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11 Things To Remember With Sudden Life Changes

11 Things To Remember With Sudden Life Changes
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I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before: No one likes change. Alright, that statement may not be 100% true for everyone (some people love change). But when life changes suddenly — and in a negative way — it’s a difficult for most people. So if and when you find yourself in the midst of a sudden life change, remember these 11 things:

1. The only thing that is constant about life is change.

You can’t escape it. No one can. Life happens. People die every day, and their loved ones are left to mourn the loss and go on with life. People get fired every day. They have to learn to deal with their sudden financial losses and find a way to regain their security. Break-ups and divorces happen all the time too. But wallowing in your misery about it won’t help. At some point, we all just need to remember that change is inevitable. But how we deal with change is optional. So make it positive.

2. You’re not alone — everyone goes through changes.

I’m sure it feels like you are alone, but you’re not. There are probably thousands or millions of people out there going through a similar experience right at this moment. Even if you had the most horrific things happen to you, like being diagnosed with a terminal illness or having a loved one pass away suddenly, there are people who have been though it and survived. If you keep that at the forefront of your mind, it might give you some peace.

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3. Feeling confused or upset is normal.

When life changes suddenly, you probably want to scream, shout, curse and plead with God. All you want is for life to go back to “normal.” You want your “old life” back. You would probably do anything to have that. But remember, these feelings are part of the grieving process. To NOT feel any of these emotions would not be normal. And to repress the feelings is not healthy. It can do physical damage to your body and mind.

4. The haze you are in now will eventually lift.

Like I said, you might be thinking that life will never be normal again. Well, it will never be the “old normal,” but you will learn to create a “new normal.” One of my grandfather’s favorite sayings was, “You can get used to anything — even hanging if you hang long enough.” While that might be a crude yet humorous quotation, it makes a point. Humans are enduring. We’re built for survival, so the haze will eventually go away. Maybe not as soon as you want it to, but it will eventually disappear.

5. Do some self-reflection and look at the change as a life lesson.

If you are religious or spiritual, you can look at life through a lens of a spiritual lesson. Even if you’re not, you can still use negative experiences to figure yourself out learn to grow as a person. I think absolutely everything that happens to us can be seen as a learning opportunity. But you have to train your mind to think along those lines first.

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6. Focus on and appreciate what you do have left.

When my dad passed away, it was awful. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows how horrible it is. You feel like your world is crumbling down around you. However, as sad as it was to lose him, I was comforted by knowing that my mom and stepmom were still alive. And my sisters. And friends. And other family members. Focusing on who or what you do have left brings a little bit more peace to you during those difficult times.

7. You need to make the choice to keep going.

You might want to just never get out of bed again. You might think your life is over. But guess what? It isn’t. Life goes on. The world keeps turning. And if you “check out” of life, everyone else just keeps moving on. So you need to make the conscious choice to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and keep walking through life. Don’t give up. It’s a choice. It’s not an easy one, but it’s still your choice.

8. Ask for help.

Hopefully you have a network of family and friends who can help you. I know a lot of people who like to be strong and don’t like to ask for help. But being strong doesn’t mean that you don’t ask for help. Being strong means that you DO ask for help. If you don’t, it just makes you feel more isolated. Most people like to help others. So give them the opportunity to spread their love and kindness to you. Open your heart and your mind and let people in.

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9. Just because things are bad now, doesn’t mean you can’t be happy again.

The best thing someone said to me after my dad’s funeral was, “You never get over it. You just get used to it.” I had never thought of it like that before. But it’s true. We never get over the loss of a loved one. But if your sudden life change is something like the loss of a job, divorce or a health problem, you will find a way to “get used to it” too. Sometimes you have no choice. So the only choice you really have is to choose how you are going to respond to what happens to you.

10. Eventually, things will become clear to you.

Someday, you will look back and know why it all happened. Here’s an example from my life: I was fired, once. There — I said it. Okay, I wasn’t really fired because I did anything wrong, I just got let go. And at the time, I was confused. I didn’t know what to do next. But if that hadn’t happened, I would not have ended up in the career I am in now, which I love. I am a big believer in “everything happens for a reason.” Even if it’s a negative life change, there might be a reason why it happened. Again, it could be another life lesson.

11. You need to mentally prepare for the next life change.

Hopefully your next life change won’t be sudden or tragic. It could simply be graduating from college, having your children move out of your home, or retirement. All of those changes are predictable and you can prepare for them years in advance. But the sudden life changes are different. Not that sudden life changes are as common, but if you mentally accept the fact that they can happen at any time, then you will definitely appreciate what you have right now.

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Change doesn’t have to be bad. It can lead to something greater than where you are now. Even horrible changes can eventually be turned into something positive. So if you’re going through a sudden life change, remember these 11 things and hopefully you will get through it with ease and grace.

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)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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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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