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10 Habits of Really Happy Couples

10 Habits of Really Happy Couples
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It seems like a happy relationship should come naturally when you’re with the right person, but that’s not true. Relationships require work. Happy couples have to maintain their relationships every day with love and care, but it’s not as daunting of a task as it may seem. There’s no real “secret” to having a happy relationship, but there are things you can do to make it all come more easily. Try to integrate these habits into your daily life and see how much happier your relationship can be.

1. Go to bed at the same time.

I used to think it was silly to want to go to bed at the same time as my partner, but it does wonders for your relationship! If one of us stays up later than the other, our whole evening feels off. There’s something cozy about sliding under the covers together, talking about what happened during the day or what’s on the list for tomorrow. My fiancé works the night shift, and without realizing it, my schedule also changed until I was a night owl, doing my freelance work during the late hours while he was at his job. When he came home early in the morning, I’d go to bed with him just to get that connection you can only get from sleeping and waking up together.

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2. Cultivate common interests.

It’s important to keep your own hobbies when you’re part of a couple, of course, because you want to stay true to yourself and not change your personality. But you and your partner can cultivate common interests without changing who either of you are, and it will make your relationship stronger as a result. I love reading and writing, which are typically solitary hobbies, but my fiancé doesn’t hesitate to grab a book and sit next to me on the couch, or he’ll write a story too, and we can give each other feedback. He loves painting, and I can hardly draw a stick figure, but when he asks me to help him with a painting, I love to try and do my best with bright streaks of color. As a result, we’ve both found that it doesn’t matter what you do together (or in the case of my painting attempts, how well you do it), just that you’re doing enjoyable things together.

3. Walk hand in hand.

My hatred of hand-holding started in elementary school, when you had to hold hands with a buddy so you wouldn’t get lost on a field trip. Since then, I’ve never held hands with anyone and not gotten immediately sweaty palms. It’s one of the worst feelings! With my partner, though, I love holding hands. It makes me feel so happy and connected to him just to hold hands as we walk through the neighborhood, or even around the grocery store. Even if we don’t hold hands, we keep pace and walk side by side. I find that more often than not, my hand either finds his, or I slide my arm around his waist. There’s something really nice about walking perfectly in step with your partner.

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4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode.

It’s so easy to fight about stupid nothings and hold a grudge, but that’s not the way to be happy in a relationship. You have to forgive your partner after a fight, even if it’s something major. You might feel like they’ve betrayed your trust, but if you don’t give them another chance, then your relationship can never feel natural again. There will always be a rift because you don’t trust your partner, and feel like any time your back is turned, they’ll be doing something hurtful. On the other side, your partner won’t feel loved in the relationship because they’ll have never gotten your full forgiveness. Let your heart love easier by truly forgiving and honestly trusting your partner.

5. Focus on what your partner does right, not wrong.

No one likes a nit-pick! Don’t chastise your partner every time you think they do something wrong. There are nice ways to inform someone if they hurt your feelings, or to correct them if they do something in a bad way. But instead of yelling at your partner for breaking a plate, thank them for washing the dishes for you—hey, soap makes things slippery! Your partner will appreciate that you’re seeing the positive things they’re bringing to the relationship, and being more positive and complimentary will make you feel better than being negative all the time.

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6. Hug each other when you see each other after work.

This one is easy—who doesn’t want to melt into a comforting hug after a hard day? And if you had a good day, share your excitement with a hug. You can’t beat ’em. And once you start hugging, you’ll feel so much happier that you’ll find it easier to make time to cuddle with your partner instead of getting stressed by the things you need to get done around the house.

7. Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning.

Another easy tip! Saying sweet words to each other is never a waste of breath. My fiancé and I say “I love you” any time we part—whether it’s on the phone, when he leaves for work, when I run an errand. It makes you feel much happier, and is always a good note to end on when you go about your days.

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8. Say “Good night” every night, regardless of how you feel.

Same with “Have a good day,” saying “Good night” when you and your partner go to bed puts a nice, loving haze on the end of the day. My fiancé and I have a nightly routine we say before falling asleep. I won’t reveal it here because it’s special to us, but it includes “Good night,” “I love you,” and other nice phrases that make you feel good and inspire sweet dreams!

9. Do a “weather” check during the day.

A “weather” check is where you call your partner during the day to see how they are. A caring phone call or text can really brighten their day and show them that you’re thinking of them. As an added bonus, it gives you a heads up about how their day is going. If they’re having a tough time, you can curb your happiness about a work promotion and be more sympathetic as soon as you get home. You can tailor your attitude to make them feel that much better when you both get home.

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10. Be grateful for what you have.

This is the simplest tip of all, because if you’re in a relationship, you clearly value your partner. Be thankful that you have someone you love who loves you back. Be thankful that they help you with household chores and support you during tough times and cheer you on during the good times. Look at your partner as much as you can and just smile that you have them by your side.

Featured photo credit: Ganesha Balunsat via flickr.com

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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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