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15 Natural Ways to Stop Feeling Depressed

15 Natural Ways to Stop Feeling Depressed
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For many people, there are days where it’s a challenge just to get out of bed in the morning. They’re overcome with feelings of sadness and helplessness. Most of the time, these feelings stem from depression. Sadly, depression has become all too common in recent years. A survey from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that 11% of Americans 12-years-old and older take antidepressants. With more people turning to medication, some are looking toward more natural means to fight mild cases of depression. Here are some natural ways that can help you stop feeling depressed.

1. Remember the good times.

Thinking back on some of your past successes and happy moments can actually help you out of that funk. Positive thinking can alter your mood for the better and increase your serotonin levels. While thinking positive may be difficult while in the grips of depression, it’s an important first step to getting back on your feet.

2. Set a new routine.

If what you’re doing now for your daily routine isn’t working, try something different. The feeling of monotony from daily tasks can sometimes lead to depression, so changing things up is a must. That doesn’t mean you have to throw out your entire routine. Setting a schedule is still important to maintain structure in your life and help you get on track with what you need to do.

3. Be thankful.

Showing gratitude while depressed can be very difficult, but it’s one way to get out of that mindset. Being thankful will help you focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have or what’s going wrong in life. That change of attitude can help pull you from too many despondent thoughts.

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4. Change your surroundings.

If your surroundings are getting you down, it’s time to change them up. Rearrange the furniture in your room, open up the curtains to let in more sunlight, or repaint your room. Do what you can to make your surroundings look new and exciting.

5. Get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep can lead to depression. Depression can lead to lack of sleep. It’s a vicious cycle that’s tough to break. You can maintain a more structured sleep schedule by making sure to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Don’t take naps and get rid of any distractions that may prevent you from getting the sleep you need.

6. Get exercise.

Getting up and moving can have some major positive effects on your mental state. Exercising releases endorphins into the body, which help to relax you and improve your mood. Getting some exercise can be as simple as going for a fifteen minute walk or adopting a more rigorous exercise regimen like Nu Skin’s TR90 program.

7. Know the cycle of depression.

Having the right knowledge to fight depression is key. Depression tends to follow a cycle involving the causes of stress, physical symptoms, behavior, and thoughts and feelings. One negative aspect in the cycle can lead to depression, so finding those things that are within your control can help you avoid depression before it hits.

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8. Do something new.

If what you’re doing every day still leaves you in a depressed state, go out and do something new. Take a class to learn a new skill, read that book you’ve always meant to pick up, volunteer in the community, or go to an art festival. Anything that breaks you out of the normal pattern of your life can do wonders for your mood.

9. Go outside.

Nature has a profound effect in creating a positive mood. Simply being exposed to sunlight can increase productivity, health, and happiness. Taking in the fresh air and enjoying a nice clear day makes it easier to overcome feelings of sadness.

10. Think beyond today.

It’s easy to focus on what today is going to bring, but looking beyond that to the big picture can help you keep things in perspective. It can help you understand that the sadness and depression you’re feeling will only last for a moment, while you still have big dreams to live for in the future.

11. Do something fun.

You know what activities bring you joy. If you’re feeling down, go do those fun things. Often life gets complicated and congested, but if you make the time to do something you enjoy, you’ll feel a lot better.

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12. Eat a healthy diet.

People in the grips of depression tend to eat junk food or overeat in general. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can do much to improve your mood. It doesn’t just have to be fruits and vegetables either. Chocolate has been shown to make people happy. You should also focus on fish, walnuts, spinach, and avocado since they have nutrients that can help lift you when you’re feeling down.

13. Spend time with friends & family.

Get out and socialize. Many times, depression leaves us with the desire to stay isolated, cutting ourselves off from the rest of the world, but that’s all the more reason to reconnect with friends and family. Those closest to you can provide loving support during your toughest times. Simply talking to them can help alleviate many of the symptoms you feel when depressed.

14. Set goals.

When you’re at your lowest point, you need something to work toward. That’s why goals can be very valuable in overcoming depression. The goals you set don’t have to be overly elaborate or complicated either. They can be as simple as going outside at least once a day or doing the dishes. Simple goals can also help you get into a new routine.

15. Avoid drugs & alcohol.

Drinking alcohol or doing drugs only make depression worse, yet many people turn to these options thinking they’ll provide relief. If you’re depressed, you need to stay as far from drugs and alcohol as possible.

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These are just a few of the many natural ways you can help yourself beat depression. As always, in the most serious of cases, you should seek professional help, but for mild depression, these suggestions could prove beneficial for making you feel happier and more content.

Featured photo credit: Depression via upload.wikimedia.org

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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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