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8 Things You Might Be Doing If You’re Feeling Unhappy

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8 Things You Might Be Doing If You’re Feeling Unhappy

It’s completely normal to feel unhappy from time to time. It happens to everyone. However, it is possible that you are doing some things that are contributing to your feelings of unhappiness. You might not even know you are doing them. Consider the list below, and then ask yourself from time to time, “Am I doing this?”

1. Assuming The Worst

If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking negatively about a situation or a person before knowing the reality, chances are you are assuming the worst. Here’s an example:

Your husband hasn’t called at the time he said he would.

Assuming the worst: He got into car crash. He’s with another woman. He’s left me.

Happy people assume the best in any given situation. They don’t jump to negative conclusions or assume something terrible has happened. This causes premature, unnecessary sadness, anger, and frustration. Always give the benefit of the doubt. If it turns out reality is pretty bad, then go into problem-solving mode. You’ll be far more clearheaded and prepared to handle a problematic situation at that point anyway. Here’s the same example but with a different perspective.

Assuming the best: He is surprising me with something special. He stopped at the store to pick up groceries for the family. A meeting with his boss ran late. He landed a promotion.

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2. Living In The Past

Do you ever replay the same worries over and over again in your head? Are the words of your boss, friend, or co-worker playing on repeat in your mind? Are you holding a grudge against someone you had a fight with? If so, you are probably living in the past.

Happy people live in the present moment. This doesn’t mean they don’t think about the past and it doesn’t always mean they don’t consider their futures. But they know there has to be a balance. Sometimes you just have to let go in order to move on. It’s not always easy, but it is the healthiest option and will make your present moment and your future moments the happiest.

Live in the here and now. Forget regret. Forget the past. Learn to truly be present.

3. Comparing Yourself To Others

When looking at pictures of friends’ weddings and babies, do you wonder why you are still unmarried with no children yet? Do you look at someone else’s job and question your own accomplishments and successes? It’s probably because you are comparing yourself to other people.

Everyone is different, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. External motivation, i.e. some friendly competition, is fine, but comparing yourself to others is dangerous. There will always be someone who is funnier, more successful, has bluer eyes, a better job, and makes more money than you. But on the other hand, there will always be someone who makes less money than you, is less funny, and has fewer successes.

Happy people don’t compare themselves to any of these people. They know who they are, they are content with where they are, and compete only with themselves.

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4. Trying To “Fix” Your Feelings

How often is it the case that when something is wrong you start to question your feelings? How many times have you thought to yourself, Is there something wrong with me? Is it okay to feel what I feel? Why am I sad? Why aren’t I happier? Why am I angry today?” The truth is that life is series of ebbs and flows and it’s normal to have ups and downs. Negative emotions are perfectly normal to have. This means that when you feel sadness, you don’t need to immediately question it. It also means you don’t have to go into panic mode and attempt to fix it.

Allowing yourself to feel your feelings does a lot of things for you.

1.    It allows you to just be you.

2.    It allows you to process your thoughts.

3.    It lets your mind know that it’s okay to go through what you are going through.

4.    It reminds you to reevaluate your life’s decisions and make sure you are still on the path you want to be on.

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If you are feeling upset, allow yourself to feel upset. But—and here’s the most important part—you must also let yourself move on. If a feeling is starting to last too long, you might want to ask yourself, “What next?” and try to keep the emotion in perspective. Emotions and feelings do not define you. So, don’t worry about the negative ones too much. Be strong, get through them, and you will prove to yourself just how resilient you really are. The best part is that the next time you have the same negative feeling, you will be more prepared for it. Instead of wondering if something is wrong with you, you might say to yourself, “Oh, I recognize this feeling. It passed the last time it came. And it’ll pass this time, too.”

5. Believing All Of Your Thoughts

This one might sound a little confusing. A common mistake people often make is believing every thought that goes through their heads. This is not safe. Sometimes our brains play tricks on us and we may think things we do not truly believe. It could be in the form of putting yourself down. It could be questioning the honesty and trust of a friend or loved one. Sometimes emotions, worry, and fear cause us to think unnecessarily negative things.

Happy people don’t believe everything single thought that goes through their minds. Often it’s the case that as you calm down and feel better, or even just allow time to pass, you will not think as negatively as you did earlier.

6. Focusing On What You Don’t Have

Have you ever been hard on yourself for not achieving enough? Have you ever tried to convince yourself you need more? This is probably causing you pain and unhappiness.

Happy people are grateful for everything they have and for everything they have accomplished. They do not focus on all of the things they don’t have. Try thanking yourself for everything you achieved in your life. Thank your parents, your siblings, your partners, your friends, and your co-workers. Thank your bed for providing a place to sleep. Thank your jacket for being warm. Thank your coffee for tasting so delicious in the morning. Thank your job for being a source of income. Thank the store for having the items you can buy.

You may not have everything you want, but it’s likely true that you have a lot. Be grateful because gratitude is a direct contributor to happiness.

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7. Getting Upset With Things That Are Out Of Your Control

Some things you just can’t control. Traffic, prices, people: these are just a few examples. People have enough to worry about. There is no sense in worrying about these things. There is even less sense in trying to control them or getting upset about them.

Happy people realize what things are out of their control. It is not always easy, but we have to accept that we can only control our own actions. Let go of the need to control everything and don’t let the things you can’t control bother you. Soon you’ll notice how much better you’ll feel.

8. Not Being Yourself

One of the most important things in life is loving yourself. Love yourself for who you are. This does not mean that you cannot strive to be a better person by performing random acts of kindness, learning a new skill, or practicing gratitude. But it does mean that you should stop trying to be someone different. Just be yourself, and include all the complicated imperfections that make you you.

If you are tall, don’t wish you were shorter.

If you are quiet, don’t wish you were louder.

If you have brown hair, don’t wish you were blonde.

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Know your value and love yourself.

If you’re feeling unhappy, ask yourself if you are doing any of these eight things. Then stop them right away. You’ll be on your way to feeling better in no time.

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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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