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This Is How You Can Become The Stronger Version Of Yourself

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This Is How You Can Become The Stronger Version Of Yourself

How To Become A Better, Stronger Version Of Yourself

At the end of every year, once the festivities have passed and preparations are underway to move past the last 12 months, it is natural to start thinking about new beginnings. Resolutions are made that you intend to keep throughout the year but almost always disappear by March or April. Promises are made to stop smoking, lose weight, argue less, spend less, save more and the list goes on. However, if you make one promise, whatever the time of year, make it ‘to be a better version of myself’.

Changing your outlook, your perceptions and your goals can have a huge impact on your life. Not only on your life, but the lives of those around you too. If you want to stop snapping at people, enjoy more time to do the things you enjoy and box off numerous other resolutions like losing weight and spending less money, then ultimately the changes have to be within yourself.

So where to begin? Below are some hints of where you can start the process but the list is not exhaustive, it is only the beginning – feel free to add your own ideas for becoming the person you know you can be.

Eat Healthier

Okay, you knew it would be on the list so we may as well begin with it. If you’re shoving stodge into your digestive system every day then you’re going to feel sluggish, lethargic and shattered. How easy do you think it is to be the best you can be when your body is trying to process loads of junk food?

It’s time to admit to yourself that if you’re going to be better on the outside, you need to be better on the inside.

Our bodies are not designed to cope with man-made substances and chemicals that are used to process and store food. Although convenient, tinned food and ready-made things have been through so much processing to keep them fresher for longer. Our bodies struggle to digest it all and the food gets trapped in our systems for longer than it should, causing bloating, gas, nausea, headaches and mood swings. Do you really want to put that stuff in your body?

You can have a very fulfilling diet and do your body a huge favor too. Choose from whole foods such as nuts and seeds, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole wheat and whole grain bread and pasta, seafood, organic meat and natural sweeteners such as honey or stevia.

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Your water intake is also incredibly important. Make sure you’re flushing your toxins out daily by drinking at least 8 glasses (or two liters) of water each day. This will keep your head clear, your skin blemish free and your kidneys healthy too.

Simplify Your Life

You know that when there’s a million and one things that you need to get done and you’re surrounded by clutter, you’re unable to focus on what actually needs doing. In the end nothing at all gets done and you face the same problem the following day, and then the day after that. You’ve probably been meaning to sort things out for ages, right? Well, well stop procrastinating! Write down everything you need to get done and then highlight your top ten tasks. Write these items on a separate list and do the same again but this time highlight your top five. Write these on a separate sheet of paper – these are the only tasks you need to focus on today.

Also, get a big bag and choose one corner of one room. Put things in it that you don’t use, don’t like or don’t want. Next, put things that do not belong in that corner in a box to sort later. Do this every day until every corner in every room has been cleared of clutter. At the end sort through the box of items that don’t belong and find new, tidy homes for them.

When you come home each day, your whole house will be free of clutter and you won’t have a to-do list as long as your arm.

The key is to break it down into manageable chunks. Make sure you stick to this rule as it will mean you will have more time to do the things you enjoy rather than feeling frazzled all the time.

Be Grateful

It’s surprising how much of our time is being flooded with adverts for all kinds of stuff, forcing us to believe we need to have it in our lives. How many times do you think “If only I could just win the lottery” or “If I buy that then my life will be better.” Instead of always waiting for the future, appreciate what you have in the here and now. Don’t just focus on possessions. When you go to bed each night, choose something or someone to speak to in your head. It could be God or the Universe, a loved one that has passed or your inner self. Once you have someone or something in mind, think of things that your are thankful for.

Examples could be:

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“Thank you for this warm bed that I am in whilst it is blowing a gale outside. Others are not so fortunate.”

“I am grateful for my health: that I have been able to get up and leave the house today while others are bedridden with pain or ill health.”

“Thank you for keeping me safe whilst driving today. Many people are involved in accidents every day and I was lucky to get home in one piece.”

If you have family, hug them a little tighter and be grateful that they are healthy. So many are suffering the loss of a loved or are going through the heartache of seeing someone suffer day after day, so put things into perspective and stop moaning about how the traffic was bad on the way home. Save that energy for positive things and positive thoughts.

You will find that as you start thinking of all of the things you appreciate, you will feel calmer and  less likely to take your loved ones for granted, which will result in more quality time with them.

Be In Contact With Your Family

There are many quotes about being able to choose your friends yet your family is a set of people that you’re stuck with for life. Some people find they have absolutely nothing in common once they mature and form their own path in the journey of life. However, if you have a family you like, there’s nothing better than spending a nostalgic afternoon with a sibling, parent or any member of the family. You will both have the same shared experiences whether it be family holidays or gatherings, so make the most of taking a trip down memory lane and remind yourself how important family are.

It is incredibly easy to get caught up in a busy life but if you genuinely want to become a better version of yourself, then it is time to do some selfless acts of kindness.

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If you have a grandparent who is alone and stuck in the same four walls every day, go and visit them as often as you can. When you’re older, you will be grateful to people who care enough to come and visit you and relieve the boredom of living at home by yourself.

If calling home is the last thing on your mind, make sure you bring it to the top of your priority list because nothing says you care more than taking some time out of your day to call someone to see how they are.

There are vast numbers of people brimming with regret following the funeral of a family member. They know they could have made more of an effort to see them more frequently. Don’t be one of those people.

Challenge Yourself – Leave Your Comfort Zone

In order to become a better version of yourself, it is necessary to come out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. When the mind is stretched a little, you will feel a buzz of excitement. There’s nothing like a little fear to wake up your senses.

There are so many skills to be learned in the world. Why not learn a new one? Perhaps learn a new language or start playing an instrument. It will be difficult at first but it will keep your mind focused.

Exercising your brain by learning new things will also improve your concentration skills and help you to sleep better, so choose something to sink your teeth into and leave your comfort zone behind for a while.

Set Clear Goals

Hectic lives mean things get overlooked or purposefully ignored, leading you to feeling useless and angry. It is very important that you have clear goals that you can see every day, so write them down and hang them in a room in your house that you go into often – maybe the kitchen or the bathroom.

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Your goals could be anything from “Purchase a sports car” to “Clean out the cupboard under the stairs.”

If you like you can set a time limit by which you want to achieve your goal by. It could be within a matter of days or it could be a particular age that you want to be, e.g. “Buy a sports car, age 50”

Next, write down the steps you need to take in order to reach that goal. So if it is purchasing a sports car when you’re 50 years old, work out how many months away that is and how much money you would need to save each month. Make a chart with a picture of the sports car at the top and boxes to represent each month you need to save money. When you save, tick a box and you will see your goal is getting nearer.

If your goal is more short term, like cleaning the cupboard out under the stairs, give yourself a little reward when you have accomplished your goal. Promise yourself little treats and you will be motivated to reach all of your goals sooner than you think.

Be Assertive

If you’re used to never voicing your opinion or saying what you are thinking, it’s time to make some changes. Studies have shown that assertive people are happier, healthier and have better relationships.

Make sure your body posture is helps you feel confident. Sit upright and raise your chin off your chest. Don’t mumble; say whatever you want politely and respectfully but loud enough to sound sure of yourself. Believe that you have a voice which should be heard. Don’t be afraid to say “No”. If you are up to your eyes in work and your boss asks you to to take on more, confidently say, “If I take any more work on, the quality of what I produce will be compromised, so it is best that the extra work is delegated to someone else at this moment.” In most cases your boss will appreciate your honesty and do as you suggest.

Thanks for reading and good luck for your journey ahead of becoming a better version of yourself.

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Carles Sabarich

Carles aspires to encourage people to live actively and take charge of their lives.

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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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