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12 Influential Ways To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

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12 Influential Ways To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

The upkeep on a fresh and healthy relationship might seem like a daunting task to manage some days, but thankfully it’s not hard. Check out these 12 influential ways to keep your relationship healthy. You’ll see what a difference it can make, and you might be inspired to come up with some other tips on your own!

1. Be open and honest with each other.

Honesty should come naturally in a serious, committed relationship – but sometimes that’s when it’s the hardest! Make sure you and your partner have a strong foundation of trust that allows you to tell each other anything. Being up front about anything on your mind or that has happened during your day will make you feel more connected to each other, which in turn will make your relationship more loving and healthy.

2. Encourage each other.

Being in a relationship means you have your own built-in cheerleader. You should be excited to come home from a good day at work and share what amazing things happened to you. Your partner will be there to cheer you on, congratulate you, and pump you up for the next step. Encourage each other to do everything, from anything as small as asking for a new project at work, to something as major as applying for a daunting dream job. Knowing you get that degree of support from your partner will help your relationship grow strong.

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    3. Stay fun and flirty!

    Just because you’re in a committed relationship doesn’t mean you can’t flirt! Be playful with your partner! Smile and bat your eyelashes from across the room, hold hands while grocery shopping, bump hips and fall into a kiss while cooking dinner. Everything doesn’t have to be efficient business-as-usual just because you’ve been together for a long time. In fact, keeping things light and fun will help your relationship feel fresh and new, and last longer!

    4. Try something new.

    A lot of couples have date nights, where they leave the daily grind of their home lives behind and go out to have fun together. Try to implement this with your partner, but make sure to try new things on these dates. Don’t go to the same restaurant every week, or always sit in the same seats at the movie theater. Try that hip new club downtown, or go to a restaurant on opening day.

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    5. Give each other space.

    You and your partner are in a committed relationship, and sometimes that can seem like too much. You don’t always have to be together. Give each other a night off, where he can go run errands on his own, or she can go out with friends. Even if you want to spend all of your free time together, you can still give each other space. One person can watch a movie in the den while the other reads in the bedroom. Give it a try and see what works best to foster your relationship!

    6. Don’t be afraid to show your emotions.

    Just like being honest, it’s sometimes really hard to show emotions in a relationship. You want to be understood as strong and independent, not someone who needs the other too much. Acting this way, however, will create a barrier between you and your partner. If you seem too independent or closed off, the relationship can suffer. Don’t be an overly emotional wreck, but if you feel something, make sure your partner knows. They can help you through things, and you need to work together in order to keep your relationship working.

    7. Learn how to resolve conflicts.

    It’s too easy to fight until you’re tired, and then just let it go. Don’t do this! You have to resolve the issue when you’re fighting, otherwise it will keep coming up and causing trouble for you both. No matter how exhausted you are, how many tears have been shed, make sure to resolve a fight before you drop it. This goes beyond the old “never go to bed angry” adage – if it takes time, let the fight stretch over a day or two. The resolution is the healthiest, and most important part – not how quickly you come to it.

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    8. Be open to changes.

    Being committed to someone else means you have to roll with the punches. You have to be ready for changes that occur in his life to affect your life as well. These changes might not always be positive, and they might not always fit into the plan you mapped out, but you have to be open to them. Being willing and able to change with your partner makes the difference between a relationship that seems rocky, and one that will stand the test of time.

    9. Understand each other.

    You don’t have to finish each others’ sentences, but understanding your partner on a deep level is a healthy foundation to have. Understand how he thinks, how he approaches issues, comprehend him, and problem solve. Know that his silence doesn’t mean he’s angry, just thinking. And make sure your partner understands you. Even if this doesn’t come naturally to either of you, take time to sit together and talk it out so you can understand each other in the future.

    10. Break up the routine.

    Date nights, trying something new, making dinner together, making dinner for each other – whatever you can do to break up the routine, try it! Don’t just get up, go to work, and come home to each other. Go shopping together, or go for a walk when you get home. Even if the activity isn’t exciting, the fact that you’re doing something different – together! – will make a huge difference in the day and how you feel about each other.

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    11. Be social outside the relationship.

    Just like needing time and space to yourselves, make sure you keep up relationships with people other than your partner. You need to nurture friendships you had before you became part of a couple, and you shouldn’t turn away new friends you might encounter once you’re happily paired off. Having people outside the relationship helps keep you both grounded, gives you sounding boards, and gives you things to talk about besides your life together.

    12. Look your best.

    This sounds contrary, right? Being able to look like a slob is one of the best parts of being in a committed relationship. Knowing someone will love you even though you’re wearing sweatpants is one of the warmest feelings ever. And it can stay that way! But it’s equally important to take time to look good for your partner. Get dressed up for her, brush your hair, try a new cologne. Looking good doesn’t mean you’re trying to impress someone else, but it will show your partner that you appreciate her still, and don’t take her for granted.

    Featured photo credit: Marley Cook via flickr.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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