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14 Choices Happy People Make

14 Choices Happy People Make

People make a lot of choices throughout the day. Think about it. What to wear, what to eat for breakfast, how to get to work, whether or not to say hi to co-workers, who to send emails to, where to go for lunch, what bills to pay, what errands to run, whether or not to see friends, what to watch on TV, what time to go to bed, etc. The list goes on and on and on.

One of the most paramount and compelling choices people face is whether or not to let bad or unexpected things get them down and make them feel unhappy. Guess what happy people choose. They choose to be happy regardless of what is happening around them.

If you want to start feeling happier, then do what happy people do, and make these 14 choices:

1. Forgive.

“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”

Forgiveness is a powerful tool that people have at their disposal. Happy people forgive because that’s what best for them. They know holding on to anger, sadness, or frustration will only hurt themselves. You can forgive because that is what will help you feel better. It can be difficult, sure, but you can choose to do it.

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2. Take things one day at a time.

Take a deep breath. Slow down for a minute. Your experience in this very moment is your life. Worrying about the past can get in the way of your here and now. You can think about your future, but do so mindfully, so you always remain truly present. Choose to take things one day at a time.

3. Have a bad day.

Happy people know they will experience hurt sometimes. It’s an unchangeable fact of life. If you can accept this inevitability, then you can be prepared for it when it comes. Explore your bad days and try to find out what is really going on beneath the surface. Ask your inner child what he or she needs and then try to fulfill that need. Please don’t expect that you’re never going to feel bad because that will just make you unhappy. Choose to have a bad day once in a while.

4. Never take things personally.

“When someone is nasty or treats you poorly, don’t take it personally. It says nothing about you, but a lot about them.” – Michael Josephson

This couldn’t be truer. All people have bad days, right? (Refer to #3!) If someone is rude to you, ignores you, or looks sad, it likely has nothing to do with you. Don’t make assumptions about what is going on in other people’s heads, and don’t worry about rescuing them from their moods or problems. It is not your job, nor your responsibility. Happy people will listen to a friend in need, but know better than to make it about themselves. Choose not to take things personally.

5. Try. (Even when it seems way too hard.)

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

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How can you make a shot if you don’t take it? How can you succeed if you don’t try? Always give yourself a chance. Happy people attempt things even when success is not guaranteed and even when it’s scary for them. What an amazing feeling it will be to succeed through uncertainty! By the way, failing is also healthy. You can learn and grow from failure. Don’t be afraid of change, but instead take risks. You can handle it! Choose to try.

“Failing is not falling down but refusing to get up.” – Chinese proverb

6. Love yourself.

You’ve got to love yourself. You really do. Respect and wholly accept who you are, down to your core. Remember that you are not your behaviors or your emotions. We all make bad decisions and act poorly sometimes. Who doesn’t? At the time you made a questionable decision, did you believe you were making one? Probably not. We all screw up sometimes! Live and learn, and then love yourself with all your flaws and imperfections. Consider this: there are no “mistakes,” but rather opportunities to learn and grow. You are wonderful just the way you are. Choose to love yourself!

7. Take responsibility.

Take full responsibility for yourself. You don’t have to love your actions or feelings, but you do have to own them. Try not to blame yourself or other people for your problems. If you are acting negatively right now, that’s your choice. And it’s okay! If that is what you need to do, then do it. But own up to it, and turn it around it when you are ready. Even if something or someone bothered you, you do not have to let it control you. Remember not to give that power away. You can choose to take responsibility.

8. Laugh.

Laugh! Laugh your little heart out. Laugh until you turn red. Laugh until your stomach hurts. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at your friends. Laugh at all the silly gaffes, snafus, and flubs you’ve made. Laugh at all the annoying behaviors that used to drive you crazy. Laugh as much as you can. Laughter is the cheapest and easiest medicine you can get, and there are no side-effects! Happy people choose to laugh and so can you.

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“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

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    9. Let go.

    Let go of expectations. Let go of anxiety. Let go of fear. Let go of hate. Let go of hurt. Let go of the past. Let go of trying to fix things. Let things work themselves out, and while that’s happening, the only things you have to do are livelearn, and smile. Choose to let go today.

    10. Be grateful.

    Think about everything and everyone in your life. Name three things or people you are thankful for. Name five more things or people you are thankful for. How about 10? Can you name 15? Now, thank the people and things you listed. While you’re at it, thank the clothes you’re wearing and the computer you’re using. Don’t forget to thank the car you drove, the bus you took, or the bike you rode today. You can choose to recognize all you have, and once you do, you will be choosing happiness.

    11. Trust.

    First, trust yourself. Trust that you are strong. Trust that you can survive. Trust that you make good decisions and have well-developed opinions. Trust that you are in control.

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    Second, trust that you have great family and friends. Trust that they have your best interests in mind. Trust that they do not ever intend to hurt you. Choose to see the good in people. Choose trust.

    12. Help others.

    Do you know someone who could use a hand? Why don’t you offer to help them out this weekend? Have you ever volunteered? Why not visit a shelter, read to children at a hospital, donate to a food pantry, or hang out with some grandmas at an old-age home? How about holding the door or giving someone a free smile? Doing these kinds of things will make you feel good. Choose to be kind and help others out.

    13. Think things through.

    Think everything through. You don’t need to rush to make decisions. You don’t need to react, but instead, you can give yourself time to process. While your mind synthesizes, you can paint a picture, read a book, or talk to a friend. Relax and let your brain do the work. A lot goes on in your head in one day; it needs time to go through it all. Choose to let time be on your side and think things through.

    14. Be happy.

    It can be that simple if you let it. Sure, everyone has different DNA and various levels of endorphins in their brains, but all of us can make choices. You can let things get you down or you can be happy. Starting today, choose happiness.

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    Namaste

      Featured photo credit: Nosha 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)

      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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