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How To Live Life With No Regrets

How To Live Life With No Regrets
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Regret is like a ghost. It arrives when we feel low or down in our lives and sticks around for a while – sometimes months, years, and even decades. Since misery does like company, it’s not a surprise that our uninvited “ghost” shows up in perfect timing, and it’s usually when we are reminded of the things we wish we had done differently in our lives.

The thing is, regret will only stay if we let it. In order to let go of his heavy burden and lingering ghost, we must first understand what we are regretting in our lives and why.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to live life with no regrets.

1. Reflect on Past Regrets

Everyone has had their fair share of things that they have regretted in their life, but the question to ask yourself is how long you have been carrying these burdens?

Guilt and regret weighs heavily on your mental health, which as a result can disrupt your physical productivity.

The first step is to acknowledge the things that you regret doing or not doing. The following step would be giving yourself space to explore in those things.

Remember, be kind to yourself when you are doing this. It takes a lot of courage to face the things that continue to cause us pain, guilt and suffering.

2. Have a Healthy Conversation with Yourself

Now, as you explore this space and begin addressing the things you regret, keep in mind that you are having a conversation with yourself. This isn’t a blame game and this space isn’t meant for you to slip down a rabbit hole of self-sabotage.

One way to avoid self-sabotage is identifying the things that are working against you. Holding onto regret is one form of self-sabotage, and moving forward means having healthier conversations with yourself to get to the root of “the thing.” There is a hidden root to the things we regret in life and finding it can help bring more clarity.

3. Find the Root

Let’s get to finding that root. We experience guilt and regret in different situations and circumstances in our lives whether it be our career, relationships, or even putting our needs in the back burner.

Here are several examples and getting to the root of these regrets:

Regret 1: I regret not accepting that job offer. I would have moved up to a senior position by now and be making x amount a year.

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The regret here is about a missed opportunity. There’s a reason why you may not have taken that opportunity when it was presented and it can timing, personal reasons, or specific priorities that needed your attention at the time.

First and foremost, see if you are that same person you were at that specific moment of your life.

Are your values the same?

Do you still want the same things you did then?

What experienced have you gained from not taking the job?

Chances are, you may be a completely different person then as you are now. As humans, we are meant to grow and outgrow older versions of ourselves. The root here of the guilt is not about mourning a missed opportunity, but accepting that things may have changed – including you.

Here’s another one, but this time it’s about something that’s been done.

Regret 2: I regret moving to a new city. It’s not what I thought it would be and I’m not happy.

The regret here is moving to the unknown and there was a reason why you decided to take that jump.

Was it to try something new or was it because you’ve always wanted to live in this particular city?

Was it for someone or something?

Ask yourself these questions and then look at what your current needs are.

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It’s also about living in the present, and by doing so your energy is not fixated on the regret itself but about finding the positives of what you thought was a negative situation.

Remember, every situation needs time to breathe.

4. Accept That You Are a Work in Progress

Everyday we are figuring out more and more about who we are or what we want in this one life that we live.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is acknowledging that you are a human being, and perfection does not exist. Forgive yourself for things you did not know when you made “regretful” decisions, and don’t let anything hinder your growth from here on forward.

Acknowledge that certain decisions were made because of what you wanted at that specific moment; it’s a way of honoring yourself. Holding onto regrets mean you are living in the past and honoring yourself means living in the present.

5. Value Your Time and Energy

Our energy is one of the most precious things we have control of even though most of the time it may not seem so.

Using time-management tools such as keeping a to-do list and delegating household tasks are helpful, but energy goes beyond just physical activities. We have emotional energies, too.

Be mindful of the energy you put into your physical work, in your relationships with partners, friends and colleagues, on hobbies, and other daily activities.

If you feel like your energy is being drained in certain aspects of your life, it’s your intuition telling you to check-in.

Choose one day out of the week and tune into how you feel during your daily routine:

  • How do you really feel after checking your email the moment your alarm goes off?
  • How present do you feel when you are eating your lunch hovered over your computer?
  • How would it make you feel if you called versus sending a text message to your loved ones?

Also, set your non-negotiables. Value the things that are important to you and stick by them especially if it’s a set date and time. This is one way of honoring and putting yourself first.

Many times, regret happens when we don’t honor the things that nourish us mentally, physically and emotionally.

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6. Don’t Wait for the Weekend to Rest

If you’re working Monday thru Friday, the moment Friday comes around a sense of relief may be washing over you.

“It’s the weekend!” you shout.

Every day should spark that emotion. Condensing all your me-time for the weekend may increase burnouts and bring instead feelings of unproductively. The weekend should not be a 48-hour countdown until Monday or a time to crank out your personal to-do list.

Carve out time everyday to unplug and fuel your soul with the things that you want to do. This could be anything from not checking emails after 6 p.m., putting your phone to airplane mode at a specific time, or simply playing the guitar every single day.

The more you fuel yourself with the things that make you happy, it’ll limit those excuses of “I regret not keeping up with learning the guitar” or “I regret not spending more time with my family because I was focused on work outside of work.”

Me-time is important.

7. Set Goals

It’s essential to set goals – long-term, short-term, big and small goals. When you set your goals and have a clear vision in mind, you have a focus.

Often, regret happens when we’re “not where we want to be” in life or when we don’t achieve certain things. One way to live a life without any regrets is to simply hone in on the things you want to achieve, and it’s even better when you can see it everyday.

How?

Get out that pen and paper – it’s time to create a list.

This is the 101 things to do in 1001 days exercise. 1001 days is a little short of three years and will fly by before you know it. Having small fun goals is just as important as having big life goals. Although this list may seem like a bucket list (which it could be), it gives you a timeframe of 1001 days to complete the items on your list.

Don’t sell yourself short and be creative. You can section your list into categories such as career and travel, or write them down as they come to find. Every day is a new day. It’s another 24-hour reset, and the question to ask yourself is what you will do about it today.

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Check out this ultimate guide to goal-setting to help you achieve your goals.

8. Learn from Others

“Frodo: ‘I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.’ Gandalf: ‘So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’” -The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring

When death arrives, our perception of the world changes. This moving article, “These 20 Regrets From People On Their Deathbeds Will Change Your Life” explains just that. We all think we’re immortal until we’re not. We all believe we are invincible until the world around us shows that we are equally fragile and delicate as our bodies. Here are some of the things that were listed:

  • I wish I wouldn’t have compared myself to others
  • I wish I’d told others how much I love them.
  • I wish I didn’t wait to “start it tomorrow.”

Some of the most profound lessons are learned from not doing or not saying enough.

Do two things today:

The first thing is to tell someone you love them and are thinking about them.

The second thing would be to choose something you’ve always wanted to do and start today. No excuses.

Final Thoughts

Regret is a powerful emotion, and if not careful, it can consume your thoughts, energy, and time.

Several years ago, I made the conscious decision to laugh every single day including on the days I felt miserable. I knew that when my time came, I can look back and say that my life was filled with laughter and it’s the one thing that helps me feel alive.

Always remember that no matter what your situation is, you can kindly ask this “ghost” to leave, but it will only leave when you begin doing things for you.

Whatever it is, do it with passion and love.

More Articles About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Bishop via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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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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