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15 Reasons To Send Your High School Besties A Thank You Card

15 Reasons To Send Your High School Besties A Thank You Card
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There are some friendships that crash and burn from your high school years – and then there are some that you hold near and dear to your heart forever. They have accepted you for who you are after the many phases you’ve been through. They have endured the mundane moments of your shared history and have learned the lessons of life at almost the same exact pace as you. Here are fifteen different reasons you need to send your high school friends a thank you card.

1. They were your friends before you got your life together…

Before you got your jobs, fancy or not-so-fancy cars, and an ID card stating that you’re over the age of 21 – you had your friends. Your friends in high school were okay with simply hanging out. They didn’t mind taking the bus to the mall and window shopping or hanging out at the park. They were friends with you because they liked who you were as a person and loved your company.

2. And if it still isn’t, they understand

If you don’t have your life together, it’s okay with them. Why? Because more than likely, they don’t have it completely together, either. They are right there with you to enjoy the ups and downs of growing up. They are learning the same lessons with you: that not everyone’s path is paved perfectly.

3. They understand each and every emotion you go through when scrolling through your news feed

You all have to be honest with yourselves here with this one. When you go through your news feed and read through the latest drama, or see that the one couple you went to high school with finally got married, you know exactly who to text. They will understand completely how you feel and more than likely, they are with you (on your couch!) reading it.

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4. They are there through your new beginnings and heartbreaks

They were there when you still hoped dating would be easy… and that means they were there when you found out the hard way that relationships take work. They never judged you for it though, they were there to listen – with eggs in hand to throw at your ex’s car.

5. They were there to share car rides with you

After one of you got a car, your bus riding days were long gone! You drove everywhere together. They were with you on the way to school, back home, to the mall, to the movies, and anywhere else you could think of to drive. Sure, carpooling can become mundane and passé as you get older, but they made carpooling cool with the windows down and the music turned all the way up.

6. They were there to witness or experience your first taste of real life responsibility

They were there around the time when you got your first job, and more than likely they were in the same boat as you. You found out together that earning money at an actual job and earning money at home doing chores are two different things. You learned together that your parents were being nice by not taking taxes out of your allowance. You were also together when you got your first paychecks and blew it all the very next day!

7. They are the reason you have a second family

Growing up, you had more than one home, more than one parent watching out for you, and more than one car to get around in. You may have been a bit annoyed when their parents called you out on some things, but they made up for it with the free food in their fridge.

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8. They were there in a heartbeat to get rid of the bad day blues

During the days where you’re just burnt out from your really hard life, your friends have been there to pick you up for a quick meal or a drive. When you weren’t allowed to take the car anywhere and needed to get away, they were parked in your driveway waiting. Most of the time, a quick milkshake or burger at your local diner was enough to make your day.

9. Lyrics, emojis, and photos can be a two hour conversation – and neither of you have a problem with that

It doesn’t matter if its the lyrics to your favorite Pitch Perfect mash-up or memes about leg day, this can go on for hours. Some people don’t understand it but that’s okay.

10. They are okay with your binge eating (no judgment here)

Sometimes we have days where the stomach can be a black hole. It doesn’t matter if you have already eaten 14 tacos, 2 pancakes, and are going in for a burger, they are okay with you doing so. In fact, they are more than likely at 16 tacos, 3 pancakes, and have already finished their burger.

11. They taught you to work and play

You all remember telling your parents you were going over to your friend’s house to do “homework,” when your time was actually spent watching TV, swimming, or at the mall hanging out. If you were actually doing homework, you were probably cramming it all together within the last hour of the four you spent at their house.

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12. They taught you to appreciate every moment you are given

Remember when you were given a curfew and you had to cram all those activities planned into a three hour time frame? They were there with you during the days where you needed to make every minute count. Even on the days out that your parents weren’t aware of, you found the time to grab ice cream, cruise the mall and still be back in time to be home “after school”. This tended to happen especially when you were grounded.

13. They taught you to be okay with the camera and love your selfies.

Most of your profile pictures from MySpace and Facebook were the outcome of times spent in photo booths and testing your new phone’s camera. They taught you to love your photos and how you look.

14. They were there to celebrate the first big step in your life: graduation

Though this seems like a small celebration now that you have your busy adult lives to worry about, it was the first step to the rest of your lives. They were there to share it with you, walk across that stage, move their tassel and throw their hats with you. They celebrated with you before with your families, and after with your friends. They cried with you during the speeches and jumped for joy when they announced your class.

15. They make sure you never feel alone.

It doesn’t matter if you are going to school across the world from each other or are going to the same school for the same major, they are there for you. They are there to make sure everything is still okay in your life and that you’re not on the verge of a mental breakdown. You can call them at 4am and cry about how you wasted several years of you life on something stupid or text them for a quick beer and wings date. They will be there.

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Even though high school was a small portion of your long life, you ended up with at least one friend you can send a thank you card to for being so awesome. That one friend, in my opinion, is better than many acquaintances.

Featured photo credit: Dan Anderson via flickr.com

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Margielyn Musser

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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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