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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Nothing Makes You Happy: Here’s Why and What to Do

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Nothing Makes You Happy: Here’s Why and What to Do

If you’re thinking “Nothing makes me happy any more…” I want to ask you a powerful question first:

What do you want at the end of your life?

Picture yourself in this moment and decide how you want to feel, the legacy you want to leave, and the memories you have to look back on.

Are you exhausted – having lived a stressful life?

Putting happiness and joy off for the weekends, vacations, and retirement. You got through each day just to get to the next one. You rushed through life, wishing for the future, forgetting to enjoy the precious moments in the present. You waited for the money to come and in return you worked a job you hated. You would be secure and happy when the right time came. You waited to travel because you couldn’t take the time off.

Life was too busy to create new memories with friends. You forgot that enjoyment was for the present moment and you never took care of your own needs. In each moment you put your happiness off for the future and now, the future is here and you are left tired, regretful, and unfulfilled.

OR

Are you feeling exhilarated, satisfied, excited, and joyful – having lived life on YOUR terms?

You learned the art and mindset of happiness early on and made the decision to enjoy each of your moments and not put this precious time off. You realized that the happiness mindset evokes a spectacular energy which magnetizes positive emotions along with events. Abundance, wealth, happiness, and excitement followed you everywhere you went. You chose to put self-care first to cultivate fulfillment in each of your moments and you stopped putting your health and happiness off.

You got real with yourself, developed clarity, and chose what was in the best interest for you. In return, you lived a satisfying life, having meaningful relationships, you left a mark in this world, and your energy trickles down to the generations that follow.

How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Each and every one of us are faced with the decision in each moment of our lives. We have to decide in each moment what we want at the end of our life – exhaustion or exhilaration?

We sometimes forget how quickly each moment adds up until too much time has passed and we can’t get it back. Time is a priceless entity and each moment is unique – it will never come again.

You can gain and lose money, friendships, jobs, materials but you can NEVER get a moment back. Each moment comes with a choice – to enjoy, find the lesson, the laughter, the happiness OR to whine, complain, feel frustrated, irritated, and unfulfilled.

We all have the choice of what our life looks like and the choice lies in our reactions to the events and moments in our lives. We can either choose exhaustion or exhilaration.

When we let the negativity take over, then we are left weak and exhausted. However, when we choose the positive reaction then we are left with strength, energy, and knowledge with the best way to proceed.

How Do You Want to Feel at the End of Your Life?

I have asked many people this same question over the years and almost every single person admits that they want to feel excited and exhilarated – everyone wants happiness.

In fact, there is a whole book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, published in regards to the top regrets of the dying on how these individuals wished they had followed the happy path.

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However, the majority of the people that I have asked this question to include this vicious word… BUT.

When I hear this word, I wince. As soon as I hear this word, I know that the person that I am talking to has not mastered the mindset of happiness and they need support.

The word “but” is equivalent to an excuse to why this person isn’t enjoying their life and why they can’t choose happiness today. BUT means they are choosing to put their happiness off to the future.

This excuse is their story of where they came from, the bad things that have happened to them, what they don’t have now, and all of the demands that are boggling them down.

We all have a story but we also have a choice.

I have yet to meet someone without a story – someone who has glided through life without a scratch. A story wouldn’t be good without conflicts, right?

Some of the happiest people are the ones with the most horrendous story; however, they decided that they wanted to feel excited and exhilarated at the end of their lives over anything else.

Their end goal is happiness and that’s what they choose in every moment – no matter what the moment might entail.

Decide TODAY what your outcome is – what do you want for your life? What do you want for tomorrow? How are you going to get the results that you crave?

We all have greatness inside of us and we all have the ability to choose happiness over the negativity. The first step to getting happy is recognizing your warning signs – the reactions that you give may be a clue that you aren’t living your happiest life.

Warning Signs That You May Be Unhappy

Are you WOEFUL? This is an acronym for what unhappiness might look and feel like. These are your warning signs – a way that you can quickly identify that something is not right:

  • W– Whiney
  • O– Out of Control
  • E– Expectations
  • F– Fear
  • U– Unfulfilled
  • L– Limitations

Whiney

Do you whine, complain, grumble, criticize? Of course you do! Everybody does this to some degree. However, this shouldn’t be normal for you this should only serve as a warning sign.

Complaints are a great thing if we can use them as a tool to acknowledge that we are heading down the wrong path. However, when complaining becomes a habit for us then unhappiness soon follows.

