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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

10 Things Unhappy People Do That You Shouldn’t Be Doing

10 Things Unhappy People Do That You Shouldn’t Be Doing
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Living an unhappy lifestyle only leads to a wasted lifetime. Life is short, so why waste a minute feeling upset about things that you can’t control?

While we should all embrace our negative emotions instead of neglecting them, don’t let your sadness linger.

If you want to live a happier life, take notes of what unhappy people do so you know what to avoid.

1. They seek approval from others.

Unhappy people look for happiness in the wrong places. They spend their time focusing on what others think of them, when they should focus on themselves. An unhappy person concentrates on trying to please others, in an effort to gain approval.

This is something we should refrain from doing. You cannot always gain approval from others, nor can you tailor your beliefs to suit others. You will only find dissatisfaction in this. To be happy you must put yourself and your beliefs first. Do what makes you happy and not what others will approve others.

2. They need to be in control of everything.

Unhappy people need to feel like they are in control. They want to ensure they know every detail, to enable them to have full control. They believe that by having full control, they have the ability to stop any negative side effects.

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But you cannot control everything. Life is uncertain and unpredictable, meaning you cannot prepare against everything. When you go into full control mode, you find that you waste too much energy. Yet in the end, things can change and your efforts are wasted. So don’t spend all your time focusing on every detail. Accept that you cannot control everything. Try your best and let whatever happens, happen.

3. They don’t take risks.

Unhappy people have a habit of not taking risks. When they handed opportunities they often decline the invite, or find excuses not to. For example, a friend may ask them if they want to go go-karting at the weekend. An unhappy person’s first response would be whether they can afford it, or how scary go-karting seems like (how risky it is). Their own fear stops them from taking that opportunity, thus not taking a risk. The problem with this is the more you decline, the more fearful a situation becomes.

You need to let go and take risks to be happy. Saying no to life’s opportunities only stops you from living your life fully. So don’t let excuses hold you back, if you can do it, then go ahead!

4. They focus on what they don’t have.

Unhappy people see the negatives in life, their main focus being what they don’t have. They tell themselves, “if only I had this job, I’d be happier” or “if only I had more time, I could focus on my real talents”. Unhappy people believe that they need something they don’t have to be happier. Their focus remains on these things they don’t have, making their everyday life boring and unsatisfying.

Maybe it would be better if you had a different job or you had more time on your hands. But that shouldn’t stop you from living in the now. If you did get that dream job, there will always be something more you want (more money, more time and so forth).

You need to remember to focus on what you do have, or what is good in your current situation. Do you have great friends and family around you? Do you have a roof over your head and money so you can pay bills? Use that time and energy spent on dreaming about a different life and enjoy what you have.

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5. They don’t follow their heart.

Unhappy people have a way of focusing on the details. Because of this they tend to think about things logically, using their brain and not their heart. They ignore their gut instinct and choose to think things through, weighing out the pros and cons.

Yet what do the movies tell you? Do they tell you to list the pros and cons? No, they tell you to follow your heart to be happy. The pros and cons may tell you not to go to your friend’s birthday party, but what if your heart told you otherwise?

Your heart is the key to your happiness. You should trust it to guide you to what you want in life. So next time you need to make a decision, listen to your gut instinct.

6. They see only the negatives.

If you haven’t already gathered, unhappy people see only the negatives in life. Their whole outlook on life is that the world is a miserable place. They don’t see the positives in life, like the goods things in their life. They see only the negatives in life, like what they don’t have and what is going wrong in their life. This makes unhappy people pessimistic.

When faced with challenges in life, you shouldn’t focus on the negatives. I know easier said than done, but you really should try looking at the focuses in a situation.

Have you gained anything out of this situation? Perhaps that lost job opportunity means you have a shot at a better job. Sometimes it may seem like there are only negative results, however you can still find the positives. Just think, what have you gained from this experience? Has this taught you more about yourself and what you like? Has it provided you with the skills to be more prepared next time? Remember, you can always find a positive in a situation.

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7. They hold on to grudges.

Unhappy people don’t let go of grudges and instead hold onto the painful memory. They ask themselves questions like “What if…” and “Why did this happen?” They find it hard to connect with people who have wronged them and find it difficult to forgive them. Instead they choose to dwell on what others have done and the hurt they have felt.

You should never be unhappy because of something someone has done to you. Yes, it might be unfair and totally unjustified. You might wish you had said or acted differently, or that the wronged person would apologise. But it is wrong to think this way. It is wrong to let something in the past take over your life today.

Don’t let someone else’s actions or words control how you feel today. You are the one that will suffer by holding onto this painful memory. Learn to forget and forgive, because you deserve to be happy today.

8. They don’t take responsibility.

Unhappy people blame others when something goes wrong. Instead of taking responsibility, they will point their finger at someone. They might say something like, “If it wasn’t for Josie, I wouldn’t have stayed out late and made it to my morning lecture”.

What you should be doing is taking responsibility. By pointing the finger at someone else, you are unable to admit you did wrong. Soon, the blaming spirals out of control and you are blaming everything on someone else. Accept when you are wrong and learn from your mistakes. You cannot learn if you don’t see you are at fault.

9. They hang around the wrong crowd.

Unhappy people draw in others of their kind. It is said that you attract the energy you give, thus negative people attract more negative people. And being around negative people will lower your mood, giving you a more sombre outlook on life.

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If you want to be happy, don’t let yourself be surrounded by negative people. Negative people will drain your energy and influence you into a negative attitude. Only allow positive people to be around you, people who will spur you on, not focus on your flaws.

10. They don’t enjoy the present.

Unhappy people focus on the negatives in life. They look at what they don’t have and the negative experiences they have had. Because they are lost in their bitter memories, they are unable to focus on the present moment. With their thoughts preoccupying them, they are unable to have fun and let go.

True happiness is living in the present moment, to be able to have fun and enjoy life today. What happened in the past, or what may happen in the future, does not matter. You should enjoy this moment now. Get involved in conversation around you or simply watch those around you.

Enjoy this very moment you are in.

More About Living a Happy Life

Featured photo credit: Trym Nilsen via unsplash.com

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Jessica Charlotte

Jessica loves sharing her tips on life. She writes about happiness and motivation on Lifehack.

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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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