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20 Poisons To Your Happiness

20 Poisons To Your Happiness
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We have all, at one point or another, poisoned our own happiness, whether it be through worry, fear, or just poor decision making. Life can certainly throw a person into a tailspin but the real culprit isn’t the adversity, it’s how we perceive and respond to the adversity that determines the outcome. Sometimes it is simply a matter of wrong motives in life that can lead us down the venomous path, rather than the path that leads to the antidote.

1. Your jealousy can ruin any relationship.

Your better off dealing with jealousy head on when it rears its ugly head. Most people don’t want to admit when they have been bitten by the green-eyed monster but it can happen from time to time. There are people who exude jealousy to the point that it ruins relationships. It usually stems from feelings of inadequacy, and those are the things that a person must take a hard look at in order to salvage their relationships. A happy person is one who is free from jealousy and it shows in healthy relationships.

2. Your desire for superficial things in life can poison happiness.

It is often said that the happiest people are those who do more for others, rather than themselves. If your the type of person that pursues the superficial things of life: wealth, cars, name brand clothes, etc. then it is safe to say that you are poisoning your own happiness in life. The desire of the perfunctory will only lead to more dissatisfaction because our brain is hard-wired at a threshold for such things; it’s called hedonistic adaptation. Living a life of modesty will bring you more happiness in the long run.

3. Your grudge-holding will destroy your happiness.

I once knew a man who held a grudge against his father for leaving the family. His grudge festered within him like a cancer and destroyed any hope of his living life to the fullest. The Stoic philosophers believed that some things are out of our control, so in short, they aren’t worth worrying over or trying to fix. Happiness comes from moving forward in your life and letting go of grudges that would hold you back.

4. Your regrets in life will destroy your peace.

Your life most certainly will be filled with regrets from time to time; I call them mistakes. Mistakes are only there to teach you that a certain path has ended and so it is time to try another. There’s no use in looking back in regret, because you cannot change the past. Simply move forward and try another road. You will most certainly be happier for it.

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5. Your dependence on others will hinder happiness.

If you are dependent person or to use another phrase, codependent on another person for your happiness, you will undoubtedly be waiting a very long time for a happy life. Happiness will never come to you from another person, it can only come from within yourself. You can find happiness with someone within a relationship, but that cannot be trusted for your own happiness, because at some point in time, that person will let you down. Looking within is the only way to true joy.

6. Your need to fix other people will ruin your happiness.

This ties into co-dependence as well. If you feel the need to “fix” others, then you will never be focused on your own well-being and happiness. When your focus shifts away from the self, you will always find something that needs to be fixed in others in order to make you feel happy. The only person you can control is you; so why not focus on self-actualization for long-term happiness.

7. Your fear can hold a person back from experiencing true happiness.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” It can stem from many places, but you will only experience true happiness when you release your fears and simply do the thing your are afraid of doing.

8. Your selfishness is a poison to your happiness.

If your a selfish person, it means you always want things your way and others’  needs and opinions are often discarded in the process. Most people do not want to be in relationship with a selfish person and if this describes you, you may just find yourself alone and unhappy if it is not changed. Take a good look at yourself and examine areas of your life that have fallen prey to selfishness and make the necessary changes; you may find happiness was waiting for you all along.

9. Your happiness will wane when you set unreasonably high expectations of others.

Your need for everyone to meet your standards in life is an unreasonable expectation that most people will never be able to attain; therefore, you will most always be disappointed in people and thus unhappy in life. All people have their own personality type which will prevent them from ever being able to live up to what you expect of them. They cannot do it. When you let go of the expectation of others to perform to your standards, you will find that they, as well as yourself, will be much more elated. A free person is a happy person.

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10. Your self-righteous attitude will halt your happiness.

If your a self-righteous person it means that you feel you can do no wrong, and that other people are always in the wrong. I used to attend church and always felt this type of attitude amongst the people, which in turn made for a lot of unhappiness in many of the people’s relationships. It is impossible to be perfect all of the time, so why not do drop your self-righteousness and experience true happiness. Not only will your relationships flourish but you will be a much more relaxed individual.

