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10 Things You Should Say “Yes” to More Often for a More Fulfilling Life

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10 Things You Should Say “Yes” to More Often for a More Fulfilling Life

In this busy, fast-paced world of limited time and attention, a lot of us are quick to just say “no.” “No thanks!” “No time!” “Over-booked!” “Not one more thing!” But here are some common “no” areas that you might just want to say “yes” to. They’re worth the time, and they can improve your life.

1. Say “Yes!” to travel.

Any travel is good. It’s a chance to see some great scenery, mix things up a little, maybe even get out of a rut. If you really want to experience some growth and a new perspective, I recommend traveling outside the country (and not just for a touristy vacation).

My eyes were opened when I moved down to Mexico for a semester in college through a student exchange program. Not only did I meet people who talked differently and did things differently, I learned how people looked at things differently. Suddenly your world looks a little different when you’re on the outside looking in.

2. Say “Yes!” to fundraisers.

“Quick!” “Close the door!” “Walk the other way!” “Don’t pick up the phone!” Does this sound like your response to fundraisers? My family hated fundraisers. When we had band fundraisers, we’d buy up all the chocolate so that we could make the minimum quota without having to “bother” anyone else. (And then no one would else would have an excuse to hit us up, too!)

This seemed to work just fine, until now—I’ve realized that I am now a grown adult who is afraid to ask anyone for anything! Just like that chocolate experience, I feel I’m offering something others wouldn’t want—that I’m imposing on them—even though I have wonderful, valuable services to offer!

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Fundraisers are an opportunity to experience the cycle of giving and receiving. When we block ourselves off from participating on either side, we lose the opportunity to practice asking and to practice giving. We lose the chance to offer value and to receive value from others. We are also asking for their help, for their support or we are offering it.

I’m not saying that you should buy things you don’t want or even support every fundraiser that comes your way. But I do recommend giving where you can and participating when you can. And involve your kids in it, too, so they can get comfortable interacting with others while they have you by their side.

3. Say “Yes!” to farmer’s markets, fests, and fairs.

Are you the type to shy away from booths? From getting out and moving among the throngs of people? You’re probably missing out! This is a great way to meet people, bump into old people, and support the local community.

Do you know your neighbors? I’m one of those who has lived in the same town for years and who doesn’t know my neighbor, nor my town. Markets, fests, and fairs give you a chance to get move involved in the community and meet the people that make your town tick. Are you short on time? These city events give you many of the local businesses all-at-once, within steps of each other!

4. Say “Yes!” to talking with new people

As kids, it isn’t safe to talk to strangers. But as an adult, avoidance can cost you some of the most wonderful experiences of your life. People have made friends, found future spouses, and made great business contacts by opening themselves up to people in everyday experiences. Start with a smile—and if you get a smile back—see if you’re inspired to spark something up. Even starting with the weather can turn into a short heart-to-heart exchange that will brighten that person’s day and leave you all fuzzy and happy, too!

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5. Say “Yes!” to volunteering.

Many hands make the work go faster! Organizations can’t function without volunteers, and if you’ve been the solo volunteer for an event, you know how frustrating that experience can be. Money does help the world go ’round, but so do the things that are free.

Besides that great feeling of giving back to somebody or something, consider the other benefits. Many activities and events wouldn’t be possible without volunteers; others would be much more expensive without volunteers. Volunteering can also give you free experience. Volunteer to help with food prep and take some recipes home with you!

Do you miss playing games and other childhood activities? Volunteer at the park district or library to experience them again with new eyes. Don’t have much time? Narrow down your volunteering to an organization that you care about and offer them a one-hour block.

Do you like to do things your own way? Lead up a volunteer effort or create your own volunteer opportunities. Offer free tutoring at the library or offer your time to a local nursing home. Your action may mean the creation of something new and wonderful!

6. Say “Yes!” to the favor.

As in fundraising, you do not want to say yes to every favor. But think carefully before you say “No.” If you can make the time, you can really make a difference in another person’s life, and it will come back to you positively in one form or another. Just as Tracy Lawrence sings, favors are how you “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” In a busy world of multi-tasking individuals with their heads buried in cells and tablets, your time and attention may be the most precious gift you can offer, making the greatest difference. (And you’ll also feel great when you’re in a fix, and you’re friends do the same for you!)

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7. Say “Yes!” to that awkward thing (that pushes your comfort zone)

Of course we don’t want to do it—it’s awkward! If it’s making you squirmy and it’s continuously nagging at you, it’s probably time to take action. You’ll feel better when it’s done, and you’ll have grown in the process. If this thing is a skill that you haven’t gotten yet, practice, practice, practice! And don’t be afraid to get some help from others. Over time, the practice will become a part of you; you’ll become a master, and you’ll be able to help someone else who is struggling with the same thing.

8. Say “Yes!” to listening to your body.

Say “yes” to your body’s needs—it knows best! With all of the new fads, diets, food options, and new chemicals and preservatives out there, we can lose sight of what our body actually needs. Unfortunately, some of the things that we intake are designed to trick and confuse the body. Therefore, a period of detoxing/raw food dieting, etc can be beneficial to refresh your system and re-accustom your body to what it knows is best.

How often do you listen to your body? Look to the thoughts behind your cravings and learn to differentiate between your emotional cravings and physical needs. If you’re feeling thirsty, you are overdue for some water. If your stomach tells you it’s hungry, you’re hungry! If it feels full, you’re full! Every body is different. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for health!

Get to know your body type and what foods and eating patterns work best for you. If you’re craving certain foods, look at the nutritional content of those foods to see what your body might be missing. Also, remember to chew slowly and try not to multi-task while you eat. This will give your body the time and attention it needs to communicate to you what it needs. Don’t neglect the body! Keep it happy, healthy, and satisfied to ensure an enjoyable, fulfilling day!

9. Say “Yes!” to “me time.”

Some of us are very good at giving ourselves “me time.” Others of us are terrible at it! The key is balance. Extremes can ruin your life. The easiest evidence of this is “burn out.” This can happen to parents, workaholics, volunteer-aholics, exercise-aholics (________-aholics), obsessives, and over-achievers. No one wants the “burn out” teacher. No child wants to face the snippiness of the “burn out” mom or dad.

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Putting in lots of hours can look like a great service, but you’re doing no one a favor. Take some time to think about the things that make you happy, just you. Pick at least one—no matter how small—and do it. Frequently! If not every day, every week. Excitement is contagious! So find your passion, let yourself go, and get re-energized with life! You’ll have fun, be happy, and you’ll inspire others in your life to do the same.

10. Say “Yes” to date night.

This applies to everyone. Don’t have a “date”? Take yourself out. I love watching movies by myself. Instead of dragging my partner to my favorite chick-flick, I can enjoy it in all of its mushy glory, minus the mumbling from the seat next to me! Or else invite your friends, your niece, your kids! Take some time out to have fun and show some special attention to the ones you love.

If you do have a regular “date”—girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, spouse, whatever—do not put this on the backburner. It can be the key to a happy relationship. Make it frequent and make it special! Put it in your planner and take your partner out. If money is an issues, go to the park or check out the local free events—or stay in and make dinner together and watch a favorite movie. Sit out on the porch or in the backyard, enjoy a favorite drink/snack, and talk while holding hands/cuddling. Whatever you choose, keep that time sacred. Treat it as an appointment. If you have to miss, make it up to that person, and reschedule immediately!

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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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