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13 Deliciously Sweet Elements of Happiness

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13 Deliciously Sweet Elements of Happiness

Happiness is not just one of those ideas that we say in passing or a feeling that we long to experience and say, “Well, we can never be truly happy because of x,y, z.” Happiness is present all of the time, and the choice is yours to decide to recognize what makes you happy and where you can increase happiness in your life.

1. Passion

When you have a passion that pours out of every cell of your body, others cannot help but take notice, and you cannot do anything else. It can consume your life and when you are in this state, there is an ever so present aspect of joy and happiness. Being passionate is not just something that you have to do, but something that you absolute love to do bringing a smile to your face no matter the ups and downs that you are facing.

2. Bliss

Bliss is that element where you know you can’t escape it. Essentially you are 100% happy with life at this moment and time. You are content and love where things are going. Bliss is what we all need and yet is one of the things that we never talk about as most think it is unattainable, but in reality it’s all in our mindset.

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3. Peace

Happiness brings about a sense of peace in your life. When you are peaceful, there is not any source of worry entering into your life. You are content, happy and enjoying the moment that you have right now without any turmoil.

4. Smiles

A smile is contagious. It shines with energy,strength, happiness, and joy. The more you smile the more you are happy. It’s difficult to be happy without having a smile on your face.

5. Memories

Memories are a double edged sword; however, the good memories are ones that are rarely forgotten and are often brought up when times are tough.

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6. Joy

Spend time realizing what brings the smiles to your face, what makes you laugh contagiously, and what gives you that overall since of joy and happiness. When you are joyful, you are happy. It’s difficult to have one without the other. Having a fulfilled happy life means that you must showcase joy daily sharing with others what makes you smile.

7.  Friends and People You Love Spending Time With

It’s been proven that you are the average of the five people that you spend time with. Are the people you are spending the most time with ones that help showcase your happiness? If you begin to feel happier with less complaining and have a better perspective on life, then you should keep those friends close by. We don’t realize how important it is to have others that help us see the joy and happiness in life until they are far from our lives. Keep those people close by and happiness will always be a part of your life.

8. Love

When you hear the word “love,” there are normally two or three images that immediately pop into your mind- the couple who is madly in love, a family that showcases love daily, and then someone who may have been scarred by love in the past having a difficult time accepting love now. It’s not to say that you have to have love to be happy; however, if you are in love, you should be happily in love. Happiness should exude from your relationship. You should want the relationship to continue and not be a drudgery, which would ultimately steal your happiness.

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9. Cherish the Present

Make a point to realize that we are living right here, right now – not yesterday and not tomorrow. Things can change at a moments notice; however, when you live in the present and cherish the time that you have today, you learn to appreciate and be happy for things today. You stop the comparison with what happened years ago or what you wish will happen tomorrow. Cherish today, hold it close, and make sure that what you are doing today makes you happy.

10. Spontaneity

When you add a little spontaneity into your life, an adventure begins full of intrigue and unknown. It doesn’t have to be a life that is completely spontaneous, but even a slight amount will get you out of your routine and noticing items and opportunities that you haven’t seen before. Experiencing these new things will add more happiness to your life and you will branch out of the feeling that every day is like “Groundhog Day.”

11. Honesty

It’s hard to be happy and have a web of lies strung about. When you lie, you are always more concerned with who knows what or who can I tell this too. When you are an open book and completely honest, you don’t have to hide anything and don’t have to worry about who knows what. You are living today and can experience happiness first hand and feel like you can share it with others not having to keep it to yourself.

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12. Choice

You have the choice to do or not do something. No matter who is trying to guilt you into doing something ultimately you are the decider. If the option will help you further your career and make you happier, then the choice is yours to say yes. However, if it will put you even further from where you want to be, at a place where you are no longer happy, and dread every minute of it, the choice is yours to say no. Choose happiness and you will be in a better place emotionally and with less stress.

13. Gratitude

I saved the best for last. Gratitude is so important to continue to gain more abundance in life and happiness. You have to be grateful for what you have right now. No matter how little or how much you have when you show that you are grateful, a sense of peace and calmness is present. You realize how much you do have and are grateful for. When you do this, you instantly become reminded of what makes you happy and how your life, even thought it may not be perfect, is better off than most.

Stay grateful. Stay happy.

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Featured photo credit: Jeff Meyer 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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