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10 Everyday Moments Only Truly Happy People Would Understand

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10 Everyday Moments Only Truly Happy People Would Understand

It is often said that life is enjoyed in the everyday, small moments. It is also said that for happy people the small everyday moments are as abundant as the oxygen we breathe. Yet, many of us struggle to live in the moment and savor the many, many enjoyable, available and repeating events in our lives. Let’s take a moment and try to find some of these everday things and relish in them.

1. The moment that your dog jumps up to hug you.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings (a.k.a. Henry Wheeler Shaw; humorist and lecturer)

Many of you may who have a dog, probably seen this phenomenon. You wake up with your eyes barely open and you feel two pairs of paws reaching up at you. It seems like your dog has not seeing you in a year! To them, it might as well have been a year. Dogs are extremely social and loving animals and their affection is genuine towards their owners, and even visitors or guests.

It is an everyday moment that must not be ignored or minimized. It is worth every second to kneel down and give your dog a hug. It is a moment that you can savor everyday, and each time it happens. In fact, the more you do this, the more it will become a routine with your dog and who could not use a hug everyday? Hugs are warm, simple, and easy, so get on those knees and embrace your dog with all your might. Savor this moment and recognize how much this simple activity will put a smile on your face and warm your heart.

2. The moment a stranger unexpectedly says hello and smiles at you

“Yellow circles are friendly. Especially smiley faces.” – Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

Ah, the power of a smile and a hello. When I moved from California to Indiana, I was completely shocked by something. My wife and I started searching for a home and we’d drive through countless neighborhoods looking for “for sale” signs. As we would drive around, complete strangers would wave and wave. I would turn to my wife every time and ask, “do you know them? why are they waving at you?” She would say, “I don’t know them. They’re just being friendly.” For me, it was shocking every time. After four years of living in Indiana, I am still not used to it. I still get confused when someone says hello at the local coffee shop.To make it even more complicated, they smile too! I have actually had a couple of experiences where someone paid for our dinner and our coffee at the local Starbucks.

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There is beauty and innocence in the act of smiling and saying hello to people. I would even say it’s a custom that is disappearing. Please don’t let it disappear from your life. Make it a challenge every day to smile and/or say hello to someone. It does not have to turn into a conversation or into a commitment of any kind. It is simply a way of extending some friendliness and also receiving some back! Try it, and enjoy it!

3. The moment that you miss a friend, a family member, or a spouse.

“Can miles truly separate you from friends…. If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there?” – Richard Bach

I know this one through and through.. If you don’t have anyone to “miss”, then you need to work on that! Although it is not by default a pleasant feeling, it feels so wonderful to want to talk to or be with someone that you love. For many years, I lived close to my family in California, but over the last four years, I have learned to value “missing” them. That let’s me know that I truly love them and value them. It is not that I didn’t love or value them before, but distance does make the heart grow fonder. Now, I look forward to planning my trips out to California, plus purposefully calling them and video-calling them has become a priority.

Missing someone could also happen when someone is close to you. Missing someone means you see the value that person has in your life. They mean more than just another body, another voice in your household, or another voice at your job. It’s another set of experiences, another set of thoughts and laughs that they add to your life. When you get that feeling of missing someone, let it remind you that you value something about that relationship and then let them know how much you are missing them!

4. The moment that you realize you can sing like Mick Jagger – in the shower.

“If you’ve got nothing to dance about, find a reason to sing.” – Melody Carstairs

You have sung in the shower before. We all have. It’s like admitting we’ve all pretended to be Michael Jordan on the basketball court at one time or another. Although all of us could use some singing lessons, there is an absolute flow of happiness and joy from singing your favorite song, either in the shower, or in your car. Hey, maybe even at a party or with a karaoke machine. My wife tells me all the time she wishes she could sing. I know she can, actually. She can carry a tune pretty well.

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So, take your favorite song, and simply sing along to it. Yes, you probably won’t sing it perfectly, but let your voice ring and let your heart sing. You are Mick Jagger in that moment singing “I can’t get no satisfaction”, all the while getting some satisfaction.

5. The moment that you see the neighborhood birds hopping along your sidewalk without a care in the world.

 “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I see this one often. My wife’s family loves watching birds. I grew up chasing pigeons away from our porch because they would eat the grass seed my dad would put on the grass. I have to admit, though, that watching birds is truly peaceful. Here’s why: we can absorb their peace and their pace. I watch birds as they walk along the sidewalk, not in a hurry, not in an impatient cadence, but in a calm and curious demeanor. They hop, they look around, hop again, and then they fly to a nearby branch. Then they repeat that sequence. Sometimes, they’ll chase each other around. I like to guess what they’d be saying to each other.

It’s truly magnificent. I especially love to watch falcons as they glide over the trees and the meadows, seemingly without a worry. There is an absence of frustration. There is an absence of doubt. But, there is a presence of confidence and patience. We could all use more of that in our lives!

