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11 Things To Remember If Your Love Someone With ALS

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11 Things To Remember If Your Love Someone With ALS

It is not easy to love someone who is sick; it is especially difficult when it comes to loving someone who has ALS.

ALS is a motor-neuron disease, commonly known in the USA as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It strikes certain cells in the spinal cord and brain, making it difficult or even impossible to move. It starts by making a patient generally weak, unable to lift things and walk and then talk and even swallow. The disease is mostly diagnosed among people of 50 years and older. But there are cases when young people or even children are diagnosed with a light form of ALS. True love is unconditional, but ALS tests everyone. Understanding how a person with ALS feels will help you deal with the hard mental and physical work it requires.

1. ALS is not a death sentence.

Although statistics are rather sad, there are people diagnosed with ALS who have managed to live to see their grandchildren. Take Stephen Hawking as the best example. The world’s smartest man was diagnosed with ALS when he was 21. Soon, he will be celebrating his 70th birthday. Being wheelchair-bounded, he helped to formulate ideas on quantum gravity and black holes. His books are bestsellers, and his life is a legend. Although he lost the ability to move or speak, he has been working as a professor at Cambridge for over 30 years and became director of research at the center of Theoretical Cosmology.

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THE HAWKING PARADOX

    2. It is not their fault.

    ALS can happen to anybody with no clearly associated risk factors. Only 10 percent of ALS cases are genetic or based on gene mutation. Most people die from respiratory failure caused by ALS approximately 3-5 years from the onset of symptoms. Nevertheless, there are those who manage to live 15 years or more.

    3. They need your help.

    No one can deny that people with ALS need help. It is going to take a lot of time and adjustment to learn how to help your friend with ALS. Be patient and listen very attentively to what they say or show you.

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    4. They can sometimes cry or laugh uncontrollably.

    People who have ALS can sometimes experience uncontrollable laughter or crying without feeling particularly happy or sad. This effect is mostly seen in people suffering from upper motor neuron disease. Although this has nothing to do with actual depression, it has been successfully cured with antidepressants.

    5. ALS doesn’t affect them mentally.

    They are the same people they used to be. Yes, they cannot walk, lift things, or in some cases even talk. But just because they have changed physically doesn’t mean that they have changed mentally. They are still your best friend, cousin, wife, or mother. Treat them the same way you used to.

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    11-things-to-remember-if-you-love-someone-with-ALS

      6. They can hear you well.

      The biggest stereotype for people with ALS is that they cannot hear you well. Motor-neuron disease does not affect hearing. Talking loud or screaming will not make them answer faster.

      7. They are smart.

      Those suffering from ALS are able to use their brain’s potential to the fullest. They can even concentrate on everything amazingly. They are big book warms and excellent scientists, businessmen, directors, and journalists.

      8. They can be sexually active.

      ALS does not affect sexuality. Sufferers can be sexually active and even have children. Stephen Hawking, for example, has three beautiful kids who don’t have their father’s disease. The only thing that can make sexual relationship difficult is difficulties with the respiratory system. Nevertheless, there are special positive pressure ventilation systems that can help.

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      Stephen-in-1983-with-his-children-Robert-Lucy-and-Timothy-and-his-wife-Jane-215093

        9. They have a good sense of humor.

        In order to survive through hard times, you have to have an excellent sense of humor. ALS patients can be extremely funny when you get to know them. If you want to help them and show your love, you need to make jokes and tell funny stories, and you will see that it works both ways. Our ALS hero Mr. Hawking is known throughout the world for his exquisite sense of humor.

        10. They can tell you more about life than you think.

        Spending time with people who have ALS is a great experience. These people are alone with their thoughts a great deal of the time, so when they finally talk, they surprise you with accuracy and wisdom. You cannot help but be inspired by people who have lost everything at one point and gained even more than we can imagine.

        11.   They can continue leading a normal life.  

        Although normal is an abstract word when it comes to ALS, it has been proven that people suffering from this disease can continue leading a normal life. They can work (if it doesn’t involve physical labor), they can communicate with friends, watch movies, enjoy entertainment, and even travel.

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        Featured photo credit: Girl with Heart, by Dannie via picjumbo.com

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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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