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When You’re Away From Home, You Understand These 20 Amazing Things

When You’re Away From Home, You Understand These 20 Amazing Things
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Living away from home is a big step for many reasons. There are so many phases of emotion people go through when they first move, but eventually they realise it was the best thing they have ever done. The lessons you learn when you’re alone are lessons you use for the rest of your life. It’s also a great way to have hilarious stories to tell your friends. Here are twenty things only people who live away from home can really understand.

1. You learn to enjoy being alone.

The quiet is disturbing at first, and you may find it difficult to get used to. Eventually, you learn to enjoy the quiet and learn that being alone is time for you to spend with yourself, which is very therapeutic. It becomes something you miss when you go back to visit your family from time to time.

2. You have the opportunity to figure out what your thoughts on things are.

When you live at home, you are surrounded by people who have different opinions and these opinions have an effect on how you think. When you are alone, you have time to really find out what you think about certain things and develop your own set of beliefs.

3. You realise you are stronger than you had realized.

When you’re faced with adversity, you seem to muster up strength you never knew you had. Only when you live alone do you really see how strong you actually are when dealing with stressful situations.

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4. You appreciate the little things.

You never realised what a blessing it was to have a fridge full of groceries and a table ready with dinner when you were living at home. When you live away from home, you come home to a dark house and bills. You will never take things for granted ever again.

5. You learn to be more aware of your responsibilities.

When you live alone, you develop a biological alarm clock that reminds you to do important things. This biological alarm clock doesn’t exist initially; it grows over time, and when it does, you end up being pretty proud of yourself.

6. You can blast music throughout your house and dance with no inhibitions.

There is nothing more liberating than turning up the volume and just letting go of all your stress, which is something you can only do if your not in a house full of people.

7. You become more aware of money and when not to spend it.

You have the balance of your debit account recorded in your mind, and you mentally subtract from it every time you spend, making sure you don’t go past your budget. Sometimes you do spend too much, and when that does happen, you spend the rest of the month never leaving your apartment.

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8. You tend to double check if you locked the door and turned the stove off multiple times in one night.

You can never be too careful. You do not want to be the person that sets the fire alarm off at three in the morning.

9. You learn to appreciate just how much you enjoyed being around your family, even if you didn’t realize it when you were living with them.

You miss their dumb jokes at the dinner table. You actually just miss having them at the dinner table. Any chance to Skype with them is just bliss.

10. You learn to self motivate.

With no one around to tell you what to do, it’s easy to get carried away, but you find a way to motivate yourself to do work. When you do end up getting work done, you feel pretty good about yourself.

11. You develop some kind of organizational skills.

Even if things don’t seem organized to everyone around you, you understand your system and that’s the most important thing.

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12. You learn to appreciate the things that were done for you when you did live at home.

Now that you have to do them all yourself, you see how hard they actually were. Paying bills and writing checks are not exactly fun jobs. You are grateful that these jobs were once done for you, but appreciate that you are learning to do them yourself.

13. You become an expert multi-tasker.

Multi-tasking is the best way you can make maximum use of your time. You never realized there would come a time when you had to stir spaghetti sauce whilst you were sweeping the floor and reading simultaneously.

14. You find that almost everything in life requires filling out forms.

You spend ninety percent of your time ticking boxes and signing on dotted lines. If these forms were a final exam you would probably get a hundred percent.

15. When you take important phone calls, you find that you have slowly transitioned from being awkward to actually sounding like a grown-up.

You hang up and you realize that you managed to make it through the phone call without saying anything awkward and that’s when you know you have won at life.

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16. You fake being an adult so well that you eventually become a fully functioning one.

During some point of your life away from home, you will have an out of body experience where you will watch yourself be such a grown up that you won’t even recognize yourself. It’s a pretty spectacular moment that you’ll cherish for a long time.

17. You become good at responding to unexpected changes.

You eventually deal with them calmly and rationally, which is a change from how you first used to deal with them. You are impressed with how well you handle erratic situations, but are glad you developed this vital life skill.

18. You are a master at keeping in touch with people because you are so used to living away from people you love

Technology is your best friend when it comes to keeping in touch with people.

19. You learn to enjoy change and transitioning more than you used to

You learn that change is a part of life and you find that change builds character. You look at any potential changes as challenges that you will eventually master and learn valuable lessons from.

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20. You hold on to things less tightly

You become good at letting go of things and moving on, which is a big part of growing up.

Featured photo credit: young hipster man looking at the mountains via shutterstock.com

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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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