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10 Truths You May Have Forgotten In Your Hard Times

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10 Truths You May Have Forgotten In Your Hard Times

We all go through hard times – it’s called “life.” Some people have more hard times than others, but eventually, we all experience pain and loss. It could be the loss of a loved one, a job, a home, or your dignity. Whatever hard time you are going through, you might have lost sight of some of the very things that might help you make it through the rough waters. Here are 10 truths that you may have forgotten during your hard times:

1. Pain is part of life and love – it helps you grow.

Sure, we would all love to live a life that is free from pain. We all want to feel good and be happy at all moments. But as you know, this is not possible. But what is possible is having the choice of what you do with the pain. I have seen many people who go through unimaginable pain like losing a child or being diagnosed with a devastating disease who turn their pain into something positive. They teach others and spread light in the world as a result of their pain and sorrow. You can do the same thing, too.

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” -William Goldman

2. Mindset and attitude are half the battle.

Most of success lies in attitude and effort, and not in someone’s intelligence. This shows how important your thoughts are. You can re-frame almost any situation if you try hard enough. Remember this: It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem.

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“A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.” -Patricia Neal

3. Sometimes, your biggest fears are just illusions.

Many times, what we really fear is simply the unknown. We fear that we are not going to be able to cope with a tragedy that comes our way. Or we fear that we won’t know which direction to head if we are thrust into an unfamiliar situation. But as a wise friend once told me, “uncertainty breeds opportunity.” Embrace the fear and face it anyway.

FEAR is an acronym in the English language for False Evidence Appearing Real.” -Neale Donald Walsch

4. This “problem” is really a valuable growth opportunity.

You can grow from any experience if you chose to do so. Or, you can choose to be a victim and wallow in your disappointment and depression. The choice is yours. When we are the middle of hard times, it’s easy to forget this. It’s all about mental strength and attitude. Simply re-framing the situation will help you learn from it.

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“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”  -Oprah Winfrey

5. You can’t change any situation unless you take some responsibility for it.

It’s easy to blame others. But it’s not the mature thing to do. Yes, there ares some times when we are the unfortunate target of another person’s bad behavior. However, there are a lot of situations in life that you had a big part of creating. Whether it’s a bad relationship, a rotten job, or a bad investment, you had some participation in how it turned out. Look at what you can do differently and then take positive action.

“It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” -Josiah Charles Stamp

6. All we have is NOW – the present.

So many people live the past. They yearn for their “glory days” or their youth. And yet other people live in the future. They think, “when I get that perfect job … or when I meet that perfect romantic partner … or when I get $10,000 saved up … then I will be happy.” But all you have is the present moment. Decide to be happy in the NOW because that is really all we ever have.

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“Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”  -Buddha

7. There is always something to be thankful for.

If you have a roof over your head, food on your table, and air in your lungs, you are a lucky person. You don’t have to be a super model or a millionaire to find something to be thankful for. Believe me, there is always someone else in the world who has it more difficult that you. So look at what you do have, not what you don’t have.

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.”  -Meister Eckhart

8. Great things don’t happen overnight.

We live in a world where it seems like everyone becomes famous from a reality show or Youtube. But real success takes time. You have to keep plugging away, day after day. You can’t let rejection or setbacks stop you from reaching your destiny. Keep on the journey and you will get there at the right time.

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“Patience, persistance, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”  -Napoleon Hill

9. You need to validate yourself – don’t rely on other people to do it.

If you always look to other people to tell you that you are worthy, then you are going to be a miserable person. Let’s face it – many people are not kind. So why don’t you start working on your self-talk? Change negative thoughts into positive ones. Be your own biggest fan. Love yourself. It’s not conceit, it’s called inner peace.

“I don’t like myself, I’m crazy about myself.”  -Mae West

10. You’re not alone.

Maybe you are going through something that no one can relate to. But even if you don’t have family or many friends, the internet is a fingertip away for most people. Go look for message boards or support groups on social media. There are always people out there somewhere who are wiling to help and give advice. Go find them if you don’t have support in your every day life.

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“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

Hard times are not fun. But instead of letting yourself sink into a deep abyss of depression, try to train your brain to re-focus. It does take mental strength, but you can do it. That’s the best way to grow as a person.

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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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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