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16 Habits Of Empathetic People

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16 Habits Of Empathetic People

Empathetic people aren’t always that easy to find – we’re those rare foil-wrapped Lindt truffles, smooth on the outside and gooey in the center. So how d’you spot an empathetic person from a mile off? Here are 16 habits to help you find these shining jewels among the crowd – because they are very worth finding.

1. They overspend on presents

The most empathetic of us trawl the internet for the perfect gift to light up birthdays everywhere. That expensive lawn mower that we can’t really afford for Mum, that newest of the cool gadgets Dad wanted, the signed Britney CD for our best friend (who is slightly stuck in the past…) Because as empathasisers, we don’t just feel others’ pain, we feel their pleasure.

2. They overthink

Because we are always stuck in the shoes of other people, looking through the eyes of those around us, we can be rather harsh on ourselves and overthink things. We’retoonice. Sometimes we take it too hard when we are criticized and are too keen to please. We should be better to ourselves and stop caring quite so much about what other people think.

3. They’re mega affectionate on social media

Do you have that one friend who likesevery singlephoto, status, blog post and whatever else you throw at the internet? I know, we’re like an army of like-happy stalkers, all over your Instagram, your Facebook, your Twitter – we even endorse you on LinkedIn. Because we know how it feels when no one likes our stuff and we love you far too much to let that happen.

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4. They never bail

You have plans? You’ve been looking forward to that fat burger at Five Guys all day? Never fear, we may have trying headaches and an early start tomorrow but we will be there, because we hate how it feels to be let down and we refuse to be the cause of that in our friends.

5. They’re great bakers

When you’re down in the dumps, we get our oven mitts on, because we know all you need is a moist slice of cakey goodness to get you back on your feet. We’ve perfected the art of Oreo brownies and we know your favorite desserts by heart.

6. They’re great in the sack

We’re great at romance and we like to know what makes you tick. We’ll always treat you well and we’re always aware of just how much fun you’rereallyhaving. You want generosity? Check in with an empie.

7. They always use their pleases and thank yous

You barrel into us on the street and knock our bags out of our hands? We’ll probably be the ones to apologize first. And when someone thanks us, our instinct is not ‘you’re welcome’, but a ‘thank you’ right back (we know it makes no sense, it’s just hardwired into our niceness…) We’re uber polite, perhaps too polite, but our parents taught us our manners and we stick to them.

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8. They’ll always leave you the last Malteser

If you know any empathisers in your life, treat them to the last biscuit in the barrel, the last donut, the last Revel (even if it is that shriveled chocolate raisin). Because empiesalways, without fail,give out the last goodie to anyone else who will take it. Because it makes us happier to make your day than to indulge ourselves.

9. They love animals

If we see a golden retriever on the train or find a cat in a car park, we will love that little fur ball as if we have known the critter our whole life. Lock your pets away because we might just steal them (except we would feel your loss and return said creature immediately, before the cycle started all over again).

10. Theyalwaysfeel guilty

We didn’t text you back, we forgot about an appointment and wasted the doctor’s much-sought-after time, we dropped the ball on the most high-profile project of the year at the office – it all cuts us like a knife. Because we don’t just feel our own pain, we take the bullet for the whole building.

11. They’re big on comfort eating

Empathisers really appreciate a good tasty treat, because we’re so aware of the comfort it gives us. And man, when the boyfriend dumps us in Zizzi’s or our boss demotes us for photocopying our unmentionables, boy do we hit Ben and Jerry’s hard. Because it makes us feel so damn good.

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12. They sometimes cry in bathrooms

Empathisers are always there for you, but rarely ask for that support to be returned. We’re so attuned to others that we jump to aid anyone who is upset, which means that we often expect others to have the same intuition. Which often leads to lonely emotional outpourings in public toilets.

13. They couldn’t harm a fly

Literally. Empies are even sensitive to insects and no matter how many nightmares we have about that hairy eight-legged monster in the corner of the bedroom, we willnotdestroy. We’ll cup-and-paper it if we’re feeling brave, but mostly, we’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist. And when our cat brings in a half dead mouse? The pet ambulance is here – we’ll race down the road to the nearest vet and if that mouse can be saved, we’ll make damn sure that it is.

14. They are experts in all things tea-related

White, with two sugars, lukewarm? Half a dash of milk and one sweetener? We’ve got your back. We remember how much you love your cuppa and we do not disappoint with those warming leaves of glory. Which makes us the very best of hosts – no need to grin and bear it, your empie friend knows how you feel before you do and has used their magical empathetic skills to suss you out.

15. They give great hugs

None of those reserved bodies-barely-touching hugs from us empies – full on close cuddles are our forte. We’ll get all up in your grill and invade your personal space, because that’s where we know we belong.

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16. They stick like glue

You’ll never get rid of an empie once you’ve befriended them. You can have the biggest row and your empie will forgive you immediately – because we know what you’re really feeling, what the fight is really about, and we couldn’t possibly hold it against you when you’re in such emotional distress over the loss of poor Mr Flops, the cutest, most loyal bunny in the country. So kick and scream but you can’t get rid of us that easily – we’ll just hug you into submission for years to come.

Featured photo credit: Flikr, John Remy 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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