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10 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Mental Power

10 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Mental Power
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So you want to be mentally tough like the Spartan Warriors from the movie 300?

Yes, the legend of the Spartan Warriors is a prime example of being persevering despite the obstacles. Having their mental strength is a trait few have obtained through years of practice and pushing through boundaries.

Chances are, you won’t be a Spartan Warrior anytime soon. But if you want to think and increase your mental power like one, here are 10 things you can do to get started.

1. Have A Positive Mindset

When the going gets tough, the tough get going (think 80’s star Billy Ocean).

Difficult times are a chance to find out what we are truly made of. To start developing strong mental power, write down your goals and what you set to accomplish. Focus on obtaining these goals and believe they can be achieved. Having a positive mindset will give you the confidence needed to overcome any challenges you may face and get what you want in life.

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2. Focus on What You Can Do, Not What Others Can Do.

There will be people in life who will do whatever they can to hold you back. They are envious of you and want what you have. If you spend your time on what they say or do, it takes away your focus on achieving your goals. That’s what they want. Ignore their opinions and stay on track by being present. Observe what is happening right now. The past is the past and the future is unknown. By staying present, you can focus on yourself and whats important now.

3. Develop Short Term Memory Loss

So there is no mind eraser tool from Men In Black that can magically erase every defeat we have suffered.

    Practicing short term memory loss though is beneficial to better mental power. In football, a great defensive player has to develop a case of “amnesia.” Players often get beat by their opponents and in order to play at a high level, they must shake off defeat and move on to the next play. This takes practice but can be a huge advantage for you. When you get beat, forget about it. Pick yourself up, dust off and move on to the next play. There is always another play.

    4. Sit in Silence

    In today’s world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with work and life. When feeling overwhelmed, a great sign of strong mental power is the ability to tune out the noise and sit in silence. It will help you view things differently with less emotion and ego. Create a space where you can sit in silence for 5 minutes a day. Turn off the electronics, sit comfortably, and focus on your breathing. You will find yourself feeling calm and relaxed during the session. As you continue to practice, work up to 30 minutes a day as you will gain more clarity and insight into your life.

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    Read more about the additional benefits of sitting in silence.

    5. Practice Patience

    They say patience is a virtue and boy it sure is. Today, we are so used to having things right now that we forget what it means to have patience and let things develop. So if you are in the middle of a project, in the beginning of dating someone, or starting a new workout program, trust the process. It’ll make it worthwhile because all good things come to those who wait.

    6. Learn from Failures

    We tend to see failure as the worst thing possible. But those with strong mental power see failure as a learning experience. Failure brings clarity to situations. We learn the most when we are not successful. If you have experienced failure, think about what you would have done differently and apply it to the next project.

    If nothing else, everybody loves somebody who can do the worm.

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      7. Visualize the Win

      Successful people with strong mental power are always looking to improve. They see failures as temporary setbacks, not career ending events. It starts with visualizing success. Imagine whatever you are doing whether its presenting a powerpoint deck or writing a novel and see that it will be successful. Envision giving a killer presentation or the book you wrote will be a best seller. It will boost your confidence and help you strive to achieve anything and everything you want in life.

      8. Always Strive to Finish

      We all have been here. We are at the gym and set the treadmill for 30 minutes but we end up jumping off halfway through because we don’t feel like finishing. We think completing half a workout is better than not doing anything at all.

      Yes, it’s better to do something than nothing at all but if you want to increase mental power, you can not stop halfway through. It may not seem like a big deal but if you are finishing half way through a workout, what else are you stopping short of in other areas of your life? Next time you are headed to the gym or to work, set a goal that is obtainable. Jump on the treadmill and no matter how tired you are, finish the 30 minute session. A trademark of mentally strong people is that they never quit and finish no matter what. Always strive to finish.

      9. Do Something Outside of Your Comfort Zone

      We all have that one friend who is always looking for the next adventure. They suggest skydiving over the coastline, quitting your job to go backpacking in South America, or anything that brings on a rush.

      And usually, we respond with this:

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        I don’t blame you for saying no but think about how many times you have said no to something new. While you don’t have to do something crazy like jumping out of a plane, its great for your personal growth to do something that makes you uncomfortable. A big part of increasing your mental power is pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Living comfortably can keep you from progressing as an individual and living the life you want to live.

        So the next time your friend suggest a new adventure, say yes instead of no. You never know what may happen or who you will meet.

        10. Enjoy the Ride

        It is not about the destination but the journey. All things come to an end. What we will remember most are the hours we put into a new business idea, the time spent with friends that created memories and the struggles faced that have us sitting on top of the world.

        Enjoy the ride folks. You only get to do it once.

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        Featured photo credit: Be Strong Like A Spartan Warrior via i.kinja-img.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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