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10 Ways To Clean Your Life Before The Refreshing Spring Season

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10 Ways To Clean Your Life Before The Refreshing Spring Season

“Spring is God’s way of saying, ‘One more time!” – Robert Orben

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” – Robin Williams

Spring is a time for pruning, cleaning and getting rid of the dreariness of winter. Time to clean your life before the refreshing spring season gets into full swing. Follow these 10 ways to really get the benefits of new hope, love and adventure.

1. Declutter your space.

Imagine spending a whole year of your life looking for things. According to Harper’s Index, this is the time that Americans waste because they have not learned the art of decluttering at regular intervals. It becomes even more difficult when your partner is a hoarder.

Here are my top five tips for managing clutter, so you are not overwhelmed when you have to face a major decluttering:

  1. Use the ‘One in, two out’ rule. For every new thing you acquire, make sure that you trash or donate two objects you are no longer using. No problem here as regards clothes, as Americans are using a mere 20% of what is in their closets.
  2. Show no mercy with anything that is damaged or broken. It will never come in handy and it never did!
  3. Donate all the presents you never really liked, or even used, to the charity shop.
  4. Keep everything that you love and that you use very often. Anything else will have to go.
  5. Tidy bills and mail into labeled box files and keep them in the room where you actually deal with them.

Once you have that under control, you will save time, energy, and feel much less burdened.

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“Clutter is stuck energy. The word clutter derives from the Middle English word ‘clotter,’ which means to coagulate – and that’s about as stuck as you can get.” – Karen Kingston

2. Get up early.

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Ben Franklin

Being an early riser is a great way to get your spring renewal process off the ground. There are several advantages to it:

  • You are much more energetic in the morning.
  • You will be in a better mood.
  • You are making more time for the best part of the day.
  • You will be able to think more clearly.
  • You can enjoy a more relaxed schedule.

3. Close toxic relationships.

If you feel that your partner is domineering and not allowing you space to grow as a person, this could be a sign that you are in a toxic relationship. It may be time to close, especially if you are miserable or uncomfortable. As the lack of support becomes more and more evident, it means that you are being deprived of energy, love and growth.

4. Find a passion.

Ask yourself this question: “How many of my friends tell me that I am great fun to be with and that they always feel better when they are with me?” Now if you answer that this never or rarely happens, it most likely means that you have not got a passion.

When you have a passion, the enthusiasm for it is infectious. You talk about it, and you tell your friends about your latest successes. This could be as banal as breaking your previous record in the marathon or getting your poem accepted for publication.

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Spring is the ideal time to start looking for a passion that will get you out of a rut, which represents dullness, boredom and a lack of inspiration.

5. Time to forgive yourself.

Why do you hate yourself so much? Why do you criticize yourself for all those screwups you made?  Anger, hurt and resentment are the results of this relentless self-criticism, which goes on night and day. The secret is to learn how to let the resentment go. It is when you no longer feel anger and pain that you have learned to forgive yourself. Lots of studies on forgiveness have revealed its healing effects and health benefits.

6. Get rid of grudges.

Think of the grudge you have against your boss, your partner or a friend who let you down. What are the feelings that are swilling round in your head? Here are a few:

  • Spite
  • Hurt
  • Anger
  • Malice
  • Envy
  • Frustration
  • Unworthiness
  • Loathing.

That list makes the acronym SHAMEFUL. Now that is a toxic cocktail! You may even be talking about it, too, and spreading the pollution via friends and close acquaintances.

Now here’s the thing. This negative cesspit is destroying you and not the person who hurt you. Even the malicious rumors you want to spread about that person are water off a duck’s back. In the meantime, you are the one who is drained, poisoned and exhausted. Time for closure. Let it go.

7. Time for new opportunities.

“Closed mouths don’t get fed.” – Kenneth Zakee

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Tried that new recipe yet? Have you thought about taking up a new sport? Is your holiday destination always the same country or continent? How about changing your home environment? Get out of the rut before it collapses on top of you.

A great idea is to brainstorm with a friend and also to let them know what you are going to try. This also means that you have to report back to them, so it makes you accountable.

What is the bottom line? You want to rediscover new growth, joy, curiosity, and a sense of wonder. That is what spring is all about, isn’t it?

8. Create your own challenge.

Setting up a challenge is a great way to get rid of toxic things in your life and to replace them with something that is going to do you a lot of good. You can set the number of days to 15, 30, or whatever you like. You will be healthier, wiser, better humoured, and much more relaxed. Here are some ideas:

  • Decide social media time; once a day for a set period of time.
  • Cut out swearing – use neutral words if you can.
  • Turn off your cellphone after dinner.
  • Start walking every day if you are a couch potato.
  • Limit your exposure to bad news – stick to one news bulletin a day.
  • Phone a good friend every day.
  • Do one act of kindness every day for someone less fortunate than yourself.

Set yourself some goals. Think: “By the beginning of summer I will have lost X lbs and will be much fitter.” “By the end of June, I will have my social media addiction totally under control.”

9. Manage your time better.

Spring is all about things growing quickly and energetically in a short space of time. Can you match that? If not, look for better ways to manage your time:

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  • Change your lunch break so that you can work better when there are fewer coworkers making noise.
  • Consider changing your timetable, if you can. Discover what works best for you. Maybe an earlier start?
  • Discover your peak time when you work best. Reserve that for the most challenging tasks.
  • Prepare your morning stuff the night before. It makes the early morning exit a breeze.
  • Make a list of doable, daily tasks and review them at the end of the day.

10. Motivate yourself daily.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last, well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

The secret of maintaining motivation is to be able to generate positive and upbeat thoughts about what you have achieved, every hour and every day. If you can do that, you will be able to shoot down the negative thoughts before they take over. Have a great spring!

“Yesterday ended last night. Today is a brand-new day. And it’s yours.” – Zig Ziglar

Featured photo credit: Springtime flowers/Bea via Flickr

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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