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22 Things Everyone Always Forget to Be Thankful For

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22 Things Everyone Always Forget to Be Thankful For

Today is not Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, it’s not even close. However, taking daily doses of gratitude helps fight the disease of taking all of life’s important things for granted. We can all find things on this list for which we are thankful. If there are people on this list who make you thankful, make it a habit to let them know!

You woke up this morning

The MOST important thing to be thankful for on this list. Whether you woke up at 5:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. (which isn’t technically morning), waking up gives you the opportunity to face the day and anything that comes with it.

You can laugh

Laughter relieves stress, boosts the immune system, decreases pain, and shifts your perspective. It truly is the best medicine and something to be thankful for! In the words of Charles Dickens,

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

You have the ability to read

The ability to read is a gift often taken for granted but used everyday. The world literacy rate is at about 84% (people age 15 and over). So if you find yourself in that number (and I assume you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be here!), be thankful!

Your teachers

If you love (or know how) to read, #ThankATeacher! We have all had teachers, whether they be parents or employed by a school. Teachers pour massive amounts of time, energy, and effort into their students and that is definitely something to be appreciated.

National Teacher Appreciation Day is May 7, but take time to appreciate a teacher today!

You have common sense

Someone once told me, “Common sense and the ability to reason are things I am thankful for every single time I come across someone who does not posses them.” I couldn’t put it any better.

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Your job

Although you may not be particularly pleased with your hours, your pay, or your boss at the job or jobs you currently have, being employed is definitely something to be thankful for. Having a method of providing for yourself and/or your family is an essential key to life.

Your talents and skills

I am grateful and thankful every time someone shares or appreciates something I write. I am thankful, not because it means I am great, but because it means that my skill of writing has communicated a message that has connected with someone else. And everyone reading this has skills and talents of their own, not to be compared with anyone else’s, but to be honed and used to the best of their ability.

Your public servants

Imagine a world without the post service, police officers, medics, your representatives and congressmen, and the people who work to clear those long lines at the DMV. Not a fun place to live without these services. You can be thankful for the contribution each and every public servant makes to maintain your way of life.

Your emotions

What would life be without emotions? Would being happy or glad be so rewarding if there was no emotion of sadness? Emotions, whether they be good or bad, add flavor and variety to life. Take time to appreciate each emotion for what it is telling you. And share in the emotions of others! Shared sadness makes it bearable, and shared happiness is that much sweeter.

You can see

The human eye can see approximately 10 million colors. TEN MILLION! The palette of colors, shapes, and sizes, much like the variety of emotions, makes each moment in life different if only we would pay attention. And not only sight, but the rest of the senses as well! Take the time to be thankful for the feel of plush carpet between your toes, the sound of your kids’ laughter, and the smell of freshly baked banana bread!

You have food

Speaking of banana bread….

Be thankful that you have food to eat, food in your refrigerator, pantry, cupboard, or even a taco truck across the street.

At least 50 million Americans were unable to afford food at some point last year. and 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. These striking numbers should incite not only a spirit of gratitude, but encourage you to help those 842 million in any way you can.

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You are healthy

Be thankful that the doctor can’t remember your name! Being in good health is something that is assumed, taken for granted until it is no longer there. Being grateful for good health doesn’t just mean celebrating no trips to the doctor either. One of the best ways to be thankful for good health is to maintain it. Get the right amount of sleep, drink water, exercise, and keep up a proper diet to ensure that this stays on the list of things you are thankful for.

Your true friends

Your Facebook friends may reach high into the thousands.

You may have 800 followers on Twitter.

British anthropologist Robin Dunbar proposed that a person can only maintain stable social relationships with about 150 people.

These are all very nice, but it is your true friends, the number you may be able to count on one hand or finger, who you should be the most thankful for. The friends who you can call at 2:30 a.m., the loyal, non-judgmental, brutally honest true friends. Be thankful for them and do all you can to maintain those relationships!

Your family

Family is family. While friends have been called the ‘family’ you choose, nothing can replace your family. Your brothers and sisters, your parents and grandparents have all played an intricate part in helping you get to where you are now. Take the time to keep in touch and let them know how much you appreciate them!

You are loved

No matter the situation with your friends, or with your family, know that you are loved. Just knowing that someone out there cares for you makes getting through a tough day or situation a little bit easier.

You have clean water

Water is life. But 783 million people do not have access to clean water, and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. Approximately 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases. Be thankful.

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You have a place to live

Be thankful for your home, whether you have four garages or four simple rooms that you share with your four simple roommates (trust me, I’ve been there). Having four walls and a ceiling above you is not to be taken for granted, especially in these winter months, when depending on where you are, temperatures can dip below zero.

Also, take the opportunity to help the homeless in your neighborhood! What better way to show that you are grateful for what you have?

You can be thankful for some of the negative situations in your life as well!

Your exes

They were here, and for whatever reason, they’re gone. But what they left behind, besides their bad taste in CDs and old t-shirts, are lessons that you can take and apply to the next relationship you enter into to make it better than any that came before. Your future thanks your exes.

Your struggles

“It shouldn’t be easy to be amazing.  Then everything would be.  It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth.  When something’s difficult to come by, you’ll do that much more to make sure it’s even harder – or impossible – to lose.”  ―Sarah Dessen

And if you have read through this list and don’t connect with too many things listed here, whether it is because they don’t exist for you or have not been present in your life, these last few are especially for you:

You have the ability to change your situation

Be thankful that you have the opportunity to make positive changes in your life.

Do you have an estranged relationship with your family? Think about any small steps you can take to fix it.

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Not currently working? Make unemployment your job. Search, apply, and interview until something changes.

Don’t think you have true friends? Be a true friend to someone else.

You are a survivor

You may not have a home, you may not have had a good family, and you may not have had good teachers.

You might be in a period of prolonged unemployment, and you may have recurring health issues.

But you have survived it all to make it this far, and each breath is a reminder of the fact that….

You are alive.

Which means everything else in this list is still a possibility.

What else are you thankful for? WHO are you thankful for? Share below in the comments.

More by this author

CJ Goulding

CJ Goulding is the Lead Organizer at Natural Leaders Network, building leaders and connections in and between humans.

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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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