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13 Things Happy People Choose to Do Every Day

13 Things Happy People Choose to Do Every Day
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Many of us have met someone who exhibited a positive attitude, but how many of us have met someone who chose practical, concrete steps to maintain it each day? If you have met someone who fits the bill, don’t feel alarmed or surprised. They do not follow a wizardly badge of honor. In fact, there are numerous heartfelt lessons and fascinating tricks that we can learn from happy people. Learn how to choose to be positive from these 13 things happy people do every day.

1. They choose to exercise.

It’s common knowledge that exercise can rejuvenate organs such as your heart and skin. But according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, your brain may greatly benefit too. In this study, researchers tracked 180 college-age students for eight days and discovered that those who were more physically active reported greater general feelings of enthusiasm and excitement than those who exercised less. Some people may not enjoy exercising, but happy people try to dedicate at least a small portion of their day to staying in shape.

2. They choose to use positive self-questioning.

The ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus was quoted as saying, ”Men are disturbed not by things, but by they view which they take of them.” If that’s true, what’s the support structure for erroneous perceptions?  Perhaps it may lie in the negative questions that we ask ourselves. Maybe the actual problem is how you investigate the issue, rather than the actual problem itself. Happy people may not always notice it, but they make a deliberate effort to steer their self-questioning into an enlightening experience rather than bringing them down. They also choose to use positive language, like ”What can I do?” over ”I can’t do this.”

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3. They choose to get enough sleep.

Has someone ever encouraged you to stay up all night in order to study for an exam or watch a late night show past one in the morning? It’s probably not a good idea to listen to them. In fact, a good night’s sleep is not only crucial, but linked to happiness. According to a 2013 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, out of the 100 participants studied, those who experienced more positive emotions had better sleep habits. In turn, happy people don’t waste time playing video games at midnight when they could be snoozing, and they don’t toss and turn worrying about something beyond their control. Instead, they make a full effort to get a good night’s sleep every night, and remain rested throughout the day.

4. They choose to be grateful.

Someone once told me that being grateful is like stopping to smell the roses when there is more work to be done. But gratitude is a highly beneficial practice that anyone can adopt. A 2003 study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that the participants who wrote in a gratitude journal on a weekly basis felt better about life, and were more optimistic about the coming week than those who didn’t. They may think some things are bad, but happy people make a timely effort to appreciate things like life and their home as gifts worth respecting and paying attention to.

5. They choose to contribute to their communities.

Although it may be wonderful to have close connections with your family and to strengthen relationships with a group of friends, sometimes nothing else compares to contributing to something beyond, like your community. Joining a community can give you an opportunity to find a purpose, regardless of how lost and confused you might seem at the moment. Whether it’s joining a community club, volunteering at a shelter, or becoming part of a local organization, helping your community can make you truly happy.

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6. They choose to focus on their families.

Looking for a reason to hug your child, compliment your spouse, and help carry groceries for your mom or dad? Published in 2003, a study in the journal Child Development studied 1,703 high-risk adolescents. The researchers found that the participants who had parents involved in their lives exhibited fewer mental health problems than those who had less developed relationships with their parents. What does this imply? Dedicate at least a small portion of your day only to your family. Though they may be busy at times, happy people choose to put in an extra minute (or hour!) devoting only time to bonding with their families,

 7. They choose to be polite.

People deeply appreciate it when you are polite. All you need to do is hold the door open for someone, or even respond back with a ”hey” when they greet you. Do you notice how their mood perks up a little? The truth is, presenting yourself with courtesy can help make someones week, day, and even month, better. Happy people don’t want to miss the opportunity to enhance positive relationships with people, while feeling good about themselves. Being polite is a great way to achieve that.

8. They choose to make time for friends.

Friends are the type of people who walk besides us, rather than ahead or behind, as the author and philosopher Albert Camus once said. Grabbing a coffee, going to an exciting new movie, or simply doing something interesting with friends more often just might be the key to a happier life. It doesn’t matter if they have one friend or twenty, interact online or in real life—happy people value relationships, particularly the friendships in their lives, and are willing to spend a portion of their day exploring the world with them regardless of how many difficulties or setbacks they may face in other areas of their life.

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9. They choose to dream positively.

Contrary to popular opinion, dreaming isn’t an unproductive use of time; rather, it’s the exact opposite. Dreaming, specifically visualizing relaxing and calming places, things, and events, or guided imagery, may help reduce and manage stress, according to a 2008 issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. It also suggested that guided imagery can help with tension before surgery and coping with headaches, among other things. Happy people aren’t afraid to dream of wonderful, pleasant things—and believe that they will happen too.

10. They choose to spend time outside.

If you aren’t already motivated to go outside, read this: a 2010 issue of Harvard Health Letter declared that spending time outside, especially engaging in physical activity, can actually make you happier. Go outside for a bike ride, kick a soccer ball with your kid, or even sit out on the patio. You’ll be glad you did. Maximize the benefits by combining time with family or friends, and you’ll likely be happier. It might seem like staying inside the comfort of your home is the best way to relax, but happy people tend to agree that spending time outside is the way to go if you truly want to embrace the world, and yourself.

11. They choose to eat a nutritious diet.

Can you eat your way to happiness? Perhaps so. The University of Warwick studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in England. The 2012 study concluded that mental well-being apparently increased with the number of daily portions of vegetables and fruits that the participants consumed. Well-being peaked at seven portions per day. It’s a no brainer that a healthy diet can equate to a healthy body and mind. The point is, healthy people are happy people, and they focus on eating nutritious foods, but still allowing themselves to indulge in delicious alternatives to unhealthy treats and snacks.

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12. They choose to help others.

Being willing to help others may make you happy. A 2006 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science monitored participant’s brain’s in an MRI scan while they contemplated charitable decisions. When the participants donated money to the charity, the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions and producing feel-good chemicals was activated. Choosing to help others such as participating in your community, helping friends or family, or finding a purpose in work may go a long way. Happy people choose to help others, because they know it will help themselves.

13. They choose to embrace their positivity.

At every moment, there is a lot of negativity occurring. But there is also an innumerable amount of beautiful, warm, amazing, things to do, people to meet, and places to go. You don’t have to be always smiling and laughing to be happy, just so long as you embrace the upbeat spark within you and choose to make it grow into something greater. Happy people, if they are truly happy, aren’t afraid to smile in uncertainty, and remain hopeful in serious times.

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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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