Saturday, 18 September 2021

How To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Speaking in public brings everyone the heebie jeebies. Nearly 75% of people suffer from speech anxiety, or glossophobia. It’s nerve-wracking, sweat-breaking, butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of panic. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be in front of an audience of a hundred people; it could be that you’re pitching an idea to three or four of your colleagues at a team meeting at work.


The reason public speaking terrifies us all is that we worry about what people will think of us which makes our brains freeze in panic. Panic, in turn, shuts off the rational part of our brain (the frontal lobe) responsible for our thinking, organizing and planning, and word production. Then chaos ensues.


But glossophobia can be conquered. Public speaking doesn’t have to be frightening. It could actually be a lot fun where you take part in a wonderful experience, meet new people and learn new things. To make sure you - and your listeners - enjoy your next public speaking event, try these simple tips.


1.     Know your audience


Before preparing your speech, there are 2 things you have to know: what you’ll be talking about and who your audience is. The first one goes without saying. It’s the second one that needs a bit of research. You know to need to find out the following about who’s going to be listening to what you have to say:


  • number of attendees
  • level of expertise
  • age range


Once you know this, you can modify your speech accordingly. You’ll appear friendly and relaxed which is a sure way to reduce your apprehension and make your speech a success. You’re giving them a reason to listen to you by providing information they want and need.


2.     Prepare, prepare, prepare


Make your material most effective by using anecdotes, humor and a personal touch. Start with an attention-grabbing introduction and end with a compelling finish. Refrain from reading too much because it limits eye contact which is crucial if you want to keep your audience engaged and focused on your message. A good idea would be to draw up an outline or cue cards you can quickly look at to jog your memory and bring you back on track.


While it’s important to be thoroughly prepared, it’s also a great tactic to pay attention to your audience and gauge their reactions to your speech and adapt accordingly. Having that flexibility in your demeanor means your positive energy and enthusiasm will flow through to your audience and help them enjoy your topic.


3.     Use audiovisuals wisely


While they may seem like a nice touch, they can also break your audience’s attention. Choose your audiovisuals so they serve a direct purpose, like clarifying your message and maintaining your audience’s attention.


4.     Change your outlook


Instead of going out in front of everyone worrying about how you’ll do and how they’ll react in a negative light, think of it as being given a chance to talk about something you enjoy. Also, get comfortable with being quiet in front of a group of people. 


You don’t have to talk the entire time; you get a few seconds here and there to look out at your audience, catch your breath and gauge their reactions. Use the silence to add to your speech, not take away from it.


5.     Be confident in your own skin


First off, as much as we hate to admit it, your appearance is what you’ll be judged on in those first few seconds. So, choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and self-assured. You can also get your hair done and a manicure to boost your confidence level because when you like what you see, you’ll feel great and that will trickle down to your listeners. 


Once your speech start, there are things like smiling, eye-contact, relaxed body language, a powerful, friendly voice, that keep up that confidence level and keep your audience wanting to hear you until the end.


No one in the audience expects perfection. Just putting in the time to practice and go over your speech goes a long way in terms of calming your nerves, boosting your presentation skills and bolstering your confidence.


Top 10 Uses for Essential Oils

There are many uses for essential oils that can greatly benefit your health. We’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 uses for essential oils. 


If you’re new to using essential oils, you might want to do some research before you dive in. There are many different ways to get the health benefits out of essential oils and some methods work better than others.


1)    Ease Anxiety


There are many essential oils that can help to treat anxiety disorders and even soothe anxiety as it crops up. The two most useful methods for these benefits are infusing a bubble bath with a few drops of an essential oil like lavender or diffusing them into a small room, breathing deeply.


2)    Treat Migraines 


Essential oils can be used to treat migraines, relieving the harsh pain that plagues migraine sufferers frequently. Peppermint oil, lavender oil, and a few others can all help to relieve stubborn migraine pain.


3)    Treat Inflammation


Some essential oils work great to ease and minimize inflammation. Typically, it works best when applied via a topical ointment or lotion to the inflamed area. This can help to minimize and ease inflammation, which might also result in less pain.


4)    Treat Insomnia


Like a soothing glass of warm milk, certain essential oils can help to induce or encourage sleep, helping those struggling with insomnia. The best method to reap these benefits is by diffusing the oils and breathing in deeply, allowing the aromatherapy to do its thing.


5)    Lessen Stress


Essential oils can help to lessen the effects of stress. By breathing the oils in deeply through the practice of aromatherapy, you’re absorbing them quickly, letting the relaxing effect soothe away your stress.


6)    Ease Joint Pain


Many essential oils can provide relief from pain when applied topically to the join with an infused ointment or lotion. This is a good natural alternative to the harsh pain medications those with chronic joint pain typically rely on.


