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Last Updated on February 9, 2021

31 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind Immediately

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31 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind Immediately

At times, you might have thoughts that you would rather not have, such as persistent worries, little niggles, or recurring concerns that don’t go away. Often, the more you try to free your mind from these thoughts, the more persistent they become. For example: try not to think about a big pink elephant. Chances are the more you concentrate on not thinking about the elephant, the more your mind will actually focus on that image. This is because the mind is not good with focusing on “not doing” something.

The best way to free your mind from unwelcome or unwanted thoughts is to engage it with other thoughts or to remove or resolve the cause of the thoughts you are having. Here are 31 ways that you can free your mind immediately:

1. Forgive

Forgiving another person (or yourself) can help you to move on from the past and release yourself from negative emotions and thoughts.

Here’re some tips to help you:

2. Meditate

Meditation has been used for thousands of years to clear and free the mind. Doing so doesn’t have to involve burning candles and sitting in the lotus position; it can simply be sitting comfortably, allowing thoughts to enter your mind and pass through without engaging in them. Doing this for as little as ten minutes can be enough to free your mind from persistent or annoying thoughts.

You can also check out this beginner’s guide: How Do You Meditate? 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

3. Exercise

Exercising focuses the body on its physical requirements and takes your attention off your mind. Exercise also releases endorphins and lowers cortisol, often bringing about a more positive and happier mood.

4. Let Go of the Past

Letting go of the past allows you to focus on the here and now, and also helps you choose more empowering thoughts.

Learn how to let go of what you can’t change: How to Learn to Let Go of What You Can’t Control

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5. Be Mindful

Being mindful is the practice of focusing the mind on everyday actions that you might normally do on autopilot. By practicing mindfulness, the mind concentrates on the task at hand rather than thoughts and feelings you might prefer not to have.

6. Practice EFT

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is something that can be learnt quickly (in a matter of minutes) and can help you to feel better immediately. EFT is often also called “tapping”. EFT involves verbalising the problem or issue in hand whilst using an affirmation phrase and tapping energy points on the body.

7. Stop Feeling Guilty

Guilt is an emotion that, when left unchecked, can escalate and leave you feeling trapped and powerless. Practice noticing when you feel guilty and find ways to let go of guilty feelings: How to Stop Feeling Guilty and Free Your Mind

8. Smile and Laugh

Research shows that you will feel better for smiling and laughing, even when you don’t feel like it! Your brain registers the movements of the muscles in your face when you smile and then releases hormones and chemicals that make you feel good. Your improved emotions will make it easier to change how you are thinking.

9. Watch a Funny Film

Watching a funny film is a great way to escape reality! Just taking time out to immerse yourself in another world via a film is often enough to break the cycle of over-thinking.

10. Stop People-Pleasing and Approval-Seeking Behaviors

Many people are people-pleasers or approval junkies, but engaging in these behaviours ultimately leaves you feeling trapped, as though you are living your life for others.

Notice when you are engaging in these behaviors and start practicing living life for you: How to Stop Caring What People Think and Focus on Your Needs

11. Just Do It!

Do one thing today that scares you or that you’ve been putting off. Your mind will be brought into sharp focus by the adrenaline your body produces.

12. Declutter Your Physical Possessions

A calming environment free from clutter can help you get into a more relaxed state of mind. Without the distraction of clutter around, you are freer to let your mind focus on more positive thoughts.

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Check out this guide on how to declutter: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

13. Visualize Yourself as the Person You Want to Be

Think of someone you admire and imagine how they would handle the thoughts you are having. Then visualize yourself acting in the same way.

14. Make the Decision to Let Go of Toxic Relationships and Nourish Positive Connections

Unhealthy relationships can lead to negative thoughts and stressful states. Nourishing positive relationships will enrich your life, filling your mind with more positive thoughts and memories.

15. Do One Thing Every Day to Work Towards a Dream

Everything starts with the first step. Identify your goal and the changes needed and take the decision to take that first leap: you’ll soon be on your way to achieving your dreams rather than just thinking about them.

16. Try Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a proven therapy that enables your subconscious thoughts to influence your unconscious and conscious thoughts and feelings. Hypnotherapy can improve and resolve issues in your life and free your mind of worries and concerns.

17. Notice the Hobbies or Activities You Enjoy so Much That You Lose a Sense of Time

Do these more often! Engaging in a pastime you enjoy helps to promote a more mindful and meditative state of mind. This state allows the mind to relax and mindfully focus on the pursuit being undertaken, replacing other thoughts that may be  occupying your mind.

18. Let Go of Regrets

To let go of regrets, you could write a letter to yourself or make a list and then burn or throw it into a stream as a ritual of letting the regrets go.

19. Practice Self-Love

Honor yourself and your choices and let go of self criticism and judgement: 30 Ways To Practice Self-Love And Be Good To Yourself

20. Dance!

Move your body and let go of what you think you look like! This is guaranteed to alter your mood and free your mind.

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21. Spend Time Alone

Get used to your own company and enjoy just “being” without the need for constant company, entertainment, or being busy for its own sake.

22. Try something new

Try something new; maybe a new hobby or even a new meal choice. Mix things up and get out of your usual way of doing things.

22. Daydream

Allow yourself time to daydream regularly. This is so good for the soul!

23. Let go of Labels

Notice when you are defining yourself by external labels and let them go.

24. Become Less Attached

What are you attached to? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying things in life, but when you become attached, you rely on something external to make you happy, which traps the mind.

25. Let Go of Guilt

Guilt is a strong emotion that can become overwhelming and all-consuming. Look at addressing what you feel guilty about, and see how you can either resolve the issues you feel guilty about, or how you can be more compassionate towards yourself.

26. Practice Gratitude

Being grateful allows you to live in the present and see the blessings in front of you right now. Here’re 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For.

27. Read Inspirational Stories

Reading about people and events that inspire you can help put your thoughts into a different context.

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28. Find Like-Minded and Positive People

When you spend time with positive and like-minded people, you spend more of your time in the moment instead of over-thinking or analyzing yourself.

Learn more about this here: The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

29. Make a Commitment to Keep Learning

Learning helps you to expand your mind, which can help you achieve a more enlightened and informed point of view.

Here’s How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

30. Use Positive Affirmations

You are affirming all the time by the way you think and talk. “Things never go my way” is a negative affirmation, for example. You could replace such a thought with a positive affirmation such as “things are working out perfectly”.

Using positive affirmations helps you to make better choices and see things from a different and more positive perspective.

Try these 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

31. Practice Putting Yourself in Other People’s Shoes

Reading, listening, and discussing opinions different from your own can open your mind and help you to see life from different perspectives. This can be particularly freeing if you are stuck in thinking about certain things in a particular way.

Featured photo credit: Sage Friedman via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Jennifer Smith

Life Coach & Personal Growth Blogger

31 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind Immediately How to Wake up Immediately in the Morning How to Forget Someone You Really Hate 7 Benefits of Smiling and Laughing that You Didn’t Know about 30 Best Workout Songs to Keep You Pumped

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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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