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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

How to Stop Dwelling on the Past and Move on for Good

How to Stop Dwelling on the Past and Move on for Good
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If there’s a thing or two that pain will teach you in this lifetime, it’s how it feels to swim and how it feels to sink. We must learn both. We must make this discovery because without determining how much effort it takes to keep our head afloat, or even understand how it feels to hit rock bottom, we will not truly understand our power. 

With that power, we can break away from the past and stop dwelling.

Dwelling on the past means reading the same chapter over and over again while expecting the ending to change. It’s reopening wounds and allowing opportunities for self-sabotage. Dwelling on the past is the biggest roadblock from moving forward, and life will move forward whether you’re on board with it or not.

No matter what we do, time will continue to tick, and days will begin to pass. The morning will turn to night, seasons will change, and years will pass with or without our consent. I get it, letting go is easier said than done. It may take some time, but the first step is the willingness to take that step.

“1. You must let the pain visit.
2. You must allow it to teach you.
3. You must not allow it to overstay.”
— Ijeoma Umebinyuo, three routes to healing

When you begin to recognize that it’s time to move on, then you are letting the universe know that you are ready to accept and welcome change. Change is nothing to be scared about, because without change, there is no flow.

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Here’s how to stop dwelling on from the past and move on for good.

1. Remember You Are the Author of Your Own Story

Look at it like this – you are the author of your book; this book is your whole life, and you are writing it as we speak. In this book, there are chapters, and each chapter tells the story of that particular year. For example, chapter 14 is a chapter that tells the tale of when you were 14-years-old, and chapter 30 is when you were thirty-years-old. Like a novel, each chapter introduces a series of supporting characters and events that will shake up your world. These supporting characters come in the form of friends, lovers, colleagues, and family members, all who are here to help the growth of the protagonist.

Now take a look at this book and see which chapter you are currently dwelling on. How many chapters have you written since then? How many chapters have you written before that? Now, how many times have you dwelled on the same chapter expecting the ending to change?

We have the power to write the ending to whatever we please, but we must keep writing our story. No one else will write it and can write it for you. Always remember that.

2. Own Your Mistakes and Grow from Them

The true art of letting go is ownership. This includes owning up to the mistakes you have made, acknowledging the imperfections we all have as humans, and opening yourself to grow from them.

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but studies show that forgiveness can lead to lower stress and anxiety levels.[1] Forgiveness is a powerful tool for your self-growth and one of the most beneficial tools to prevent you from dwelling on the past.

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Learn to forgive others, and yourself: How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. You Can Only Connect the Dots Going Backward

In life, there will be moments when you realize that things had to unfold the way that they did. You will begin to understand why certain things didn’t work in your favor, but connection will become clear in due time.

Dwelling on the past also means resisting what’s in store for you. Trust the process and give yourself some credit for coming this far.

4. Better Things Await

Our energy may be finite, but the possibilities of what we can achieve in this lifetime are infinite. Remember that you are using energy when you dwell, when you worry, or when you become angry. What’s exhausting is focusing on things that are out of your control.

Letting go is easier said than done, but like the muscles in our human body, this takes time to build and trust. The beautiful thing about letting go is that you are making room for new things in your life.

Change does happen for a reason, and sometimes, it’s resistance that’s preventing it from manifesting.

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5. Honor Yourself

When you look back on some of our life choices, are there a few that stand out? Ones that usually start with the phrase, “what if?”

Before we go down that never-ending rabbit hole, ask yourself if you were honoring yourself during that specific period of your life. The needs and wants when you were 23 are probably not the same priorities you have today. Our financial requirements, job expectations, qualities in a partner, and our life necessities all evolve with change. If there’s ever a moment you find yourself dwelling because of a decision you made in the past, remember that you were honoring yourself and what you needed then.

Let go, move on, and start honoring yourself today.

5. Get Inspired by Others

Who doesn’t love a great success story? Watching Ted Talks, Goalcast, inspirational documentaries, and reading autobiographies is a great way to fuel your inspiration. Every hero and successful leader has a story of their own. Stephen King’s first novel was rejected 30 times before being published, Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, and Steven Spielberg couldn’t get into his dream film school. One must go on a journey in order to find your life’s purpose.

Watch this inspirational speech by the co-founder of The Manifesting Academy, Sarah Prout, as she shares how she overcame 10 years of suffering and went from welfare to multi-millionaire:

6. Meditate on What You Want Today

As we change, our dreams can change. One way to stop dwelling on the past is to focus on the future, and that works if we live presently today. A vision board is an empowering tool to help you gain clarity by re-shifting your focus on your goals. You can never move forward by moving backward. You can only move forward if you have a vision to work toward.

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Final Thoughts

“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” — Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential.

Your past is only a part of you and by no means the definition of you. You are currently evolving, learning, and nourshing yourself to be the best version you can be. Learn from the past, but never live there.

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More About Letting Go

Featured photo credit: Havilah Galaxy via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Hopkins Medicine: Forgiveness: Your Health Depends on It

More by this author

Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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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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