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10 Things Emotionally Resilient People Don’t Do

10 Things Emotionally Resilient People Don’t Do
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Emotional resilience is trendy, so read on. Basically, this means that if you are emotionally resilient, you can bounce back from most setbacks that life can throw at you. In times of stress, failure or even a natural disaster, your emotional resilience will be put to the test. The word ‘resilience’ comes from the Latin word ‘resilio’ which means to bounce back. Business people, social workers and school children can all benefit from this emotional fitness. So, how emotionally fit are you? Let us look at what these people never do because they have a natural talent to cope with the stress of everyday living.

1. They don’t  waste energy on negativity

When these people are in a traffic jam, they accept that it is part of the deal of commuting to work. They are able to take advantage of this and listen to their favourite music on their MP3 or the radio. They realize that their anger, bad mood or temper is not going to change the situation one little bit. It is just another part of acceptance but also an opportunity. They are also able to reflect on what is going well and how grateful they should be. “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.” – Allan Lokos

 2. They don’t reject mindfulness as rubbish

Living in the present and savoring sensations and feelings is the core teaching in mindfulness. Emotionally resilient people know this instinctively or learn it. They use it as a protective shield against the following toxic emotions:

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  • Regrets about past decisions
  • Envy of others’ success
  • Worrying about the future

 3. They don’t let tragedy mark them for life

We all have scars and we all have suffered from tragedy whether it be break ups, illness, bereavement, job loss or mental illness. Now emotionally fit people can see that this adversity is short lived. They have a goal which will enable them to overcome the sadness and become a stronger and more capable person. They see change as an integral part of life and are prepared for some moments of despair, sadness and discomfort. They have often been compared to a bamboo cane in a storm which is bent by the force of the wind but is not broken.

4. They don’t lock themselves away

Emotionally unfit people tend to wallow in their own downward spiral of negativity. But the resilient ones are going to find the time to make real social contact, keep physically fit by going for a walk or a run, and help the less fortunate. They know and savor the fact that these are healthy distractions which are essential for self-care.

5. They don’t limit themselves to one solution

These people are prepared to admit that they see everything through a filter. They look at a problem from many angles and try to think outside the box. They know that their own personal bias can become a default position. That is why they seek to widen their view knowing that they are growing towards empowerment. They are also prepared to wait, rather than seeking answers and quick fix solutions.

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6. They don’t control their impulses

Our impulse control is governed by the size of the orbitofrontal cortex region of the brain. Research shows that people who had a smaller cortex were more subject to more impulsive behavior such as shopping, drinking, smoking, gambling and sex. Emotionally resilient people tend to keep these impulses at bay by thinking about consequences and how they will feel afterwards, when it may be too late.

7. They don’t let time heal

“It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.”- Lena Horne

Time heals sorrow, loss and trauma. But many emotionally unfit people are not prepared to let time take its course. It is as if they wanted to abolish all the pain and suffering with one magic pill. They are more aware of chronological time rather than kairos time. The latter is one of the keys to emotional resilience because it teaches us about the pace with which our personal journey moves forward with all the emotional inheritance we have gathered along the way.

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8. They don’t laugh enough

“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.” – Charlie Chaplin

If you read the book by Drs. Steven and Sybil Wolin called ‘The Resilient Self’ you will learn how humor and laughter play a very important role in helping to build emotional resilience. Humor helps us to see the absurdity of a situation which may be painful. In addition, laughter itself is a physical reaction which can reduce the stress hormone called cortisol and increase the feel good endorphins.

9. They don’t regard happiness as a top priority

Research has shown that where couples are dominated by one partner who is always right, the couple’s happiness was at risk. The preference of being happy rather than always right is a trait of emotionally resilient people.

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10. They don’t persevere enough

If people do not have clear goals, they tend to quit after minor setbacks. But emotionally resilient people can see the bigger picture and can follow an action plan which helps them achieve mini goals. They regard setbacks as minor interruptions. This is why these people never give up. As we have seen emotionally resilient people are able to keep calm and collected in the face of enormous setbacks and not lose their hope or determination. Let us know in the comments below about how you cope with stress and failure.

Featured photo credit: Bamboo in the wind/ Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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