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Here’s How You Can Be The Best and Shine This Year

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Here’s How You Can Be The Best and Shine This Year

As we embark upon a new year, there are so many ways to view our lives and the chances ahead of us – new opportunities, old regrets, the same cycles people go through every year. However, if you want to change this year-  if you want to shine this year as a human being and as the best version of yourself – then you’re going to need to work at what makes you tick. What makes you happy, what makes you sad, your strengths, weaknesses, your days and nights. Everything about yourself has to undergo an examination if not a re-evaluation.

So, for those of you who are looking to shine this year and be the best you you can be, here are ten tips for how to achieve it.

1. Drink water every morning.

One of the easiest ways to shine this year is start every day off by drinking plenty of water as part of your early morning routine. The reason? Drinking water first thing in the morning has an incredible set of health benefits, including purifying the colon and allowing better nutrient absorption, aids weight loss and better metabolism, helps give you glowing skin thanks to flushing out toxins, and helps balance your lymph system. In short, it helps rejuvenate your system and helps you start every day off in the right way.

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2. Change your morning routine to suit you.

Everyone has a morning routine and one of the ways to shine this year is to go through it and modify aspects of it that can be best suited to you. After all, everyone’s different and has their own way of working things in the early hours. If you always feel like you need more sleep, go to bed earlier or use a sleep calculator to find out when you should be going to bed to work with your circadian rhythms and cycles. Add in time for a morning shower if you always feel better with one but never have time. Make sure you have breakfast. All these little things can have a big positive effect on your morning routine and wlll help you shine this year.

3. Make an active effort to see the good around you.

The world is, surprisingly, a good place despite the bad things going around and not a lot of us actually choose to see. Let’s face it, with the news creating catastrophe and calamity in every news item, some pretty seriously twisted ideals of perfection and beauty being pushed on us, and a general feeling that cynicism is the standard, it can be hard to be optimistic and someone who sees the silver lining when everyone else sees an oncoming storm. If you want to truly shine this year, look for the positive. Surround yourself with positive friends and be more considerate to people going through their own situations, so that by looking for the positive, you transfer it forward and become the positive change yourself.

4. Exercise at least three times a week.

Exercise is a bit of a hate word around people – it brings back memories of school gyms and forced running and mandatory activities. However, choosing to go out and engage in something that gets your body moving is absolutely a fantastic thing to get involved in and something that is certain to make you shine this year. Find the kind of exercise you like to do, rather than immediately going down the gym even though you’ll hate it. If you like slow rhythmic movements, take up tai chi or yoga; if you like high-energy stuff, check our Zumba or aerobics. There are more than enough exercise options out there for you and if you really want to shine this year, it’s a good idea to go and get your body moving.

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5. Get plenty of sleep.

This one cannot be stressed enough – sleep is key. All of our culture seems to be screaming, ‘you don’t need sleep, you can go for longer’ – but to do is to put into jeopardy your physical and mental health because sleep is an option. Sleep is a legitimate physical need that will cause you severe problems if you don’t get enough. A way to truly shine this year is to take care of yourself by engaging in some sleep hygiene. Make your bedroom the best kind of sleeping environment possible for you. Sweet dreams.

6. Make sure to dance at every opportunity.

A bit of a cliche, perhaps, but let’s be honest-  people who shine through life are always ready to dance at the drop of a hat. Dancing is both ridiculously simple and complex – it’s a true expression of human emotion and the ability to translate our physical body into a joyous or mournful or reverential proclamation. Plus, dancing has incredible health benefits as it helps you keep fit, works your legs and arms through rhythmic movement, and releases endorphins into the bloodstream providing an entirely natural rush. Whenever you find the chance to, put on your favorite kind of music and dance to it. Dance with a friend, dance alone, let your body do the talking and feel yourself begin to shine.

7. Try something new at least every month.

There’s nothing that kills as quick as routine nor boredom – so the paraphrased saying goes. One of the most enjoyable ways to shine is to keep putting yourself out there more and trying new things as often as possible, within a minimum of one new thing a month. There’s an entire world out there waiting for you to experience it – a world full of fantastic films and delicious food and astonishing plays and beautiful music and joyful dance and great TV. People who shine always try and broaden their horizons and their own perspectives, so make sure you give into that childlike curiosity with that new album, new restaurant, new film. After all, you might just find a new favorite.

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8. Visualize your happiness.

If you want your happiness, you’ve got to visualize it. See it, imagine it. Work through it so it becomes an approachable goal rather than a lofty ideal which is as unattainable as it is ill conceived. We create our own happiness and shape our own lives so if you want to truly shine this year and be the best version of yourself that you can be, is to decide what makes you happy and either cultivate it if you have it, or work towards it if you don’t. Create a vision board, a Pinterest channel, a sigil – whatever you need to try and plan out your happiness, use it. The future is yours.

9. Stop comparing yourself to others.

Comparing your life and yourself to other people is one of the most toxic and self-destructive things you could ever do to yourself as it undermines your own experiences and your personality and erodes away at all the positive achievements you’ve managed to accomplish throughout your life. Simply, you need to finish with both the negative and positive comparisons to other peoples’ lives in order to focus on your own. Comparisons lead to negativity, anger, jealousy and gossiping which not only makes you look more petty and negative, it also stops you from focusing on your life and your goals. Cut the comparison and truly shine this year as an example.

10. Stop the ‘should have’ thoughts in your life.

We’re constantly being told what we should have and shouldn’t have in our lives. Designer clothes, cars, the latest electronic products, haute cuisine and expensive coffee, everything is construed as a status symbol, an indicator that the person has met untold requirements for being seen as desirable. That is an incredibly toxic way of viewing life and viewing ownership, because if you live your life by the ‘should haves’, then you will be forever chasing trends because what is a la mode always changes, always evolves.

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Your life, however, should be based on the wants and needs that you yourself cultivate and desire. It’s not the end of the world if you want the latest tablet or phone or a cup of coffee or shoes – that’s fine – but what you need to assess is why you’re wanting it and then go off your instinct as to whether or not it’ll make you happy. If it makes you happy, go for it. If not, then find something that does make you happy. And then you’ll truly shine this year, and the years to come.

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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