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20 Things to Tell Yourself When You Are Facing Adversities

20 Things to Tell Yourself When You Are Facing Adversities
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Sometimes, things are hard. Whether the challenges are small or big, looming or present, or some stressful combination of all, adversities tend to pile up until we feel overwhelmed.

Get a handle on yourself and your circumstances with these twenty reminders:

1. Accept it.

Things happen, and sometimes they are really, really bad things. Sometimes you will eventually learn “why;” sometimes, you won’t. The faster you can accept that whatever has or is happening, has or is occurring, the faster you can channel your resources toward healing and finding a solution.

2. Know that how you react is what matters.

A quick internet search will turn up dozens of motivational quotations about how it’s the reaction that matters, not the incident. These quotes are correct, and not only because they were written by gurus. You can’t control how other people act, or the current situation, even if you did have control over the process that led you to this point. You can always control how you react. If you have not thought of it in these terms before, there’s good news: it’s never too late to start.

3. Allow these challenges to make you better.

No matter what lies before you, your current challenges present an opportunity to make you better. You have a chance to learn to react with positivity, grace, and creativity; to go through a process that will expand your mind, body, and spirit; and to develop lasting solutions from this new, stronger place that uphold the new, stronger you. Take this opportunity. Take all of these opportunities.

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4. Take a breath.

No matter what the circumstance, you have time to take a deep breath, pause, and think calmly about what your next move will be. Even and especially in an emergency, you will be more effective and efficient if you proceed deliberately. In the process of discovering how and why you got to where you currently are, you will likely ask yourself some “big” questions. Schedule and take time to explore and reflect during the healing process. If you neglect this stillness, not only will your solutions be half-baked, but you are more likely to repeat your mistakes.

5. Throw away the clock.

We live in a “quick fix” culture. We expect our problems to be solved overnight. Realize that even if your problems were created seemingly instantly, they may take some time to correct and fix. As you develop plans, be realistic about how long execution and implementation will take, and candidly asses how much change you can make in a given period of time. Are you thousands of dollars in debt? You likely won’t fix that in a month. Faced with a significant health condition? If it took your body years to manifest illness, it will take some time to right the course. Refer to #4, take another deep breath, and give the recovery process time.

6. Nourish yourself.

If you are confronting a challenge that is long-term, or will take time to resolve, it is important to nourish yourself during the recovery process. Eat well, rest, drink water, take breaks to get outside and pursue relaxing activities. Recovery is a journey, and you won’t be fit to trek the entire way unless you take care of yourself. You are your most powerful recovery resource – treat yourself accordingly.

7. Try something new.

You may, or may not, have the coping skills to deal with your current situation. Be proactive in exploring new options. Never tried meditation before? Plop yourself down. Always sneered at yoga? Pull up a mat. Always eat lunch at your desk? Clear 15 minutes to take a walk and get outside. You never know what will help you, until you try it.

8. Draw courage from others.

Spend some time talking to folks you know, seeking out support groups, or spending time online to connect with others in your current circumstance. There is someone out there who has been through what you are currently facing and has come out of it better than alright. Might some of their methods work for you? If not, at the very least their example will serve as a source of inspiration as you face your challenge.

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9. Surround yourself with positive people.

Like attracts like, and there is no substitute for surrounding yourself with positive people to buoy your own spirits. They’ve faced their own challenges, too, and they’re just fine. Even if they don’t have solutions, positive people have spirit, and sometimes, that’s just as good.

10. Praise what is going well.

Something in your life is going well. Do you have a beautiful child? Were you able to put food on the table today? Did you see anything that made you smile? Did you make some progress towards your healing goal? Uphold and celebrate every positive thing you can identify in your life, including the progress you make as you overcome your current challenges.  There is always something to be grateful for. If you’re alive, there’s energy and space for improvement and change; if you can’t cling to anything else, start with that.

11. Wrangle your emotions.

When the going is tough, you do not have time for grief, sorrow, depression, or wallowing, especially if you are responsible for children, animals, or other souls. Sometimes emotions must be pushed to the side while we buckle down and do what needs to be done. Be tough. Get the job done, and process once you are on safe footing again.

12. Fake it ’til you make it.

Having a hard time figuring out how to act positive when hard things are happening? Go to your mirror. Look yourself in the eye. Smile. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little bit of a grimace – do it. Then paste that look on your face and go about your day. At some point, you won’t be faking it quite as much, and that is called “progress.”

13. Acknowledge that you are responsible for your circumstances.

Time spent blaming others is wasted. You are responsible for your life and the way you live – the good, the bad, the joyful, the challenging. Finding and implementing lasting solutions is up to you, as well. Own it. When you own it, you can control it. When you control it, you can change it.

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14. Invest in yourself.

Developing tools for healing and change will likely require an investment in yourself. This investment could be financial, in the form of encouraging and uplifting books, audio tapes, or relaxation tools, or it could be measured in time, such as going to the library to check out a self-help book, then actually reading it. Most likely, the investment is a combination of both, but it’s worth making. Not only will you uncover new tools for success, but your confidence will rise as your psyche responds to the very tangible message that you are worth it.

15. Be gentle.

No matter what happened, no matter how much you believe you should have seen it coming – you didn’t. You did, or did not, do the things that created your present circumstance. Put down the whip of self-flagellation, and commit yourself to making progress and moving forward. If you need help with the concept of self-forgiveness, seek out friends, mentors or counselors, a psychiatrist, or the self-help section of your local library. Forgiveness of oneself is a big undertaking, but a vital one to complete before you can move forward.

16. Recognize patterns.

Are your challenges usually financial in nature? Health-based? Related to a particular emotion that crops up again and again? Spend some time in the self-help section of the library, with a journal, talking to a mentor, or whatever it takes to get some honest self-reflection accomplished. What part of your challenges can you control and head off before they grow? If you’re always late, for instance, and this is hurting you professionally, what processes can you put in place in your home to help you get out the door? Do you need to lay out your clothes ahead of time, or do you need to move so your commute is shorter and more predictable? There is an emotional component to the way we behave, the way we live, and the standards we uphold (or don’t). Are you dissatisfied at work and dread going to the office each day, subconsciously sabotaging yourself? Be honest during this process, and take as much time as you need to reach clear answers.

17. Ask for, and accept, help.

Everyone has had tough days, weeks, months, even years, and chances are there are people in your life who can identify to at least some degree with what you are facing now. Ask for help when you need it. Accept help when it is offered. You can and will pull through, but the bigger the challenge, the easier it is with a village.

18. Hang in there.

Healing, change, and recovery can take time. Stay at the path, and keep moving forward. While some days will still feel tough, you are moving forward. You are making progress. Eventually, that hurdle that seemed so huge will be in your rear view mirror.

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19. Keep looking forward.

Do you ever want to face this challenge, or set of challenges, again? No? Then cut it out! Kick the habits, lose the people, ditch the things that got you here. Rebuild a healthy life that works for you. Take what you’ve learned, and move on and upward.  Don’t look back.

20. Help others.

The “pay it forward” initiative is an increasingly popular one these days, and for good reason – it feels good to help others. Pay your wisdom, experience, and strength forward by helping others confronting similar challenges to those you have now overcome. Whether through a formal program or simply by encouraging the next person you meet who seems a bit sad, you will make a difference. Sometimes, that makes all of those challenges worth it.

Need more advice? Check out these thoughts on How to Endure and Overcome the Worst of Life’s Hardships.

Featured photo credit: so lovely may 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)

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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