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19 Steps To True Happiness That Everyone Is Looking For

19 Steps To True Happiness That Everyone Is Looking For
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Happiness is a term that has forever been a vague concept to grasp with countless studies and experiments done in order to decipher what it actually is and how it can be achieved.

In my person experience, happiness simply can’t be defined by using stats or figures and is first and foremost a feeling, which can only be manifested and acquired by you.

It’s an internal feeling that comes from a decision to be happy as well as a series of actions in order to help provoke it from within you.

Here are 20 ways that, when applied, have personally lead to increases in my happiness every time. Perhaps there are a few you can relate to.

1) Stop comparing yourself to others and false ideals.

When you look at the things around you, there are advertisements everywhere telling you what you need in your life in order to be happy. They encourage you to aspire to ideals that don’t actually exist and make you feel insecure about yourself.

The truth is, the things you see in advertisements and movies aren’t real. Most of it is manipulated and edited so that it looks perfect. We’re far from perfect, but we are unique and worthy enough to be special in the world. The truth is, you don’t need anything or to be anything in order to be valued on this planet.

2) Do what you love.

The best way to find out what it is you truly love in this world is to look deep inside yourself and to scope out whether what it is you want is due to what society tells you to like, or because of what you feel you want deep inside yourself.

If you felt ashamed of pursuing the things you truly enjoy due to social and societal pressure, then chances are, you’re being influenced, which is directly affecting your happiness. Pursue things you love without shame and don’t be afraid of standing out.

3) Turn off the television.

Simply put. Television is a distraction to the realities of the life around you and can easily influence you to believe in things that simply aren’t true. The best way to see the world in its entirety and completely uncensored is to turn off your television and to leave your house.

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What do your very eyes see of the world when you aren’t being fed with third party information?
There is no better experience in this world than to see it with your own eyes.

4) Don’t take yourself too seriously.

While life can be complicated at times and give you a hard time, there really is no denying the fact that all of us will depart the world in due course. This reminder should always be present when living out your daily life. It can help you realize that there really is no sense in taking life too seriously.

Learn to take in the world in its entirety and to enjoy it for what it is‒good and bad.

5) Be selfless and avoid being selfish.

Whatever it is you choose to do in this world, always try do it for reasons other than your own personal gain. The art of giving is perhaps one of the key things that has been proven to enrich your satisfaction and happiness, but is rarely ever practiced in society with regularity.

6) Be grateful for what you have.

In reference to #1, if you judge the quality of your life based on the things you own and how you look, you will never be happy, since you’ll always be looking for external references to prove to you that you are.

Whatever it is you may be unsatisfied with, somewhere in the world is a person who dreams of having the things you currently have. Always be grateful because it’s the precursor to moving forward with your personal and spiritual growth.

7) Share your values and kindness with others.

Similar to #6, there is nothing more satisfying than to spread your qualities with those around you and to influence people in a positive way.

Maybe it’s a blog you currently run, which you’re using to share your wisdom with others. Or perhaps it’s a skill you have that you’re happy to give and share in abundance.

Find out what your strengths and qualities are and don’t shy away from exposing it to the world.

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8) Learn to be patient‒things will happen at the right time.

The things we want and hope to achieve in this world are hardly ever acquired at the times we want them to. As hard as you work, it’s simply a law of average that the things you’re looking to achieve will simply happen in due course, but with no date as to when it will happen.

As long as you continue to push forward and keep taking the right steps that get you one step further towards your goals, it is then simply a matter of time and patience; it will happen for you eventually.

9) Become accepting of others as we’re all the same, yet unique.

Everyone may be the same as far as human nature is concerned, but we are all, in fact, different from each other, with unique nuances and characteristics. Learn to appreciate it and to see as a way of learning more about their character and personality.

10) Become forgiving of yourself and of other’s imperfections.

Following up from #10, don’t try to attempt to change people into your ideal. Life simply doesn’t work that way. There will be some people who you will naturally get along with, and others you will not. This is completely normal and a basic fact of life.

But above all, always be appreciative of people whether they’re in line with your values or not. This includes your very own characteristics. There’s nothing worse than to pretend to be someone you’re not in order to please others.

11) Keep a personal diary.

Our thoughts and worries can sometimes overwhelm us and in time, build up to a level that can cause us to feel depressed and frustrated. The best way to overcome this is to write down your thoughts on a notepad or a diary in order to help you unload whatever’s on your mind.

It’s never a good idea to keep things stuck in your mind, as it usually becomes a lot worse than it actually is, in reality.

12) Stop being a consumer.

We are often taught by the media that buying the next ‘shiny object’ would lead us to feeling better about ourselves in some way. Biologically speaking, this is somewhat true, as our body releases a short term chemical called ‘Dopamine’ that makes us feel a surge of satisfaction and excitement. But the sad truth is, it’s short lived, and is often confused for happiness.

Become conscious of the things you buy and start to question whether what you’re buying is something you actually need or whether it’s to fill a void in your life that you feel you currently have.

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If it’s the latter, then start to question why that is and begin to look for healthier solutions.

13) Become fascinated with the world you live in.

The world we live in is a very vast and abundant planet with a lot of things to do and experience It is simply impossible to see all of it in a single lifetime.
If there’s nothing more to get you excited, always remember that there is always something you have yet to experience, which could potentially lead you on a path you never thought possible.

14) Travel the world.

Its not until you leave your home country that you really begin to see just how different and varied our planet is. There are so many people to see, foods to taste and places to visit. It has literally changed my worldview and has helped me develop into a more open-minded and well-rounded person.

15) Learn about and make friends with people from other cultures and backgrounds.

Similarly, you will never quite develop a better understanding and deeper appreciation for people than if you consciously go out of your way and befriend people from other cultures and backgrounds.

You begin to see that while we may have different lifestyles and ways of doing things, in the end, we are all the same living under the same roof, which is the ever-expanding universe.

It will help you come to terms with the fact that, yes, there are people who are different from you and that like you, they too have worries, hopes and dreams.

16) Do your research when given information from other sources.

While wisdom, information and facts are important, you should always keep an open mind and seek to inquire with your own personal experiences.

Is the information you’ve been given really true based on your own personal experiences? Or is it simply a belief based on another person’s interpretation?

An inquiring mind is an open mind that isn’t easily manipulated.

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17) Smile more often.

It’s been proven by science that smiling more often and smiling just for the sake of smiling helps you be happy as well as help others feel better around you. Your physiology can in fact be changed simply by your psychology and vice-versa.

If you’re honestly feeling down or depressed. Consciously smile, stand tall and walk with your chest out. Then watch how you feel about yourself change with your very eyes.

18) Eat healthy foods and sleep well.

Our body is like a car engine and constantly needs refreshing and looking after. If it isn’t well-fed or maintained, it can lead to illnesses and a poor immune system, which over time will cause other problems as we age.

If you’re young, develop the habit of taking care of what you eat and drink and rest regularly. You may have all the energy in the world in your youth, but it will not be as abundant at a later stage in life.

But the enjoyment of your health can be maintained for years to come and will be solely dependent on how you treat your body in the present.

19) Meditate.

With so many things to do and experience, there will be times where you need to switch off from the world and reach a place of relaxation. Spend at least 5-10 minutes in complete solitude, thinking of nothing but your very own breathing and making it a daily habit.

You will find that over time, your mind will be a lot more stable and will begin to feel at peace with yourself as well as not be easily affected by the things around you.

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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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