experience feelings of pride and positive emotions. Seeing them so happy just makes you melt inside.
3. You want to see them every SINGLE moment
It’s almost like one day away from them feels like a week. When they say goodbye to you after dinner, you’re already thinking about the next time you can see them which is hopefully soon after. The second they leave for home, you’re already texting them to continue the topic you haven’t finished over dinner.
4. You want to know everything about them
You become so intrigued you can’t help but have a laundry list of questions for them. You want to get to know them under the surface. They may be a little emotionally guarded and have difficulty talking about their feelings, so you find yourself wanting to know why they are that way. As you learn more about the person you like and make them feel safe, you open the doors wide open to connect and bond on a much deeper level.
5. You don’t feel so great when they get close with someone else
Seeing the person you like being friendly with someone of the opposite sex will have you feeling pretty uneasy. Over time you’ve become pretty close to them, and you don’t want to see them or someone else sending out flirtatious vibes. The little jealousy tells a lot. It means you don’t want to be just friends with the person.
6. What they do or say is special to you
Things that they say or do may seem insignificant to others, but they’re very significant to you. What they see as an imperfections, you see as unique qualities that you love about them.
7. You’re willing to do anything for them
The list of things you aren’t willing to do for the person may not even exist. You never think twice about doing anything for them to put a smile on their face. They may be craving their favorite food for lunch so you use yours to surprise them at work.
8. You’re more careful about what you say and do
You learn to be a little bit more sensitive around the person you like. You’re much more careful about what you say and do. You begin to understand that every action has a reaction. You think twice before talking because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them angry.
9. Your behavior is a bit out of control when you’re with them
A friend may tell a joke and you may be mildly humored by it. But if the person you like tells the same joke, you can’t help but laugh a little harder. Your emotions are magnified. They make you feel good, and it sometimes comes out uncontrollably in your actions.
10. Your confidence level is boosted
They make you feel like you’re on top of the world and vice versa. You go into work feeling like you can accomplish every task thrown your way. They make you feel great about yourself. If your friends and co-workers have been saying you’re glowing lately, he/she is probably the reason why.
11. You can see a future with them
You’ll start to envision what your life would be like with them in the future. Dare I mention the thoughts that go through your head when he/she picks up a baby.
12. You have more drive to become a better you
You have always felt pretty secure and happy with yourself and all that you’ve accomplished. But somewhere along the way this person unknowingly sparked something inside of you to push and strive for more. For months you’ve been putting off getting into the gym and eating healthier, but now doing that doesn’t seem like such a chore anymore. You aspire to be better everyday, and they’re the inspiration behind it.
You definitely know when you start liking someone. The tricky part is knowing when you’re in love with them. All in all, you know he/she is the one for you when they challenge you to be a better person every day, and you can’t imagine your life without them.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: