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Live A Beautiful Life In 10 Easy Steps

Live A Beautiful Life In 10 Easy Steps
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Life is beautiful! And even more so if you are living a life filled with happiness, peace and contribution. However, many people, including myself, have lived a life full of possessions, with a soul full of hatred, a job that sucks the very life out of them, and an emptiness inside.

Even with its struggles and difficulties life can be beautiful, depending what you focus on. A beautiful life is one that makes you feel fully alive, is full of inspiration and creates a deeper, more connected environment for us to live in. With this in mind I’ve come up with a few steps on how to live a beautiful life.

1. Always be grateful for the blessings and gifts you already have.

A must for all people who want to or who are already living a beautiful life. If you can do just one thing out of all of these steps, I’d recommend this one: being thankful for all that you already have is the key to a beautiful life. Taking time out to be thankful even through the tough times will set you up for a happier, more peaceful existence. It will not only touch your own life but also those around you. How wonderful is that?

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2. Try to know and understand yourself.

Most of us have an idea of ourselves, yet very few actually know or understand who we really are. To begin the wonderful journey of living a beautiful life this is very important. You’ll need to take a good, hard look at the stuff that you may have been denying for years and that which has been under wraps without you even knowing. This is a chance for self-discovery and will include rediscovering your passions, desires, fears and insecurities. It might not be as easy as you first thought, so I’d suggest involving a good, trusted friend to help you dig a little deeper. Either way, this process will open your eyes and help you to see how your life has the potential to be beautiful.

3. Work out what a beautiful life means to you.

If you don’t feel that your life is beautiful right now, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself what it is that you think is missing? Is it a purpose, inspiration, happiness, or something else? Questions that delve deeper are important here like asking: “What is it that is keeping me stuck in this cycle of unhappiness? Is it fear of failure, rejection, or making the wrong choices?” Whatever it is, none of these are good enough reasons to be unhappy or not living a beautiful life.

4. Start to make changes to towards living your beautiful life.

When you know that a beautiful life is there for the taking, it will mean changes will need to be made in some areas of your life. It’s no good doing the same stuff because you’ll get the same results. All it takes is a little time to work out what maybe missing from your life or what needs letting go of.

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For example, if you want to find your purpose in life, perhaps it’s time to surround yourself with people who inspire, lift and encourage you rather than spending time with the same friends who have always brought you down. It might also mean that you need to start standing up for yourself a little bit more and saying no a bit more often; it’s the little things that can make all the difference.

5. Give away love to feel more love.

In order to live a beautiful life, love is one of the things that make life worth living. The thing is, however, most of the time we expect it to be given in order for us to give it back. Instead of thinking this way, why not live your life with love being the principle aim in all that you do, especially when interacting with other people in your day-to-day life? Everyone needs love in their life, whether it’s from a partner, a friend, family or a perfect stranger. Make your beautiful life more meaningful by giving love to everyone you meet in the form of kindness, understanding, tolerance, acceptance and generosity.

6. Practice forgiveness.

How can you have a beautiful life if you are full of resentment and bitterness? You can’t, is the simple answer! However, when someone has wronged you or let you down, it can prove difficult to forgive and forget.

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Forgiveness, however, is not about letting someone of the hook: it’s more about letting yourself off the hook! You see, forgiveness not only takes tremendous stress out of any situation, but it also sets you free. Why? Because if you hold on to anger, bitterness and resentment, they will only eat away at you, keeping you a prisoner of your feelings and hurting yourself in the meantime. It does you no good, and it also ensures that any steps you take towards your beautiful life will be in vain. So do yourself a favor, forgive and then move on with your life.

7. Look at things from a new perspective.

In times of trouble, when your circumstances leave a lot to be desired, it can be difficult to see what you are going through as a gift. However, if you look at the struggle as a new learning opportunity and ask yourself: “What is this situation trying to teach me?” you’ll go a long way to living a more beautiful life.

It’s that change in perspective that makes the harder times seem less so because you are taking the situation and turning it around. This is a wonderful way to view your life because the more you are mindful of what you can learn in any given situation, the more you will breeze through your struggles with effortless grace. Now that sounds great, don’t you think?

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8. Be more flexible in your thinking.

When our thinking is rigid and inflexible, it gives little room for change or improvement. To live a beautiful life it is beneficial to have the kind of mind that can be open and flexible, so that new information or unexpected situations can be grasped with less drama or stress. It’s when we are flexible in our approach to life we can enjoy and experience it with unbound possibilities.

9. Expect the best not the worst.

Life can be a roller-coaster ride, with its ups and downs, as well as triumphs and disappointments. When we expect the very best from people and situations, we start to fill our lives with a more positive outlook, as well as creating a more compassionate and understanding environment. If you learn to expect the best, you’ll bring more situations to you that will only ever be the best!

10. Live a beautiful life to make a difference in the world.

This isn’t about preaching to others on how you’ve changed your life, but more about being the kind of person who inspires others to live a beautiful life too. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” In short, if you want to see a difference in the world and to make it a more beautiful place, then start with yourself!

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So, are you ready to live a beautiful life?

Featured photo credit: Flickr sierra ryan via flickr.com

More by this author

Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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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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