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30 Reasons Why You’re Still Unhappy With Your Brilliant Life

30 Reasons Why You’re Still Unhappy With Your Brilliant Life
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Have you every wondered why some people seem to exude happiness, while you’re still stuck feeling like a less-than-happy camper?

What is it that you’re missing? You have a right to be happy with your life. You have a right to live a brilliant life. Here are 30 reasons you may be unhappy with life, in various areas of it. See which ones apply to you, and then get to work on correcting them.

Self

1. You Accept Mediocrity

You have full control over what you allow into your life. You get to decide whether you demand success or settle for mediocrity.

Here’s one piece of advice: no one should ever expect more from you than you expect of yourself.

2. You’re Afraid to Fail

This is a huge, although often overlooked, reason why so many people are unhappy. Maybe you have a goal in mind that you want to achieve, some positive step you want to take in your life. You know you want it, and you know how to make it happen, but your fear of failing is stronger than your desire to achieve.

That’s a tough pill to swallow, and one that’s almost guaranteed to make your brilliant life a little dull. You have to realize that failure is necessary step to success. It’s not a fatal event that you’ll never recover from. In fact, you may be more afraid of what people think about your failure, than the failure itself.

3. You Don’t Practice Gratitude

There are plenty of studies showing the effect gratitude has on happiness. It’s been proven time and time again that when you can take the time to get clear on what it is you’re thankful for, your happiness goes up. So break out the pen and pad and starting writing out what you’re grateful for.

When you can shift your focus from what’s going wrong in your life to what’s going right, it’s bound to make you feel better.

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4. You Don’t Live in the Present 

If you’re anything like me, you have a future-oriented mindset. You’re always thinking about the future or working on something that creates a better future. But the problem with this is we often miss what’s going on right now. We miss the life that’s happening right in front of our eyes.

Take the time to slow down and just enjoy the moment. Whether that means going for a walk or just enjoying a conversation with a good friend, take the time to be present.

5. You Won’t Take Ownership

Being a victim doesn’t usually lead to happiness. So if you’re shying away from taking control of your own life, you’re setting yourself up for a life filled with unhappiness.

6. You Can’t Let Go

We all have vices in life. We all have thoughts, perspectives, habits, and relationships that are difficult to let go of. But sometimes you have to separate your emotions from your choices and realize that somethings are better left in the past.

Whether it’s the girlfriend you can’t stop arguing with, or the bad habit of procrastination that’s continually stressing you out, you have to take stock of what’s going on in your life and determine what things you need to separate yourself from.

7. You’re Ignoring Your Heart

Everyone had dreams at one point in life. There was a time when you had a burning desire in your heart to achieve something special. But as you get older, life conditions you into thinking that “following your heart” is an activity created only for kids. But take the time to listen to your heart again and relive the feeling of being exhilarated and excited.

8. You Never Praise Yourself 

You deserve a pat on the back. Often in life we get so caught up in moving from one project to the next that we never take the time to see how far we’ve come. Take a moment and realize how much work you’ve put in, and how much you’ve accomplished. You deserve it.

9. You Live With Too Many Self-Imposed Rules 

Some rules are superficial: “I don’t eat breakfast after 10 a.m. I don’t wake up any later than 5 a.m. I don’t do anything that isn’t on my calendar.”

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Other rules are deep, personal, and extremely limiting: “I’m not made for college because I’m not smart enough. I can’t have a career I’d actually enjoy, I’m not skilled enough. I can’t be in a happy relationship, I don’t deserve it.”

You made these rules. So you can break these rules.

10. You’re Afraid to Stand Out 

Living a happy life will sometimes send you down the road less travelled. You have to get comfortable with being the odd one out. You can’t always follow the crowd, because chances are most people in the crowd are unhappy.

11. You Haven’t Consciously Decided to Be Happy

Now there are lot of things affecting your happiness, but at some point you have to consciously make the decision to be happy, in spite of the whirlwind of negativity that the world is throwing at you. Once your mindset is in the right place, taking action to become happy becomes easier.

Career

12. You’re Unclear in Your Career Path

You’re putting everything you’ve got into your career, but you’re not sure where you’re headed. You don’t see any opportunities for growth and this is bound to make you feel unhappy. Get clear about where you want to head in your career.

13. No Work-Life Balance 

If your work is dominating your life, leaving little time for anything else, it’s hard to stay happy. Dealing with a constant barrage of emails, texts, presentations, and reports is exhausting. Set clear boundaries for your work so that you can still enjoy your life.

14. You Won’t Quit That Job You Hate 

You’ve already identified that you hate your job, for whatever reason. But that was 18 months ago and you’re still there with no plans to leave. I’m not suggesting you walk away from your responsibilities, but I am saying you need a plan that moves you from your current job to one you can get excited about.

15. Your Values Don’t Match Your Company

You’re a vegan personal trainer working at a meat packing company? If you’re spending 40 hours a week at a place that doesn’t value the same thing as you, not only will be unhappy, you’ll be miserable in your work.

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Social

16. You Spend Too Much Time Alone 

Your happiness is directly tied to your relationships, and not having many quality relationships can cause happiness to decline. Get out there and be social. Create meaningful relationships with people.

17. You Don’t Spend Enough Time Alone 

On the flip side, if you never spend time alone, you could be affecting your happiness as well. We all need that time to reflect and recharge. Don’t be afraid to say no to a drink after work every once in a while.

18. You Keep Comparing Yourself 

Your happiness is linked to your self-esteem. When your self-esteem is high, it’s easier to be happy. When self-esteem is low, it’s easier to be unhappy. Your self-esteem depends heavily on the relationships you have with other people, and how you view yourself in comparison to those people. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to other people, and feel that you’re lower on the proverbial totem pole than the other person, you’re self-esteem is going to nosedive.

So stop comparing yourself to other people, and instead focus on improving yourself. Compare where you are today to where you were yesterday.

19. You’re Friends Are Holding You Back

You are who you hang out with. And if the company you keep is moving in a direction that doesn’t coincide with the life you’re trying to create, unhappiness is sure to follow. Focus on finding friends who are moving in the same direction that you are.

20. You Let Others Make Important Decisions for You

You can’t make everyone happy, and the only person who ends up losing when you try do that is you. You lose.

No one knows your situation as well as you do. So do you really want the direction of your life to be determined by an outsider who doesn’t understand the intricate details of your life?

Intellectual

21. You Stopped Developing New Skills

There’s an immense amount of joy in learning a new skill, whether it’s something hands-on like sewing or woodwork, or something less tangible like public speaking. When you can develop a certain skill, you feel good about yourself.

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22. You Haven’t Read Any Good Books

A good book can bring happiness in many different ways. There’s the inherent happiness of reading a good story, and then there are books that help you develop personally. If you’re not reading, you’re missing out on both of those opportunities for happiness.

Physical

23. You Always Point Out What You Don’t Like about Your Body 

If you stand in the mirror every day and point out every single thing you don’t like about your body, of course you’re going to be unhappy. Change what you can through exercise and healthy eating, and accept what you can’t change. Focus on what you do like instead.

24. You Fill Your Body Up with Junk 

The two boxes of Krispy Kreme seemed like a good idea until you stepped on the scale. Don’t let your taste buds run your life.

25. You Haven’t Broken a Sweat in a While

You’re not trying to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, but regular exercise does wonders for your happiness. It doesn’t even have to be in a gym, just get out and get your heart pumping. It’ll definitely give your happiness a boost.

Financial

26. You Don’t Have a Plan for Your Money

A budget is sometimes defined as “telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” It’s stressful to live life without a plan for your money, and that stress is eating away at your happiness.

27. You Don’t Spend According to Your Plan

If you’ve got a plan in place, but you’re not using it, you’re going to end up regretting it.

28. You Don’t Save for the Future

Those $5 coffees from Starbucks are costing you your retirement. You don’t have to cut out all of your discretionary spending, but make sure that you’re setting a little aside for a rainy day. The peace of mind that comes with it will definitely make you happier.

29. You Make Impulse Purchases 

I’m not talking about a stick of gum. I mean that 70 inch 3D smart TV, or the $200 heels that pushed your checking account into the negative. Splurging might make you happy in the moment, but when your bills come due, I bet you won’t be as happy.

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30. You Forget That Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Money by itself isn’t enough to keep you happy. So although mismanagement of money can lead to unhappiness, you can’t solely focus your life on making money. You have to develop every area of your life.

Featured photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via flickr.com

More by this author

Tony Robinson

Tony writes about mental strength, happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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