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Relationship Pitfalls You Can Avoid to Keep your Relationship Alive

Relationship Pitfalls You Can Avoid to Keep your Relationship Alive
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Human nature is all about relationships. Finding them, keeping them together and keeping each other happy are the things that keep us well. Stress and misery can destroy our minds as well as our bodies. A ruined relationship can ruin your outlook on life itself. Here are a few pitfalls and some suggestions for avoiding them.

1. Take time to celebrate.

Back in college I celebrated Valentine’s Day as “V-D” and associated its festivities with the festering wounds I’d suffered from relationships gone bad. My friends and roommates got together for “anti-V.D.” parties and we crafted hearts from cloth and pinned them to our sleeves. We replaced the four-letter word “love” with an abbreviation that doubled as a pun.

What changed? Well, I grew up. Got married to the right guy and had a couple of kids. I learned along the way just how to avoid the common relationship pitfalls that leave many lovers limp-legged on the side of the road of life.

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One of the pitfalls in a relationship is stagnation, so take time to celebrate holidays. You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to celebrate your love; you can pick your anniversary or any other day, but take time to rekindle your love as often as possible.

However, be careful how you finance because—

2. Money truly is the root of all evil.

When it comes to romance, we think of long walks on the beach, champagne and relaxed lovers curled up by the fireplace. We don’t factor in the cost of the firewood. Those truly seeking love for love’s sake don’t ask for a balance sheet with the first dozen roses.

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The best way to avoid the money pitfall of a relationship is to watch your significant other while dating. No sleuthing required, but mentally fact-check what kind of work he or she does compared with how extravagantly he or she shops. Love has no price tag and a five-star restaurant can be less romantic than a peanut butter and jelly picnic if the couple can’t pay the tab.

Habits that will ultimately destroy your relationship show up throughout the dating process. We cannot help with whom we fall in love in, but we choose to accept that second or third date. If your date shows signs of spending that will create credit debt in a marriage, you may want to back out.

3. Examine motives for jealousy.

Once you make the decision to engage in a meaningful and monogamous relationship, watch out for jealousy on either side, as this pitfall can surely ruin the romance. If you feel jealous of your partner’s friends, associates or activities, don’t ignore it. Carefully consider the root of the jealousy and accept if you have a reason to worry about how your partner spends his or her time.

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If you worry about the choices your partner makes or if it seems like you are not a priority in your significant other’s life, you first need to openly communicate these feelings. Talking is the single best method for keeping a relationship alive.

True, sometimes jealousy is grounded and your partner has an issue worth confronting. When you start your relationship by talking about your dreams and goals, surprises shouldn’t sneak up. If your rocker boyfriend wants to go on tour with his band, this shouldn’t surprise the girl he met after a show.

4. Change together to keep the relationship strong.

Change is life in action. Similar to the stagnation pitfall, failing to change together is a pitfall that can reroute your partnership. Couples who meet young have much ground to cover and many experiences to weather together. These trials and tribulations of life can wear some couples down and bind others together. The difference lies in the couple’s commitment not only to each other but also to the relationship.

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Change involves an expanding family, a need to focus on health issues or physically moving locations, and through any of these a couple can best survive by staying in constant communication.

5. Stave off stress.

Loving someone means loving him or her on off-days, on stressed-out days and on the days when life blesses you. Avoid taking each other for granted and remember, words have power. Avoid the pitfall of stress by saying “I love you” when you leave the house, and kiss often to boost those endorphins as well as emotions.

6. Silence proves a pitfall.

Of all the relationship pitfalls, the one thing in common is the lack of communication. When an issue presents itself be honest with yourself and your partner. Avoid the temptation to be silent or avoid the situation. Take action for the sake of your relationship and talk it out. More often than not, talking will help you share the burden and shed the stress while strengthening your relationship.

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7. Just don’t forget what sparked the relationship.

All relationships are marathons instead of sprints, but only if each partner takes the time to address and understand the journey. The pitfall of forgetting what attracted you to your partner can be best avoided by conscious dedication to the qualities of your partner that made you fall in love. When you follow the suggestions here to celebrate together, stay thrifty, squash jealousy, change together, stave off stress, talk it out and remember what you mean to your loved one your relationship will likely succeed for life.

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Ellen Eldridge

Ellen is a passionate journalist. She shares her everyday life tips at 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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