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7 Ways To Stay Balanced And Happy Even When You’re Extremely Busy

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7 Ways To Stay Balanced And Happy Even When You’re Extremely Busy

People are living busier and busier lives these days, taking on more and more with every passing month‒more work commitments, relationship commitments, family commitments, social commitments, the list goes on… therefore staying happy and relatively balanced seems a task of Sisyphus (the man in mythology who rolled a boulder up a mountain every day only for it to roll back down to the bottom at the end of the day), i.e. impossible.

Is it impossible to be balanced and happy when you’ve got a hell of a workload? No. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tricky tightrope act to master, but don’t worry‒plenty of people have their own ways for achieving everything they need to do and still have time for everything they want to do in life. This is the art of life-balance. Here are just seven of the best tips that I heartily recommend if you’re stuck looking for how to keep your balance and be happy at the same time..

1. Check your necessary needs.

Let’s get down to basics–if you want to stay balanced and happy, you need to make sure all of your basic needs are being met. Anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter finishing up work or a project can tell you that while the sense of accomplishment remains, you physically feel a wreck and you can barely keep your eyes open unless you have an intravenous drip of coffee somewhere about your position.

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You should make sure you get enough sleep every night, that your diet has plenty of healthy, balanced food, and that your work is not completely taking over your life to the point of exhaustion, both physically and mentally, and you should make sure that even when you’re busy, you stay balanced by making sure your basic human needs are being met.

2. Plan ahead as much as you can.

One way to ensure that you have everything under control, minimizing the chances for missing something and throwing your busy day off course, is to plan everything you possibly can. People can plan things however they want–there are plenty of to-do list and organization apps on every kind of smartphone platform possible, or a good old pen and paper works well too (I use both).

I mean, it’s impossible to control everything, but in the end, making sure you have a list of everything you need to do, obtain, and achieve by the end of the day will make sure that going about your day, no matter how busy, will give you a reminder of everything that not only you need to complete, but what you have already successful achieved.

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3. Stay fed and stay hydrated.

This all seems like such basic stuff, but one way to make sure you stay happy and balanced throughout every instance of being busy is to keep up a solid eating and drinking routine. That’s not to say you should only stick to the same thing day in, day out, or even that you shouldn’t indulge on a daily basis (in fact: go for it, but in moderation); rather, I am simply proposing making sure you have three decent meals a day.

This is for the generation of people–myself included–who see something hot from Starbucks as a nutritious breakfast; coffee may motivate you for a little while, but then you’ll crash pretty damn hard. Make sure you drink plenty of water too; dehydration is the last thing you need on a busy day, and water also has the benefits of flushing out the kidneys and making the skin better, so that if an important meeting with a client is on your agenda, then looking your tip-top best is something we cannot help but advocate.

4. Keep an eye on your emotions.

There are some times when we’re running late or just generally having a bad day, when our emotions begin to spiral out of control. Anger escalates, stress skyrockets, anxiety soars. Our handle on our emotional experiences can drop and make us act extremely out of character, often to the detriment of our loved ones. We snap, we yell, and we lose our true selves when we’re under huge amounts of pressure.

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So what can be done to change this? After all, it doesn’t do to be snapping at friends and family. So how about keeping an eye on your emotions throughout the day, say every half an hour. Stop, see how you’re feeling, and then see if something needs to be done. Maybe make a mental visual picture of traffic lights; if things are all okay, see green lights; if they’re not, then use amber or red, so that you can realize what’s happening and then regulate those emotions. Take deep breaths, centre yourself, and then move on with your day.

5. Make time for yourself.

No matter what you go through in your day-to-day life, one of the best ways to stay balanced and maintain a feeling of happiness is to schedule in plenty of pockets of ‘me time’. Rather than rushing around and then trying to gain some kind of peace and serenity at the end of the day, it is better to carve out segments of time throughout your working day.

Ensure that you actually take time with lunch and it’s not on the move or at your desk. Spend five minutes at the beginning of your day with some breathing exercises. Make sure your shower or bath at the end of the day is spent without mobile phones, email, or anything more taxing than some relaxing music or a good book. Make sure that treating yourself and ensuring some relaxation time are spread throughout the day at scheduled intervals–they’ll allow you some breathing room, a chance to clear your head and reassess the situations you’ve been in at work, and allow your mind to be at its best.

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6. Don’t take on more than you can handle.

In this modern age, we’re expected more and more to take on more and more–it doesn’t matter that we’re already juggling impossible expectations, work, dealing with pressures of family, friends and social media; we always seem to find more and more stuff piled on our proverbial plate. My advice, in order to keep your sanity, is to therefore keep your load to a minimum amount.

There are, obviously, going to be commitments that you will not be able to shed–work, family, friends–but don’t go signing yourself up for extra projects and events that will take up more time than you’re secretly okay with sacrificing. Saying no doesn’t mean that you’re giving up, it means you’re selecting and dividing up boundaries, which is not a bad thing and will prove conducive to keeping your balance in check.

7. Learn your human limitations.

This final tip works particularly well in the wake of the New Year where everyone is making big resolutions that usually fall flat by the end of the first month–but let’s be realistic, all of us. When you’ve got a big day ahead, one teeming with errands and possibilities and commitments, it will make you much happier and more balanced.

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You’re not a superhuman. You cannot fit more hours into the day, and if you’re following all the tips I’m offering, you’ll be getting plenty of sleep and personal time anyway. You’re a flawed, fantastic human being, so going around like a thing possessed trying to get everything done in the span of a few hours is not only unrealistic, it also suggests that you need to sit down and reconsider what’s important in your life. Staying balanced and staying happy are not impossible when you happen to be living a busy life. Sure, they require a bit of planning and contemplating about your life and what’s important, but implementing these tips might be able to help add some center to your life.

Good luck.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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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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