When we’re young we think of the perfect relationship. Everyone is always smiling and things are going well. Your partner knows exactly what to say and do to make you feel good and vice versa. Those of us who have been in relationships know better. Couples can and will fight for just about anything. The key is to understand that fighting can help improve relationships. Here’s how.
1. You air your dirty laundry
An argument may start over anything. You two may not know what to do for dinner. One of you may have taken that turn a little fast and loose while out driving. Problems in a relationship are like dynamite and little things like not deciding on a place to eat are nothing more than a fuse. Eventually, these little things will open up the table to what is really going wrong. Once you can identify what’s really going on, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to fix it.
2. You will be more comfortable around one another
The classic sign that a couple is comfortable with each other is when the “embarrassing” bodily functions fly even when the other person is in the room. Believe it or not, fighting can actually do the same thing. Couples who fight are not only working out their issues but also showing each other how they deal with problems. It forces you to talk about yourselves and what you think. By the end of it you’ll know the other person way better than you did before and vice versa because both of you will be expressing yourselves, often for the first time.
3. You will have confirmation that both of you want the relationship to work
People will fight for things they believe in. It doesn’t matter if they’re joining the military to fight for their country or shouting at you across the kitchen table to fight for your relationship. A lot of people think that anger means discontent but it actually means that you care so much that when something goes wrong, you get upset about it. Fighting with your partner shows them that you’re upset and that you want to fix things to make them better. If you don’t want to fight or if your partner doesn’t want to fight to make a relationship right, then there might be a problem.
4. You and your partner will restore your sanity
Anger means that you care. Unfortunately, being angry can also drive you insane if you don’t express it. Bottling up those kinds of emotions can be dangerous. It can cause you to have irrational thoughts and eventually you start thinking things that aren’t true. Letting out that anger can help reset your insanity button and get those negative thoughts out of your head. Not fighting and letting those feelings get bottled up is never good. Ever.
5. You will get an honest answer for once
Emotions flying around like witches on broomsticks often means that the truth is also flying around. Have you ever noticed that people in fights make statements they wouldn’t otherwise make. “I never liked it when you did this.” Couples in an argument often air their dirty laundry but more importantly they’re doing it honestly. Those small things you keep bottled up and lie about (“Sure, honey, I don’t mind watching Sex in the City…again”) can be set free because angry people no longer care about the consequences. As long as you’re not hiding anything ridiculous like cheating or something irreparable, chances are that your little issues are fixable.
6. You get to have sex
As long as your relationship survives the fight (and chances are that it will) you get to have make up sex. By the time the argument is over everyone is stressed out. Things are a little tense. There are few better ways our species has access to than a good rumble between the sheets to get some of that tension out. We’re not saying you should pick a fight but plenty of people who are in relationships go through a dry spell that ends after a fight.
7. You get a reminder of what you’re doing wrong
Relationships take work. Sometimes you have to stop doing something or start doing something to keep your partner happy. Not doing those things can result in a fight. During that fight you will be reminded (many times) of what you’re doing wrong. This can seem tedious and awful but sometimes we need a push in the right direction because we don’t always know what the other person wants. A good fight can put those needs into focus.
8. You can understand yourself better
I can’t even remember how many epiphanies I’ve had during fights anymore. It doesn’t always happen but sometimes you are just wrong. It happens to all of us and there is nothing to be ashamed of. The problem is that you don’t know that you’re wrong until someone points it out. In today’s society, telling someone they’re wrong is fighting words. The important part is admitting that you’re wrong after you get caught being wrong. Otherwise this entire point is worthless.
Of course, we are coming at this from a specific point of view. Arguing and fighting is healthy but only if it’s done in a specific way. If your partner is hitting you, abusing you, bullying you, or otherwise hurting you or making you feel unsafe, you should do something about that immediately. There is no fixing that kind of behavior. Otherwise, keep these tips in mind the next time your partner blows up at you (or vice versa) and prepare to work on your relationship the old fashioned way.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: