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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Mastering The Art of Happiness (9 Tips to Get Started)

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Mastering The Art of Happiness (9 Tips to Get Started)

As we get older, we begin to understand that a fulfilling life is one in which we are unapologetically happy.

However, finding and maintaining that happiness can be evasive for some; even though the potential for happiness is all around us!

If you’ve always thought of the potential of mastering the art of happiness, but was never quite sure where to begin, we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll break it down for you so achieving happiness isn’t just attainable, but actually quite simple!

Happiness Is Simple

If you want to live a happier lifestyle, here are 9 tips that will help you to get started on the road to happiness!

1. Acceptance is Key

It becomes easy to lose track of your happiness when you are consistently fighting against the current of your life.

All things, no matter whether they are good or bad, enter our lives for a reason; and, we choose how to respond to each situation.

Rather than pushing each of these situations away when they don’t appeal to you, attempt to embrace them and find solutions that help you come out a victor on the other side.

When you begin to go with the flow and work with what you’ve been given, you’ll find that you become much happier overall.

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2. Positivity is All Around You

Everything has a positive aspect. Everything!

Even the most painful or difficult situations have a silver lining to them. When we fail to recognize these positive aspects and only focus on the negative outcomes or qualities of a certain person or situation, it makes it easier for sadness and doubt to creep into our lives.

The next time that you are dealing with something painful or difficult, try to take a step back from the situation and assess it logically.

Is there something in this situation that could be perceived as positive?

If you search deep enough, you are certain to find some type of positivity. Never give up!

3. Fill Your Life With Love

A life filled with activities and relationships that do not fulfill you is a waste of your time and will not make you happy. As life goes on, we lose track of our hopes and dreams and begin to settle on what we think we should be doing rather than what we want to do.

Although this is a habit that is hard to break away from, settling can make us rather unhappy. The solution? Start taking a look at each area of your life and decide whether or not you feel fulfilled.

In the areas where you feel as though you are lacking, take some time to figure out what may make you feel happier. For example, imagine that your job is not quite what you thought it would be when you first started, and definitely not the job that you dreamt about when you were growing up.

While some people would stick with this job despite this major issue, consider the idea of making a job change. The reason you make this change is because you know that you will be happier doing what you want to do rather than what is expected! Although it will take some time, the end results will be worth it.

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4. Make Every Minute Count

The honest truth about life is that we only have so many minutes on this planet. Why waste them being unhappy?

You should be living your life to the fullest and getting everything you want, rather than spending your time doing things that don’t matter to you. If you have moments where you feel unfulfilled, or you are voluntarily spending time with people that make you less than happy, reduce these tendencies.

It can be hard to remember that there are so many hours in the day but it is a very motivational piece of information.

To remind yourself of this key piece of information, put a sticky note down in a place where you find yourself repeatedly throughout the day or set the reminder as your phone wallpaper.

This way, you will always remember that each minute counts and that you need to chase what you want in order to lead the happiest life possible. Prioritize your time as though it is precious–because it is.

5. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is one of the most important things to do to stay happy and maintain your overall mental health. What is self-care? To put it simply, self-care is the practice of engaging in activities that help you to mentally recharge.

For example, a self-care day may involve an hour of intense journaling, a trip to the spa where you get a full body treatment, and a couple of hours of your favorite movies. No matter what you do, self-care activities will always help you to center yourself and make you feel more relaxed.

There is no rule as to how often you need to practice self-care to stay happy and healthy. Just practice it whenever you feel that you need it! Of course, don’t neglect your obligations, but certainly don’t feel guilty for giving yourself a mental recharge every once in a while. In the end, these small acts of self care will make a big difference.

6. Seek Out Exciting Experiences

A stagnant lifestyle can become a boring and unsatisfying lifestyle rather quickly. Even the happiest of individuals can find themselves unsatisfied if they continue to live the same day repeatedly.

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You should always be seeking out new experiences to learn more about the world around you and to discover new passions and interesting (and inspiring!) people. The best thing about new experiences is that they often don’t have to be large or expensive to be satisfying.

Sit down with your phone or with a piece of pencil and a paper and jot down some of the things that you have always wanted to do. After you’ve finished your own personal list, do some exploring on the internet and come up with some ideas of activities that you’ve wanted to do or places that you’ve wanted to visit as well.

Once your list is full, make it your goal to tackle these items one by one. Eventually, you will have fulfilled these passions and you can begin to create a list of new ones! Before you know it, you’ll look back on what you’ve accomplished and feel incredibly fulfilled.

7. Set Goals and Dominate Them

There is nothing quite like setting a goal and successfully following through on it. In fact, this is one of the main confidence-building methods recommended for those who are trying to work through their depression.

Without goals, life can become very bland and you may lose focus on what truly matters to you. Goals are what give you purpose and motivation to live through each day doing what it is that will make you happy.

One great source for goal-making and following through on your goals is Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life. This source will teach you about the main categories of life goals that you should be setting for yourself, and how you can be strong on your follow through as well!

8. Express Endless Gratitude

Being grateful is truly a blessing. Through gratitude, we learn that there is always something beautiful going on in our lives. Even during the darkest of days, you can still be grateful for something as simple as getting eight hours of sleep or having a stranger saying hello to you on the street.

To start practicing gratitude, all you have to do is begin reciting the things you are grateful for daily. One popular method for showing gratitude is to grab a journal and to write down three things each day that you are grateful for.

After a while, you will begin to notice that your perspective towards life has shifted and you will begin looking for the positive rather than focusing on the negative!

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You’ll find it easier to focus on all the things that you are grateful for without trying, which will being a great sense of joy to your everyday life. This comes in handy especially during times of stress; in these times, remembering the things you are grateful for can be incredibly beneficial.

9. Volunteer Your Time 

As Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” We all get a little too tangled up in our own lives and thoughts sometimes, that we can forget there is a whole world out there filled with situations and people who are just as complex as we are.

Volunteering helps shed some light on that reality and it gives you the opportunity to reach out, help others, and make a difference in the community or in the world. When you have the ability to make a major difference in someone’s day, happiness is sure to flock to you.

Helping others will also make you consider all the things in your own life to be grateful for, and again, this gratitude will take you quite far in your pursuit of happiness.

Happiness is All Around

While happiness may seem hard to obtain, the truth is that it is all around us and you just need to know where to look, what to do, and how to appreciate the pockets of happiness in life.

By following the guidance within these 9 suggestions above, you will be living the happy life that you have always wanted in no time.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams 10 Reasons Why You’re Demotivated and How to Overcome It 25 Hard Work Motivational Quotes to Help You Achieve More How to Help a Friend With Depression Learn to Love Life Again Mastering The Art of Happiness (9 Tips to Get Started)

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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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