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How to Endure and Overcome the Worst of Life’s Hardships

How to Endure and Overcome the Worst of Life’s Hardships
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I’m sure at some point in your life, you’ve had to endure some form of hardship. We all have.

It could be personal 

Maybe you’re having trouble with a your spouse or partner, and you just can’t seem to get it together. Maybe it’s from being complacent for too long and a need for change begins to build inside you. After all, that’s what we do right?

We’re human. We change. We can get comfortable in our environment, but sometimes we get too comfortable and the desire for change kicks in. It’s a good thing, but it can also be your enemy, if you allow it.

It could be financial

Maybe your job doesn’t bring in the kind of money you need to do anything more than survive, so when you suffer a setback, you really struggle. You not only struggle with the financial issues, but you also struggle with your emotions. Not having the amount of money you need to live without the fear that comes along with being broke, sucks.

You can be feeling great mentally and physically and able to perform at your best, but if you are struggling financially, there’s a good chance you’re causing more harm to your body with the stress, worry, and anger that comes along with it. This also plays a role in your personal life as well, doesn’t it?

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We let our financial frustrations affect ourselves and the personal relationships around us. This brings with it more problems and and suffering, and pretty soon, we’re left with only two options.

1. Change

You can change your circumstances to get out of your unwanted situation. It can be difficult to do this, especially when nothing but negativity surrounds you, but if you decide willingly to change your circumstances, you can. It’s just a matter of knowing how.

2. Be forced into change

It’s human nature to need to be constantly growing, evolving, and changing. If you are stagnant and stick in a routine for too long, what happens? Well, most of the time, you get a feeling of boredom, a desire for change, or despair that comes from being in a stalled state of progression. That’s just you telling yourself that you need to change something.

If you were to learn the process a little better, you could really help yourself when it comes to understanding how to endure and overcome the very worst of your life’s hardships. Knowing that there is a specific reason you are in a hardship will help you to learn how to get through it in a positive way vs. a negative one.

So what’s the process for being able to endure and overcome, you might ask? Well, as you probably already know, no one process will work for everyone, just as there is (usually) no quick-fix solution for the various hardships that come into your life. There are, however, certain ways you can choose to perceive the realities you’re hit with.

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Perception

Perception is in the eye of the beholder, so if I’m perceiving my life in a negative way, I’m more than likely going to be dealing with all of the emotions and thoughts that come from that perception. In other words, thinking negative thoughts—in any situation—is going to bring out negative emotions. This can get you stuck in a tailspin, and you’ll find it very difficult to get past emotions such as anger, sadness, and low self-esteem, which go along with negative perceptions.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t want to feel those negative emotions—they are a valuable part of progressing and moving forward in your life. The negative emotions are there so you can overcome them. Let’s look at just how you can change your feelings of suffering when hardships hit into a new perspective on your life, which will allow you to endure when there is suffering, and overcome when it’s time.

Enduring

When hit with any kind of hardship, it’s difficult to know which types of emotions will surface. Of course you will be experiencing suffering, so the bad emotions that follow are going to be entering your world. One of the worst things you can do, (other than hurting yourself or another, of course) is try to hide or not acknowledge your feelings.

  • Accept

It is very important to accept what is, both in terms of the external reality and your internal reality, with thoughts, emotions, etc.

  • Feel

Allow yourself to feel, and also allow yourself to listen to what comes through while you are allowing your emotions to go through their natural process.

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  • Listen

When was the last time you truly sat down with no distractions, (technologies, cell phone, Facebook, e-mail, television, etc.) and listened? Take a moment each day to look inside yourself and hear what your higher consciousness has to say. Don’t think, don’t wonder—just listen.

Overcoming

After you’ve taken the time to sit back, reflect, and gain clarity on your current circumstances, it’s time to start moving forward. After all, how can you expect to overcome a challenging situation in your life if you don’t move? It does require a little inspirational push, but if you want to get over a hardship, you need to let it in. Here are some ways to overcome any difficult situation when you just can’t escape your own thoughts and feelings.

Find inspiration in your life – Inspiration brings hope and desire, which also bring positivity. These are all good things and can offer you the tools you need to move forward, away from the depths of despair that haunt you when experiencing hardship.

Strategy – Once you have a positive attitude and desire inside you, it’s the perfect time to come up with an escape plan from your current situation. When you see the vision of where you want to be, you can start to fill in the details with a direction to start moving in. The key here is to make the decision to consciously move forward, and have a solid action plan to follow.

Take Action – This is one of the most obvious pieces of advice people can give. You know it, I know it, we all do, but it’s easier said than done though, isn’t it? It’s easy to say “take action”, but it’s not as easy to follow that advice. Why is that?

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Many factors can come into play here, but beyond the obvious, (that you may be stressed, tired, moody, and depressed) there is another reason, a deeper reason that holds most people back. Almost everyone should be able to picture some form of positive outcome in their minds, but when it comes to taking action and making an actual change, very few of us follow through. We just end up enduring until our emotions settle down and we continue on the same path, which led to our current circumstances in the first place.

If you really want to overcome it, not just endure, you need to start changing your status quo. Discover and pursue a life that brings progress and positive changes to your world. Surround yourself with people who care about you, want the best for you, and believe in you. The most important factor is to remember that you’re not alone. Sometimes, it may seem easier to just cope and put on a happy face, but it’s not.

The true change happens, when you fully embrace the relationships and connections around you. 

 

More by this author

Justin Harmon

Justin helps people break free from the status quo and start living a life of personal freedom, fulfillment, and purpose.

6 Reasons Why Your Comfort Zone Is Holding You Back In Life How to Stop the Cycle of Anger, Sadness, and Guilt During Hardships How to Be Awesome at Life How to Endure and Overcome the Worst of Life’s Hardships 3 Highly Effective Ways to Become Happy, Awake, Fulfilled and Free

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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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