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7 Little Words That Have Incredible Meaning

7 Little Words That Have Incredible Meaning
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Words, words, words: we speak them everyday. At times we just blurt them out, and other times we carefully craft our words together. How many times do we stop to think about how powerful or meaningful our words are? Here are 7 small, little — even tiny — words that have incredible meaning.

1. Joy

Joy is defined as keen pleasure or a state of happiness. This sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? I mean, everyone should have joy in their life, shouldn’t they? Yet it seems as though many people are trudging through life robotically, without pleasure, and are constantly seeking some form of happiness. Their search may take them to new places, jobs, or even relationships, and yet it is all futile. Joy springs from the inside of a person. External objects, whether they be things or people, do not bring joy. In order to experience this small word “joy”, you need to be present in the moment! When we live in the past or fret over the future, we rob ourselves of the essence of joy! When we tap into our inner joy, we are able to face each moment of our day with a changed perspective. Having joy does not mean the absence of hardship; it means being able to face obstacles with an underlying strength of inner peace and confidence. Fill your life with joy and see what a difference it makes!

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    2. Sing

    To sing is to produce melodious sounds. Music is a powerful tool. Think of how movie producers utilize music and you can understand how music stimulates all kinds of emotions within us. We all have experienced sitting on the edge of our seats because from the sound of the music we just know something big is about to happen in the movie. Although we use music predominantly as a means of entertainment, it can be so much more. Singing has been proven to lower blood pressure, stress and even to produce pain blockers in our bodies. The best part is you don’t have to be a star to sing. Just sing it out! Sing like no one is listening.

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      3. Hug

      Hug is such a small word, yet when practiced has incredible meaning! Did you know that a simple hug has the power to reduce heart rates and lower blood pressure? It has been proven through studies that hugs — not sexual relations — do more to keep marriages together. Touch is a very important, but often overlooked, part of the human makeup. You might remember the “Free Hugs” campaign that started with one person trying to practice random acts of kindness by giving hugs. This went viral on YouTube. A hug given early in the morning can change you for the whole day. Besides, a hug is the only gift you can give away and yet receive at the same time!  Pretty cool, I say! 

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        4. Free

        Free means not enslaved, or personal liberty. Such a beautiful concept! Are you free? Or are you living as though you are in slavery to something or someone? Such happiness comes when one is truly living in freedom. To be able to express your authentic self is a gift. Take this gift and live your life free. After all, it doesn’t cost you — it’s free!                                                       

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          5. Home

          Home should signify the place that you live in and are most at ease. Your home should be a haven from everyday life. There are many stresses from work and others in our lives. It is vital to have your own space filled with peace and harmony. Reflect on what your home means to you. Is this the place you go to take refuge from the world? Do you have places of beauty in your home to comfort your spirit? If not, then you need to re-examine your space. Get rid of clutter and add some warmth. Decorating your space with objects that bring you happiness will add a sense of quality to your home. As you look around your home how do you feel? Is there a sense of contentment, or do you feel ill-at-ease? Every few seasons you need to re-evaluate what possessions you have. Have you gathered so many things that they crowd out your home? Do you need to let go of objects that no longer serve you? It is true that an organized space with less clutter reduces stress. Take the time to de-clutter your home. Make it a sanctuary that is full of love and peace.

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          Anyone can build a house, but it takes relationships to build a home. How are your family dynamics? Is there respect for one another in your family? Do you take the time to nurture your family relationships? It is crucial that you spend time cultivating genuine love with the members of your family. There are many other sources that influence today’s family. A healthy relationship between members of the same family requires time spent together. Spend quality time in your homes. Create traditions that you carry out each year. Have special date nights designed for the family. Let your home be the place that laughter and joy echo through the walls.

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            6. Play

            In our task-orientated society many people have forgotten the importance of play. While it is important to work hard and complete what is necessary, it is equally important to spend time playing. What are the things you enjoy to do for recreation? Schedule routine times of just playing. You can be involved in sports or simply playing board games with your family or friends. The body and mind need times that they can relax and not focus on work or issues that are preoccupying you. Relax, let go, and learn the art of playfulness. You will be glad you did!

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              7. Love

              Love — what a word! I love your hair…I love my car…I love my life…I love this pasta dish…I LOVE YOU! As you see, the word love can be used on so many levels. The word love was originally used over 5,000 years ago to describe a deep affection for something. Although today the word may be overused in a more general way, it still holds a connection to the deepest emotion that a human can experience. Don’t hold back, tell the ones close to you that you love them! Life is way too short not to spread the love.

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                Charlene Tops

                Charlene is a certified life coach who is passionate about writing, speaking and teaching.

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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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