It means that we are continuing to engage in activities that do not serve us, we continue to surround ourselves with the people who aren’t bringing out the best in us, and we are allowing the negativity to control our reactions. Whatever it is that you are whining about needs to be acknowledged, evaluated, and changed.

Most of the time, we think that the world needs to change for us so that we can be happy – this mindset is unrealistic. We can never change the people, things, and circumstances in our lives. The only thing that we have control over is ourselves. We have the ability to change what we do, when we do it, who we surround ourselves with, and how we react.

If you find that you are complaining about something – how can you change it or how can you alter your reaction? The next time that you complain – be thankful for this warning sign. Identify why you are feeling upset and make a plan to change it. Follow your smile not your complaint.

Out of Control

Do you feel out of control? Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, unclear, and/or uncertain? If you have any of these emotions, then this is your warning sign that you need to gain clarity, focus, and alignment.

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We have all had moments in our life that have felt out of control – maybe saying yes one too many times – allowing our obligations to gain control over our focus. When the to do list takes over, we often times lose sight of our end goal which separates us from our outcome.

When you begin feeling these emotions and spiraling out of control, it might be a good time to gain focus and clarity. Ask yourself what your end goal is and realign your focus, habits, and reactions to get you closer to the result you desire.

What are the things you are engaging in that are getting you closer to your goals? What are the things that feel good, right, and get you excited? Who are the people that make you feel the best about yourself?

On the contrary, what are you doing that gives you negative emotions? Are there people in your life who are bringing out the weaker side of you?

It is so important to identify the emotion, acknowledge the warning side, and make a change. Continuing to spiral out of control is a recipe for disaster and unhappiness will accompany you on that journey.

Expectations

Do you let expectations control your happiness? Do you feel as if things are expected of you? Do you let other people’s way of thinking control your own actions? Do you feel like someone else is making the decisions for your life and in return you are unhappy?

First evaluate who is setting the expectations in your life and ask if these expectations are aligned with your end goal. Sometimes, it’s easy to confuse self-aligned expectations with the expectations you think others have for you.

Live up to what you believe in and follow the path that brings you closer to your own aspirations. It’s easy to try and make others happy; however, it can leave us feeling unfulfilled and confused about where we are meant to go.

Become clear on the expectations that are important to you and don’t clutter your mind with others’ views on the world (unless of course they are similar to your own).

Fear

Do you put things off because you are fearful of what might happen? Are you scared of the unknown? Have you let failures hold you back from potential successes? Do you aspire for more but let the comfort of the familiar keep you where you are?

Fear is a natural instinct that is essential to life – keeping us safe from catastrophic events. Our mind and body have an instinctual way of remembering close calls and past traumas and try their best to keep us out of sticky situations.

However, if we are not good evaluators – we might be letting our minds talk us out of opportunities of growth and we might stay in comfort too long because of perceived fear.

When the fear emotions present themselves, when you feel like you are holding back or talking yourself out of something ask yourself why that is. Why am I saying no to this opportunity? Is this just an excuse to keep me in my comfort zone? Is this decision aligned with my desired outcome?

Unfulfilled

Are you bored, uninterested, tired, unfulfilled? At the end of the day, do you feel a void or emptiness inside?

When we have these emotions, we are typically on autopilot and we are not growing. Identify the areas in your life that are no longer exciting. These are the areas that are just going through the motions without any effort involved.

Are you unfulfilled at work, home, in your relationships, and/or with your body? Identify the areas that need some care.

Pay attention to when you feel a spark – that jolt of energy that releases the endorphins that bring you joy. Try and follow that path and pick up that energy as often as possible. Bring it to every area in your life.

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When we follow our spark, a light ignites inside of us and we become inspired and motivated. Who are the people that drain you? Who are the ones that give you energy – who are the people who make you feel like you just drank a cup of coffee? Those are the people you want to surround yourself with.

Pick an area in your life that feels drained and find a way to bring a light and spark to it. Feeling fulfilled in each area of our life is an important aspect to living a happy life.

Limitations

Are you filled with limitations, boundaries, and restrictions? What are your limiting beliefs?

Limitations include assumptions and predictions based off of past failures and events. Are you allowing these limitations to hold you back from what you truly desire? You don’t have enough time, money, or resources?

Start acknowledging where you set boundaries and begin to question why you have built walls in these areas.

Could you start demolishing your old mindset and asking questions to lower your guard? Boundaries are important to protect us but are there any up that no longer need to be there? Can we find support in our limiting areas to overcome our fears and grow in these areas?

