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9 Things You Can Do To Free Yourself From Negative Emotions

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9 Things You Can Do To Free Yourself From Negative Emotions

It may be hard to believe, but emotions can become habits that have been formed through repetition. As such, negative emotions can become something that infiltrates your everyday life. Do you find that you’re constantly down on the world and yourself? Do you get annoyed easily and become bitter with people? Is anger your natural response to something? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be a slave to negative emotions. You need to learn to stop before you actually transform into Walter Matthau.

1. Stop Justifying

    First and foremostly, you need to stop justifying getting angry and upset over everything. Stop thinking that you’re entitled to be so negative, because you’re not. The only person responsible for this is you. Do you really want to become that cranky old man or woman that tells everyone they ever meet why everything is awful and why everyone sucks? You know who I’m talking about, you’ve seen them in the grocery line. If you stop justifying your negativity to yourself you won’t have a reason to be angry, and much more people will actually enjoy being around you. Get over the spilt milk.

    2. Stop Making Excuses

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      You need to stop making excuses for both yourself and others. Perhaps you rationalize your own actions and why it’s okay for you to verbalize your anger. Or maybe you create explanations as to why other people deserve your anger. Either way, you’re trying to invent a socially acceptable explanation for your behavior. The only problem is that it probably isn’t acceptable and all it’s doing is keeping your negative emotions alive and making you miserable in the meantime. Eventually there will be no one left to care but yourself. Stop making yourself a victim. Really think about whether or not these other people have actually done anything wrong.

      3. Start Taking Responsibility

        Now that you’ve stopped making excuses, it’s time to take some responsibility for yourself and your actions. As soon as you do this, you will start depriving your negative emotions of the power they hold over you. What right do they have to your life anyway? Own your problems and your actions and stop blaming other people. It’s called being a happy, functional adult.

        4. Rise Above Other People’s Opinions

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          So I’ve done a lot of ranting about how you need to control your emotions and take responsibility. The truth is that this can be difficult when other people can actually be jerks, or if you care too much about what others think of you. You need to stop giving them so much power. Don’t let anyone but yourself define your self image and self worth. This is important, but if you define yourself through others, you are far more likely to be miserable. This is because as soon as you hear anything negative, you’re likely to react with anger and embarrassment. You’ll feel ashamed and inferior and may even begin indulging in self-pity that could lead to depression. The joke will be on you though, because in most cases, the people who made you feel this way won’t even realize it. They’re busy with their own lives. All of the negativity and hurt actually comes from you. You need to stop giving a crap about what other people think immediately. You’ll be much happier for it.

          5. Quit Your Negative Habits and Avoid Bad Influences

            Some habits and people purely and simply bring you down. It may difficult to do, but you need to remove these things from your life. Don’t hang around people who are negative all of the time. Instead, surround yourself with happy and positive people who take joy in life. You’d be surprised how easily their attitudes can rub off on you. Furthermore, don’t engage in behavior that may make you angry and depressed. If that beer or joint is going to have a negative effect, put it the hell down.

            6. Think Before You Respond

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              Calm yourself down, Hulk.

              Let’s say you’re in a situation where your natural reaction is to yell or send a passive aggressive Facebook message. Stop. Just, stop. Now think. Is this something you really want to do? Is it actually that bad? Is it even worth being angry or upset over? Did the person you’re about to react to actually do anything wrong, or is it in your head? What are some of the possible consequences of these actions? Will it destroy a friendship? Will you be stewing over it for weeks?

              These are just some of the questions that you need to start asking yourself before you react negatively to something. You may just find that you’re grateful that you thought about it before acting. Or maybe, because I have trouble being concise, by the time you get to the end of my questions, you’ll forget what even happened in the first place.

              7. Be Grateful

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                Instead of constantly obsessing over how crap your life is, start being grateful. What are the things or people you have in your life that you can be thankful for? Start defining your life by the good, as opposed to the bad. Get into this habit by thinking of at least one thing everyday that you’re grateful for.

                8. Remove “I Can’t” From Your Vocabulary

                  This is a simple one. Saying “I can’t” to things, including letting go of negative emotions, will make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can’t because you say you can’t. Stop placing limitations on yourself and give yourself some credit. You can if you say you can. Unless it’s something like diving out of a plane without a parachute and thinking you’ll survive. You probably can’t do that.

                  9. Just Let Go

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                    Most importantly, you need to try and let go of your negative emotions. Holding onto them and subsequently applying them to every little thing that goes wrong isn’t healthy. In fact, it’s dangerous. A great deal of negative people don’t know how to feel much else and aren’t satisfied unless they have something to whine about. Ironically, they’re not happy unless they’re unhappy and actually go looking for conflict. Do you really want to be that person? If nothing else, it sounds exhausting. Let it go, people. Just let it go.

                    More by this author

                    Tegan Jones

                    Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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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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