6. The moment that you feel that warm coffee or latte in the early morning on your taste buds.

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” – Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

This is my favorite. Since I was a child, my family has the tradition of drinking coffee as a way to relax and enjoy the day. I have a very vivid picture in my mind of my mother sitting at the kitchen counter just sipping on her morning coffee – without a care in the world. I guess I picked that up from her. It may seem counter intuitive, but drinking a well-prepared cup of coffee is the best way to start my day. It’s the warmth of the coffee and the taste. I personally like mine with a good amount of cream and sweetened. Some people say I like coffee with my sugar, and that’s okay. It works for me. Some people love their tea in the morning. That’s good as well!

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Here’s the point: it’s more about enjoying the simple act of sipping on a warm, great-tasting beverage and taking the time to enjoy it. I also like to look at the steam rising from the cup. Like my mom, I drink coffee to think and to simply be. I like to drink coffee while I drive somewhere, or while I read a book because it is a reminder for me to relax and slow down. No, you definitely do not need Starbucks every day of the week, but a simple cup Folgers does it for me.

7. The moment that you finish your workout and feel truly empowered.

“You would be surprised what two hours of daily exercise and five hundred stomach crunches can do for you.” – Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

I remember walking into the Fontana boxing gym in Fontana, California. I had researched this boxing gym online and I had talked to the trainer about what training would involve. If you have ever dared to try boxing for a workout, then I congratulate you. My trainer told me that the reason boxers look the way they do is that they are the best trained athletes in the world. It is 100% true. I dared myself to enter the lion’s den and train like a boxer would. Yes, I was scared. Yes, I almost decided not to go. Yes, I was scared all over again – every time I went!

But, here’s what happened. I felt so empowered and confident once I survived the first training session. Not only did I learn how to push myself beyond what I ever thought was possible, I also learned to shut off the negative thinking that kept telling me I couldn’t throw any more punches, or that my legs couldn’t take another lunge. I was wrong every time. My body could take it and outperform itself every time. That did wonders for my psychological health. Plus, it didn’t hurt to have my trainer yelling at me not to “pitty pat” his punching bags. That made me into a real boxer, even if only for that one hour.

8. The moment that you open a book without knowing where it’s going to take you.

“You’re never alone when you’re reading a book.” – Susan Wiggs

Beginning to read a book is like opening a present. You never know what it’s going to be! I’ll admit I haven’t always been a voracious reader. Lately, I’ve been increasing my reading appetite by recognizing that I can learn so many wonderful life lessons by reading books. I have even started to listen to audio books on YouTube. If you are wondering what kind of books you like to read, try several kinds. You might be surprised that you enjoy reading self-help books, or that you enjoy reading political books. I would recommend buying used books, which sometimes are literally discounted almost 90% off the new list price. You have nothing to lose, except the endless possibilities of what you could learn, experience, or imagine.

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Don’t try to read for too long, if you cannot stomach it at first. Start with one page, and keep that up as long as you can. Then, move up to two pages and so on. Give yourself this gift of stimulating your mind. Television can be great, but reading makes your mind decipher, use it’s creativity and imagination. It’s a much better diet than having everything created for it with television.

9. The moment that you realize you have stinky feet.

I like to walk around with bare feet and I don’t like to comb my hair.”- Beyonce Knowles

This one probably has you scratching your head. Why would stinky feet be a moment happy people appreciate? Well, it points to the reality that you are not perfect – and that’s a good thing! First, it’s a healthy perspective to see yourself as less than perfect. It will also help you realize that other people aren’t perfect either. As my uncle used to say, if you really like a girl and want to ask her out, imagine her stinky feet. She’ll seem less intimidating and more on your level. It definitely worked on several occasions! I would invite you to laugh and smile at your stinky feet because it takes you back to the time when you were a little boy or girl full of innocence and simplicity.

10. The moment that you see your spouse walk through the door.

“Your spouse is that special person God provided to walk with you until the game of life ends.” – Christian Maciel

I’ve read a Men’s Health article that explained one explicit trait of an awesome wife. One of the most striking concepts of the article was that when your wife walks through the door and it makes you nervous – that means you have an awesome wife. I could not agree more. If you feel that slight nervousness or excitement when you see your wife or husband, then you have something there that maybe most relationships do not have. One of the most beautiful experiences that human beings can enjoy is an awesome relationship. If you feel your marriage or relationship is lacking in this regard, seek some inspiration, or even help.

Marriage is something to protect, build and to enjoy. If you are not doing one of these three things, then you could be missing out on an awesome marriage. The next time your spouse walks through the door, think back to the time when you first saw them and your breath was taken away. What was it that attracted you about them? If you have forgotten that traits, or qualities, do your best to remember. It’ll bring back some wonderful feelings of nervousness and excitement.

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Featured photo credit: Happy beautiful woman playing outdoor, trying to catch snowflakes with her tongue via shutterstock.com

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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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