How to Use WOEFUL to Become Happy

The whole key to happiness is identifying our emotions and reactions, and aligning them with our end goal. When you become really good at noticing your emotions and reactions, you can quickly change your attitude and circumstances so that you put yourself in a place where happiness lives.

We have to gain control through identification and awareness to choose happiness on a moment to moment basis. We can’t use the excuse of “It just is the way it is.” It truly can be the opposite if we take charge of our own lives.

Life can be what we want it to be if we can start to become aware of our warning signs and take actionable steps to become happy – making decisions based off of our end desire.

HAPPY is an acronym for the steps to take to encourage the happy path – to shed the woes and build a better life for yourself with happiness in the center:

  • H – Hunger
  • A – Aspirations
  • P – Perspective
  • P – Power
  • Y – You

Hunger

First and foremost, what are you hungry for? What lights a spark inside of you – what motivates you? Who inspires you?

When we are excited, motivated, and inspired, we are at our best.

People want to surround themselves with people who make them feel good. Positive energy brings about more positivity. When you begin aligning your actions and reactions with your end goal, then you will be engaging in the habits that will bring you a lifetime of joy.

Too often we give up on our dreams because we fall back into comfort. We need to keep our driving force in the forefront of our focus – what is it that you want at the end of your life? Do you want to be strong, enthusiastic, and happy or do you want to be weak, exhausted, and miserable?

Stop pushing what you’re truly hungry for away. Bring it close to you and you will live a happy-centered life.

Aspirations

When you identify your hunger and your dreams, then begin to set goals that will get you closer to your aspirations. Set goals each day, every hour if you need to.

When you make your list of what needs done, then get out your calendar and carve out time for your goals FIRST.

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Stop letting the to do list run your life – let happiness drive your schedule and then find time for everything else. If you do what is in alignment with your happiness first, then everything else will fall into place and you will be in a better mood completing the rest of your daily tasks.

Too many times we let everything and everyone run our life, putting happiness off for another time. I am sure if you are reading this, then you are familiar with this concept.

Stop putting off your happiness today and begin thinking about how you want to look and feel at the end of your life. That will put your moments into perspective for you.

Perspective

What is your current belief system and how are your thoughts hindering your ability to achieve your goals and aspirations?

Most people are not very good at identifying their WOES and because of this, they are unable to make progress in their life.

Often times, we can get the outcome we desire if we have the ability to change our mindset and alter our perception. When we make this alteration, we move around the circumstances we thought were once immobile, and then we find a path to the solution that we desire.

Change your perception to get your end result. Question your belief system – are your thoughts your own or someone else’s? Are these thoughts helping you achieve your goals or are they hindering your progress? Make these identifications and then alter your perception to get what you want from life – happiness.

If you are having difficulty changing your perception and developing a positive mindset, then a step-by-step guide to cultivating a positive mindset might be beneficial:

How to Cultivate a Positive Mindset (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Power

You have control over how you think, feel, and your end result. Be deliberate. Direct your thoughts to align with how you want to feel at the end of your life.

You already have the ability to be successful, to be happy and fulfilled. You must allow yourself to have the power in your own life. Give up the belief system that life is happening to you, and that circumstances are controlling your life.

When we gain control and hold the power of our own lives, we can envision our future and create anything that we want. What are you seeing – Exhaustion or Energy?

You

This is YOUR life! This is not your parent’s life, your boss’s life, your kid’s life or your spouse’s life. This is YOUR life and you are the only one who knows what drives your spark and what brings you true joy. Nobody else can tell you how you feel and what to do with your own life.

The only choice that you need to make is to choose the happy path. The only way that we can live in a better world is if each of us chooses to put our true necessity first and that is joy.

The decisions you are making today and tomorrow are creating your future and your end product. Self-care is not selfish, it is essential to living the best life for yourself and everyone that you meet.

How do you want to feel at the end of your life? Decide it now and in every moment from here on out. Are you exhausted or are you exhilarated?

The Bottom Line

The best way to get HAPPY is to identify your warning signs. Acknowledge your reactions and monitor your feelings and emotions, then take action!

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Make the choice to living a happy-centered life. Enjoyment and exhilaration should be the life that you desire today and tomorrow – it should be your end goal.

More Resources About Happiness

Featured photo credit: Alicia Jones via unsplash.com

More by this author

Jacqueline Battaglia

Growth Coach, Blogger, and Creator of Life is Duck Soup. My approach will help you get to your next potential level, follow your HAPPY path and enjoy each moment fully.

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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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