11. Your living in the past will hinder happiness.

If your living in the past, it means that you are unhappy with the present. Your happiness is a current state of mind and if your life is not making you happy, then maybe it is time to examine your situation and makes some changes for the better. Maybe you need a new career goal? Maybe it’s time to finish a project you’ve been putting off? Whatever the case, moving forward in life will help you feel that you are living in the “now.”

12. Your dishonesty can dampen happiness.

If you are a dishonest person, chances are you have alienated yourself from others. Often times, people who are dishonest gain the reputation as someone who cannot be trusted; therefore, they are seen as an unfaithful friend and partner. Alienating yourself through dishonesty will surely lead to unhappiness and isolation.

13. Your substance use alters states of happiness.

Some may disagree but even if you use substances for temporary states of “happiness” it will be short-lived and once the high wears off, your feelings of unhappiness will be there, staring you in the face. Even for those who use chocolate and caffeine as means of escape, must admit that the euphoria is short-lived.

14. Your pessimism leads to perpetual moods of unhappiness.

It is thought that if you are the type of person that always has the pessimistic attitude it can lead to a life of unhappiness. In a sense, your words and thoughts have power to them and if you constantly use “negative talk” it’s like sending negative vibes out into the world. Thus, unhappiness appears to follow you around like a virus that won’t go away. The medicine for pessimism is to become aware of your negativity and work to change your thoughts and words for the better. Read, exercise, take up a hobby, whatever you need to feel better about yourself is worth a try.

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15. Your prejudice of other people can make you unhappy with yourself.

You would think that if someone is prejudiced against a group of people, it means they are unhappy with that group but quite the opposite is true. A prejudiced person is often an unhappy person, spewing their unhappiness onto a “scapegoat” group of people. Prejudiced people look for instances in which to unleash their fury onto others. They think it will somehow make them feel better, but it won’t. If you find that you are prejudiced (and we do all have certain prejudices), it may be time to sit down and really take stock in yourself and confront these issues head on; you will be glad you did.

16. Your self-doubt can lead to feelings of unhappiness.

If you doubt yourself consistently, it would stand to reason that it will lead you to feelings of unhappiness. A self-doubter may engage in negative self-talk which leads to deeper and deeper feelings of unhappiness. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be addressed with a close friend or counselor who may be able to help you through these feelings. Maybe finding a positive outlet in which to volunteer your time can boost your self-worth as well, and take your mind off yourself for a change.

17. Your unhappiness can stem from unchecked mental health.

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, it isn’t hard to figure that unhappiness follows. What causes these mental imbalances? Often the society we engage in daily is enough to send anyone into states of unhappiness by way of anxiety and other mental illnesses. Sometimes there are more serious issues at hand but unhappiness is robbed all the same. Take time and talk with someone in whom you trust who can help you sort through life’s mishaps. When in doubt seek professional help.

18. Your pet can help ward off happiness poisons.

Pets are a wonderful way to boost your happiness. If you are someone who doesn’t like or doesn’t want a pet, think about volunteering at a place with animals or some other outlet in order to introduce yourself to the appropriate ways to interact with pets. It has been found that when petting an animal, a person’s mood automatically lifts.

19. Your ability to volunteer your time to the needy can help you become happier.

Giving your time to those in need will help cure the unhappiness in your life. Sometimes seeing those less fortunate than yourself helps put things in perspective.

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20. Your stress can prevent happiness in your life.

Stress is not only unhealthy for your physical well-being but emotional as well. If you are the type of person who has constant stress in your life, it may be time to make drastic changes. Take inventory of your life and get rid of the unnecessary. Living a life of simplicity can sometimes be just the thing you need to prevent stress and improve your happiness.

I hope you find these insights to be of use in your life. If you find that your happiness is being poisoned, maybe one of these tips is the culprit. In any case, seek happiness from within. Meditate, read, pray, exercise, whatever you need to improve yourself, and happiness is sure to follow.

Featured photo credit: anitapeppers via mrg.bz

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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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