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10 Reasons A Long-Distance Relationship Will Work

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10 Reasons A Long-Distance Relationship Will Work

While relatively high divorce rates and evolving family values appear to be marginalizing the concept of marriage, romance and chivalry remain prominent in contemporary society. A recent story on BBC News underlined this fact, by revealing that a couple have recently begun a relationship after their guide dogs ‘fell in love’ during a training camp in Stoke-on-Trent in the UK.

Research conducted by London-based events company Chillisauce also suggested that today’s generation of men have a keen understanding about the importance of romance, despite the influence of technology and the numerous obstacles that can stand in the way of love. This should offer hope for cynics out there, who remain skeptical about the idea of love and traditional romantic values.

One of the main obstacles that can alter the course of love is distance, as it can be extremely difficult for individuals to enjoy a relationship when they are separated by cities, oceans or continents. It is not impossible to maintain a long-distance relationship, however, so long as each party retains an open mind and keeps the following points in mind:

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1. Maintain Open Lines of Communication

A successful relationship requires the investment of time and attention, whether a couple lives together in the same home, or are separated by geographical barriers. It is therefore crucial that you adopt a proactive approach and strive to keep the lines of communication at all times, initially by scheduling regular telephone calls and communicating through emails and live chat resources. Simply by making a concerted effort and interacting regularly with your partner, a long-distance relationship can thrive for as long as necessary.

2. Embrace Technological Advancements

On a similar note, technological advancement has created an innovative range of affordable, real-time communication methods. Resources such as Skype have subsequently made it easier and cheaper than ever to make international or long-distance calls, meaning that couples can remain in constant contact, regardless of their location. By embracing these developments, there is no reason why your relationship cannot remain strong over time.

3. Maintain a Level Head and Work on Resolving Trust Issues

While communicating regularly with your partner will fortify your long-distance relationship, you will also need to maintain a level head during periods where you are not in contact. Absence can create serious feelings of insecurity and paranoia, especially if your partner has relocated for work purposes and is socializing with new friends and colleagues. You therefore need to confront any trust issues as they arise, and resolve these through honest and direct communication with your partner.

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4. Remember the Reason Why You Formed a Relationship with Your Partner

When dealing with trust issues, you will also need to remain focused on your relationship and the reasons why you engaged romantically with your partner in the first instance. By remembering their unique qualities and the feelings of love that underpin your relationship, you can quickly put your mind at ease and negate any doubt that may exist in your mind. Ultimately, it is important to keep in mind that distance does not automatically alter feelings or an individual’s personal characteristics.

5. Make the Most of Any Time Spent Together

Depending on the precise circumstances of your relationship and the distance involved, the chances are that you will at least get to spend a minimal amount of time with your partner. This must be optimized if your union is to succeed, as it serves as a physical reminder of the nature of your love and the true depths of your feelings. So strive to plan activities in advance, and ensure that you make the most of every single moment together.

6. Keep the Spark of Physical Attraction Alive

Adapting to any transition in your relationship can be difficult, especially if it involves relocation or a lack of time spent together. This can cause genuine feelings of sadness and depression, which in turn can cause you to neglect your personal appearance and develop a negative approach to life. It is important that you remain motivated and energized for the good of the relationship, however, and ensure that the sparks of physical and romantic attraction remain omni-present at all times.

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7. Understand your Romantic and Professional Goals

Succeeding in a long-distance relationship demands a keen sense of assurance and security, as otherwise you will constantly question the union and the long-term intentions of your partner. Ultimately, you must have a clear understanding of your romantic and professional goals, while also taking the time to comprehend those of your partner. This ensures that your relationship will have the best possible chance of survival, while it also confirms that you and your partner share similar goals in life and in love.

8. Consider the Benefits of Time Apart

Often, conducting a long-term relationship relies on your ability to think positively and make the best from a less than ideal situation. If you approach your relationship with an open and forward-thinking mind, for example, it is possible to recognize the benefits of spending time apart from a loved one and use this realization to strengthen the bonds of love and fondness. This takes time, however, so you must also be patient and allow yourself to adapt to your newly enforced circumstances.

9. Be Spontaneous When Possible

While routine and scheduled visits are crucial to the longevity of long-distance relationships, there is always room for spontaneity and adventure in any union. This can help to keep your relationship fresh and exciting, while it also underlines your motivation not to take your partner for granted. So when possible, commit to making surprise and unannounced visits to your partner’s new location, and do not be afraid to send gifts such as flowers and chocolates. On a fundamental level, this should help both you and your partner to adapt to your new circumstances.

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10. Maintain an Active Social Life

You partner may have been the epicenter of your social life, but this does not mean that you have to become a recluse who spends their time waiting by the telephone once they have relocated. In fact, it is important to remain active and commit to enjoying a rich and busy social life even after your partner has moved. This will aid the transition process enormously, while it also helps you to maintain perspective and remain positive about your situation.

Featured photo credit: Young girl on train station says goodbye before catching her 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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