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10 Things Singles Should Do

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10 Things Singles Should Do

While the sanctity of marriage remains a prominent cultural aspect with global relevance, the rate of divorce remains comparatively high in developed economies throughout the world. This is creating a higher volume of singles,who subsequently have a tremendous chance to develop as individuals and significantly better their lives before embracing commitments such as marriage, home-ownership and child rearing.

With this in mind, let’s consider 10 things that you should look to do or accomplish while you are single and before you embark on a long-term relationship:

1. Travel independently and as often as possible

Travelling is a wonderful thing to do whilst you are single. It is one of the few things in life that allows you to have a sense of complete freedom, and travelling independently helps you to optimize this sense of liberty and abandon. By travelling alone you can literally go wherever you wish to in this world, without having to compromise on your experience or the type of holiday’s that you aim to enjoy.

Given that travelling abroad has the potential to expand our horizons and to help us become more rounded individuals, doing so as an individual will enable you to absorb as much cultural knowledge as possible. So long as you are able to choose suitable destinations and purchase insurance coverage that protects you in specific regions of the world, you can travel safely while becoming a more rounded and complete person.

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2. Live Alone as an Independent Adult

Similarly, living alone as a single adult enables you to learn more about yourself in a stressful, intense and satisfying manner. Above all else, it allows you to become comfortable with your own company and live happily in solitude, as you reflect on your life and consider future goals. This will make you far less likely to choose unsuitable romantic partners when you are older, or make relationship decisions that are based ondesperation and a desire not be alone. Given the stress that can be caused by romantic separation and divorce, living alone as a singleton can spare you from considerable heartache and distress in the future.

3. Establish Routines and Coping Mechanisms

They say that humans are creatures of habit, and there is a good reason for this. More specifically, we thrive on routines as it enables us to cope with the stress of our busy and occasionally complicated lives. It is particularly beneficial to develop these physical and emotional routines while you are single because, unlike when you are in a relationship, you are completely independent and only have yourself to rely on.

This is empowering, as you can develop a greater understanding of your psyche and establish routines or psychological coping mechanisms without becoming co-dependent withanother person. You can also become a more rounded and confident individual, who is able to serve as a source of strength and assistance for others.

4. Work out what you want from a Relationship

If there is one most imprtant thing that you should do while you are single, it is to work out what you want from your future partner. This is far easier to do when you are not already in a relationship, as the concepts of time and space enable you to have perspective and develop a clear understanding of what you want in a life partner. It also has additional benefits, as it enables you to break bad dating habits and create good one’s going forward. So not only will you be able to identify a compatible partner when the time comes, but you can also create a favorable impression and afford the relationship the best possible chance of long-term success.

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5. Donate and assist charities

Donating your time and energy to charity can be a life enriching experience. Helping those that are perhaps less fortunate than you, not only ensures that you appreciate what you do have, but also what you do not actually need. It may even change your perspective on the aspects of your life which are actually important to you. This is a particularly wonderful thing to do whilst you are single as you will have the freedom to donate as much of your free time or disposable income as you wish; without having to consider any social engagements your partner may wish to attend.

There is a whole wealth of volunteering opportunities out there, while there are a number of socially conscious brands that deliver initiatives that you should be aware of.By taking part in initiatives such as TNT’s Christmas drive to offer the free delivery of donated goods and items, you can help those less fortunate than yourself and aid your personal growth in the process.

6. Listen to your gut and go on spontaneous adventures

Once you embark on a long-term relationship, you can encumber a number of responsibilities including marriage, home-ownership and raising children. Although these are varied in their nature, they are bound by financial obligations and the need to budget your income in a responsible and productive manner. As a singleton you are free from such restrictions, however, meaning that you have a unique opportunity to indulge your passions and achieve more selfish, potentially irresponsible goals.

The more you invest in care-free and self-centered experiences when you are single, the more content you will become to settle down and embrace the responsibilities associated with adult relationships.

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7. Save Money on a Regular Basis

On a similar note, the financial responsibilities associated with owning a home or raising children can make it extremely difficult to save money. So while saving money while you are single may be challenging, you may never have a better opportunity to reduce your monthly expenditure, invest your disposable income and focus on your life goals.

With the average rate of disposable income set to rise in line with global economic expansion throughout 2015, singleton’s will have an even greater opportunity to save their hard-earned cash on a regular basis. Saving when you are single and able allows you to lay the foundations for future financial security, while making it easier to accomplish goals once you have embarked on a relationship, such as purchasing a home or planning a wedding.

8. Achieve the Ideal Work-life Balance

You cannot hope to save or achieve financial stability without a regular source of income, whether you are single or in a relationship. Managing your career development alongside a relationship or life as a parent can be particularly challenging, however, as you must divide the same amount of time between a wider range of activities. It is therefore important to develop your career as aggressively as possible as a singleton, while also determining a suitable work-life balance to create a seamless and productive everyday routine. If you can achieve this, you will find it far easier to embark on a successful relationship and fulfill your additional responsibilities as a partner, spouseand parent.

9. Learn New Skills or Achieve Academic Goals

In addition to addressing your work-life balance, you may also want to use your time as a singleton to pursue new skills and academic achievements. This is far harder to do when in a relationship, due to the cost of private or adult education and the amount of time that is required to learn effectively. Not only do you have a clear career focus when single, but you also have the time and disposable income to acquire specific skills and qualifications that will boost your fledgling career. So while some people may consider age to be the primary barrier to learning new skills, it is in fact individual life circumstances and the pressures of embarking on a romantic liaison.

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10. Spend time with your Closest and Dearest Friends

Friendship is a powerful and persuasive bond, but one that can suffer when you devote time and effort into building a romantic relationship. It is therefore crucial that you spend as much time as possible with your closest friends while you are single, as this can be easily balanced alongside your working schedule and any recreational hobbies that you may have. This not only enables you to live in the moment and make the most of your long-term platonic relationships, but it also helps to create viable routines for spending time with friends and loved ones in the future.

Featured photo credit: Kafubra via en.wikipedia.org

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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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