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11 Ways to Let Go of Worries and Set Yourself Free

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11 Ways to Let Go of Worries and Set Yourself Free

Worrying is one of those universal feelings that everyone has. Parents worry about their kids, everyone worries about money, people in relationships worry if their relationship is going to last, and sometimes people worry about worrying too much. The whole thing is very worrisome but you don’t have to live that way. Here are a collection of tips to help you let go of worries.

1. First and foremost, some worrying is okay

There are some things in life worth worrying about. Parents with kids can attest to this. When you see your child wipe out on a bike, the worry flag goes up. That’s totally okay. Parents are hard wired to worry about things like that. If your loved one is in surgery or giving birth, you’re going to pace the waiting room waiting for news. There’s nothing anyone can do about that. The first step to let go of your worries is to accept that you are going to worry about things sometimes. It’s just a matter of identifying what is worth worrying about.

2. Make some time to worry about things

Now that we’ve proven that you are going to worry about some things, let’s talk about what you can do to make it a little less stressful. Take some time out of your day every now and then, sit down, and calmly work out your worries. You’re more likely to find solutions to your problems when you’re calm and you think about things thoroughly. Therefore you should make time to sit down and think about your worries. Trying to figure things out when you’re otherwise occupied with things like work, school, or even activities like driving is going to do nothing but pile on stress.

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3. Cultivate resilience

There comes a point where you need to get used to being worried sometimes. Since you are going to worry about stuff sometimes, it’s probably best you get used to it and not let it ruin your life. When you worry, it can affect your mood and your life and thus can affect your focus, your work, and your family life. Don’t let it do these things. Don’t resist the urge to worry, but rather learn to resist the side effects of worrying. Take a couple of deep breaths, acknowledge the problem, and get back to living your life.

4. Move through the worry

When you worry you get all pent up and tense. A good way to deal with that build up of energy is to use it on something. Take a walk, clean your house, tend a garden, or do anything that can occupy your hands and your mind. It not only provides a great distraction from being worried, but you deal with the tension and pent up energy, which will help you feel better. Personally, I play video games. It seems a tad juvenile I’ll admit, but the combination of hand-eye coordination and the action going on in the game provides a great mental outlet that diverts my attention from my problems until I am calm enough to deal with them.

5. Do something about what you’re worrying about

People inevitably do this eventually when they worry too much, and people really ought to do it more often. If there is something you’re worried about then do something to fix the problem. If you are short on money, get a second job. If you’re having relationship problems, sit down and discuss your concerns with your partner. In the words of Morgan Freeman’s character in the movie Red, “For every problem sir, there is a solution.” Find the solution and it’ll no longer be a worry.

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6. Get rid of the negative aspects

People sometimes worry about the most silly things. Have you ever spent 45 minutes deciding what to wear before going out with friends? If you answered yes, have you ever asked yourself why? That’s nearly an hour you spent needlessly worrying about what fabric will be covering your body when you go into a public place with people who care about you. Why be worried about it? Wear something that’s comfortable and appropriate for the venue. Worrying if your shoes match your shirt, your eyes, and your hair is just needless stress. You don’t need that kind of worry in your life. Identify the things that really don’t matter, like whether or not your shirt matches your shoes, and eliminate them. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

7. Go see a doctor

According to WebMD, people who worry entirely too much have a higher chance of having anxiety problems. If you get so worked up about worries that you have anxiety attacks, then you may actually have an anxiety problem. It is never a bad idea to get a professional opinion, and if you do have an anxiety problem then there are treatments and medications that can help you relieve the symptoms. This may actually help you worry less.

8. Bore yourself calm

Today’s youth are very desensitized. Have you ever wondered why? It’s because 50 years ago, the most gore you could see on the big screen was the classic horror movie Psycho. Other than that, kids and adults weren’t really exposed to that much gore, and so when they saw it, it was frightening. These days, video games, movies, music, and TV have pretty much turned violence into something that just happens. Kids see all this gore and they become bored by it and it has lost its impact on them.

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You can use this same psychology to your advantage. If you worry about something, say it to yourself every day. Eventually, the words and the premise will lose their power and you’ll become desensitized to it, much like today’s kids are to violence. You will literally bore yourself calm over time and not worry about that thing as much anymore.

9. Cry

According to WebMD, worrying suppresses the part of your brain that feels some emotions. That sounds complicated but it really isn’t. You’ve no doubt heard someone say, “It’s okay, I just needed a good cry.” It may have even been you. I’ve done it before. By crying, you unlock the suppressed emotions, get them out of your system, and it’ll literally make you feel better. Why do you think people repeatedly tell you that it’s okay to cry? That’s why.

10. Remember that you have all the time in the world to figure it out

A lot of people who worry do so on a schedule. They need to worry about it right there. They need to know information about their worries immediately. I’ve been guilty of this one a thousand times. When I moved last month, I called my leasing agent twice a day to ask how the process was going because I was worried I wouldn’t get the place. When I order things online and the tracking says that the package is out for delivery, I join my dogs in looking out the window every 25 minutes until the postman shows up.

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Eventually, I got my apartment and I always get my online orders, but in between I worried about it a whole bunch. I’ve been slowly learning to be patient and not worry about things if they don’t happen right away and you should too. If it’s going to happen then it’s going to happen. There’s no use in trying to rush things and there’s definitely no use in being worried.

11. Stop asking yourself, “What if…?”

Very few things will be as bad as they are in your head when you worry about them. I’m facing this problem right now actually. When I moved, I spent a great deal more money than I originally envisioned and I’ve been left a little broke. I’m worried about not having money for food or bills. I’ve been asking myself, “What if…?” What if I get evicted? What if I forget to pay a debt? However, when I look at my finances, I see that by mid-August I’ll have totally recovered from this very minor and very temporary crisis.

It was never that bad to begin with, but I caught myself asking myself the wrong question and in turn I made myself worry. Learn from my mistakes. Very nearly nothing will ever be as bad as you expect it to be. The best practice is to calm down, think more into the future, and realize that you’ll probably never experience the horrors that you can concoct for yourself in your own mind.

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Wrap up

Worrying is an important issue to talk about because it’s practically a chronic condition. Worrying all the time and being stressed out can have a negative impact on all aspects of your life. The best way to deal with worrying is to simply let go of worries. It sounds easy and it is easy to do but it’s hard for people to visualize. Rest assured that when you stop worrying, your life will get a lot more interesting.

Featured photo credit: PFit Blog via pfiesterpfit.files.wordpress.com

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Joseph Hindy

A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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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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