Everyone has a bad day now and then. On these days it seems as if everything is sad and meaningless. What you need to remember is that it’s okay to feel sad, but that doesn’t mean that all hope should be lost. It’s a large world out there, and nothing is more beautiful than the overwhelming nature of our earth and its sky. Have a look at these beautiful photos of our breathtaking home planet. Maybe problems aren’t so big after all.
A Sunset over Mountains
The world is abundant with things that can be seen, heard, touched and tasted, but it is also rich in things that can only be felt in the heart.
Feeling blue? When blue is this spectacular, maybe it’s not such a bad thing,
The maginificent Polar Light
The smallest actions give way to some of the biggest reactions. It’s the little things that matter.
Light breaks even through the cloudiest Sky
Have you ever seen the sky looking like this? Well keep looking, something spectacular could be just within your reach.
A Sun Red as Blood
It is easy to feel overwhelmed in such a large, complex world, but the reward is worth the struggle.
There is always Light
Don’t let dark thoughts cloud your vision. Look beyond and you might find something beautiful.
Blue and Red
It’s okay to feel sad now and then. Life wouldn’t be worthwhile without a challenge.
The Endlessness of Nature
Cast your troubles towards the sky, it may leave beauty and peace below.
The Silhouettes of the Mountains
Tranquility is an underrated concept. Try being alone every once in a while, clear your thoughts.
A Dark Forest is full of Wonder
Keep your head up. Sometimes what is above you holds much more happiness than what is below.
The Tranquility of calm Water
Sometimes, a little patience, agitation and confusion can give way to clarity.
It’s A Colourful World
If you’re looking for a solution to your problems, try not look so desperately, you might miss it along the way.
The Beautiful Sea
Things in life happen for a reason. Maybe it’s better to leave life just the way it is.
There’s no Rainbow without Rain
At the end of every storm, we can find one of these. Even the ugliest events can give way to the most magnificent rewards.
Life’s problems are endless, but so are the possibilities. Maybe that’s another way to look at things.
A Colourful Masterpiece
There are no limits on your horizon. No matter who you are, how old you are or where you are, you are capable of anything if you give yourself the chance.
In Clear Water we see the Sky
Take the time to explore. Like a hidden shape in the clouds, you’ll never know what you’ll find.
Nature is the most talented Artist
It is important to remember that nothing worthwhile comes easy, so make sure you go the distance.
Isn’t the Earth simply Amazing?
Take the time to reflect on your day, count your blessings, the world is big and full of surprises. Maybe you missed something.
Even the coldest of Places know Hope
There is inspiration all around you, everywhere in this huge, magnificent world.
Take a Walk through Green Nature
Good things come when they’re least expected, remember never to lose faith.
A Bird enjoying the Sunset
It’s easy to feel small and alone in such a big, scary world, but it just means that you have more space to grow.
There are no Colours without Light
Privilege without responsibility always equals corruption. As always, nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
Even Clouds Are Beautiful
Things can sometimes move a little too fast, and it can be suffocating. Nothing beats the feeling of breaking free. It just takes a bit of courage.
We find all sorts of Shapes in our beautiful World
The secret to youth and prosperity is the unrelenting desire to learn. Whenever you’re feeling down, go find out something you’ve never known before. It might help to remind you how little of this world you’ve experienced.
The Silhouettes of Trees
Sadness is temporary, as is every emotion. So don’t worry, the sun will come out again eventually.
Only through Darkness do we appreciate Light
Within you is a soul bursting with ambition. The world is your oyster, so it’s never too late to do something amazing.
We live at the most Amazing Place
Every town, city, country and continent on this world shares the same sky. Imagine how big that makes it.
Above the Clouds
The world is infinite, and stretches beyond the reach of your imagination. You are one tiny stitch in the fabric of life, but you are here for a purpose. Don’t let sadness stop you and make your life worthwhile.
Beauty is Everywhere
Mahatma Gandhi once said:
“The world is big enough to satisfy everyone’s needs, but will always be too small to satisfy everyone’s greed.”
So remember, it’s a large world for reasons that matter.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: