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Last Updated on August 14, 2020

How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better

How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better
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Asking for the same thing over and over again isn’t fun for anybody. Repeating yourself makes you feel like a nag and makes them feel bad about themselves. Not to mention, it drives you both crazy.

So, how do you break the cycle of nagging?

Learning how to quit nagging and start talking isn’t as complicated as it seems. It’s all about opening up those lines of communication and adjusting your expectations.

Keep reading for 6 easy steps on how to stop nagging and learn how to open a healthy dialogue with your spouse.

1. Watch Your Words

It’s natural to feel exasperated if you feel your spouse isn’t pulling their weight around the house, but the last thing you want to do is put your partner on the defensive. How can you avoid this? Simply put, listen to the way you’re asking your partner for help.

How you think you’re saying things: “Honey, I would really appreciate it if you did the dishes while I’m at work.”

How you’re actually saying things: “How are you so oblivious that you don’t even see those dishes piling up while I’m at work?”

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As we can see from this example, your words and the way you make requests of your spouse matter. Instead of making them feel guilty or belittled, phrase it in a way that makes them feel good.

“I would really appreciate your help with…”

“It always makes me feel good when…”

“You’re my hero when you…”

The above openers are great conversation starters.

2. Don’t Believe in Mind Reading

Men and women have a terrible habit of believing that, after a time, their spouse knows them so well that they should be able to understand what they want without ever having to tell them. This is a cute thought but rarely is it ever true.

Any marriage therapist will tell you that your spouse cannot read your mind. If you need something from them, you need to learn to ask for it.[1]

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You can start by sending out little cues that you want X or Y, but if they don’t catch on by the time you get to Z, it’s time to start communicating with your words.

Not only does this save your spouse from playing a guessing game, but it also saves you a lot of frustration.

3. Make It a Shared Decision

One way to stop nagging and start being proactive is by getting your partner involved.

Problem-solving isn’t something you should do on your own. When you are married or in a serious relationship, you are partners, not parents to each other.

What your job isn’t: Mummying your spouse and telling them what to do.

What your job is: To come together as a couple and work at healthy conflict resolution. Identify the problem you’re having in a kind and respectful manner and then ask your partner to weigh in on how to resolve the conflict at hand.

The keys to great problem-solving are empathy, communication, and listening to each other.

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4. Take a Marriage Course

The need to nag comes down to a fundamental lack of communication in a relationship.[2] When both partners are open and honest about their needs, conversation flows, and partners look for ways to help each other out – instead of being told to do so.

Instead of seeing a marriage therapist, why not take a marriage course?

There are plenty of online courses designed to help couples understand each other better. Topics covered in a popular online marriage course include setting shared goals as a couple, building compassion and empathy, mastering the art of communication, intimacy, and making and sharing traditions.

5. Get Your Partner to Hear You

No partner wants to be a nag, and the argument could be made that if the spouse or child did what they asked the first time, they wouldn’t have to keep bringing it up, which effectively stops nagging.

A fair point!

But harping at people doesn’t usually get the job done – so how DO you get someone to listen without nagging them?

The best way to get your partner to listen to you and avoid ending up in a marriage course for couples on the brink of destruction is to get them to see things from your perspective.[3] Relate your situation to something they can understand.

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One stay-at-home mom and homemaker worked hard to keep her house neat and tidy, but her construction worker husband would come home and walk through the freshly mopped hardwood floors with his dusty work boots on. She asked him to take his boots off repeatedly, but he could never seem to follow through.

One day she said to him, “Keeping the house clean is my job, just like doing drywall is your job. When you come home and walk through the house with your boots on after I just finished cleaning it, it’s as if I came to your construction site and ripped down the drywall you put up that day. Do you see how I could find this to be frustrating?”

The wife used an example the husband could understand, and so he became more empathetic to her desires.

6. Do It Yourself, If Possible

As they say, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

To decrease nagging, ask yourself whether what you’re about to say is worth getting upset over and whether it’s worth taking the task into your own hands.

Sure, it’d be nice if your spouse refilled the compost bag so you don’t have to do it, but the next time you’re getting ready to nag about it, ask yourself: Is a compost bag worth starting World War III over?

If you want to break the cycle of nagging without ending up in the office of a marriage therapist, you need to learn how to rephrase your requests. Speak respectfully and work on building empathy in your relationship. A marriage course can also help build communication and work on your conflict resolution skills.

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Final Thoughts

Communication is key to any relationship, and it’s especially more important for partners. Sometimes, a person may feel like they’re communicating properly, unaware that their partner is already hearing them nagging. These 6 tips will help you stop nagging and communicate better with your partner.

Learn More About Communicating With Your Partner Better

Featured photo credit: Milan Popovic via unsplash.com

Reference

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Sylvia Smith

Sylvia is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships.

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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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