7)    Treat Arthritis Pain


Arthritis is a huge problem for many people and treating the pain without narcotics is rare. Essential oils applied topically to the affected area can provide relief from arthritis pain naturally, without the need for narcotics. This will help to ease the pain and decrease the inflammation.


8)    Improve Focus


Some essential oils help to improve your focus. The best way to get the most benefit out of these essential oils is to breathe deeply while diffusing them. For the best results, do this while doing the task you’re trying to focus better on.


9)    Treat Skin Irritation


Many essential oils will treat a range of skin conditions, from acne to irritation and dryness. By applying them topically to the affected areas, you can reduce irritation and inflammation, decrease acne, and even stop itching on dry or irritated skin.


10) Improved Immune Health


You can use many essential oils to promote your immune system health. Applied topically, absorbed through aromatherapy practices, or consumed in a beverage or food, essential oils can help ensure your immune system is functioning at its best. 


There are many uses for essential oils to help improve your life, mood, health, sleep, etc. Essential oils are a natural, affordable, and effective alternative to many harsh drugs that most people rely on as the sole treatments for these conditions. 


If you’re new to essential oils, we recommend you research them fully before getting started. There are proper ways to go about getting the most out of your essential oils. Certain benefits will be more pronounced and effective when accessed a specific way such as diffusing, ingesting, or topically. 


5 Key Reasons You Should Start Meditating Today

Meditating has become increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason! This relaxing practice helps you to get in touch with your inner self and find your focus to help you develop a sense of balance in your life. 


Read on to see the key reasons you should try meditation today.


1)    It helps you to relax


One of the most obvious benefits of meditating is relaxation. Meditation forces you to quiet your mind, forget your stress, and truly be present in the moment. This helps to encourage relaxation.


The less you focus on what’s going to happen in the future, what happened in the past, and/or your stress and the more you focus on your meditation practices, the calmer you’ll feel. 


Meditation has been used for centuries to reduce stress and stimulate relaxation. It works so well as a relaxer that it has even been known to slow heart rates.


2)    It helps improve and encourage self-reflection and awareness


Being self-aware is a crucial quality to success, humility, and being an overall good person. Meditation encourages you to reflect inwardly and focus on your inner-self. This encourages you to reflect on your actions and yourself as a person. 


This act will help to improve your self-awareness, which is a highly sought-after trait. Self-awareness allows you to correct any errors you make or fix character flaws you may have. It helps you to be a better employee, boss, friend, and an all-around better person.


3)    Meditation can improve your focus


Meditation can improve your focus because it forces you to practice it each and every time you meditate. True meditation requires great focus and control; it forces you to spend a designated amount of time in the absolute present in self-reflection and true focus.


Improving your focus can also help to improve your productivity, which will make you a better employee. You’ll be able to focus on your work better, completing it more accurately and more quickly. 


4)    It can help you find your balance


The more you meditate, the better balance you can achieve in your life. This time dedicated to self-reflection allows you to reach a level of understanding and awareness that helps you to be a better and more understanding person.


This balance helps you to be a better person because it enables you to be more aware of a problem or flaw in your character that you need to address. Meditation can help you reach a balance of self-awareness, self-respect, humility, confidence, and peace/relaxation.


5)    It can help you be mindful of those around you


Because meditation can help you improve your self-awareness and observance, it can also help you be more aware of those around you and their feelings. You'll start to notice when your friends feel uncomfortable or are in pain.


You'll become better at reading the general mood and energy of the room. You'll be better able to adjust yourself to match that level and better accommodate those around you.


Meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years. More and more people are catching on to its healing properties. It can help you to relax, refocus your mind, get in touch with your inner-self, and find your balance. 


The more you meditate, the more in tune with yourself and your body you will feel. This will help you to better understand yourself and others around you. It will boost your awareness and help you to be more aware of those around you. Most importantly, it will help you more quickly realize when something is off or wrong.

How Sleep can Prevent Chronic Illnesses

We’ve all suffered through days of headache, fatigue and irritability after a bad night’s sleep for whatever reason. Sure, you can make up for it with a power nap or by sleeping it off the following night. But when insufficient sleep becomes the norm and you’re not getting anywhere from 7 - 9 hours of quality sleep each night, then problems start developing. 


Physical, emotional and mental long-term, chronic illnesses start to take hold because of your unhealthy sleeping patterns. One of the most surprising diseases linked to insufficient sleep is obesity. Research has shown that those who habitually sleep 6 hours or less have, on average, a higher BMI (body mass index) than those who get sufficient sleep. It’s also connected with lack of exercise – because you’re too tired to move - and overeating.


The science behind this is that during sleep, our bodies secrete a number of hormones associated with appetite control, metabolism and glucose conversion. When our bodies don’t get enough sleep, an imbalance of these hormones - and others - occurs. 


Two hormones crucial for suppressing and stimulating appetite, leptin and ghrelin respectively, are released either not enough or too much which may be the reason behind those cravings for sweet, sugary snacks to satisfy the need for a quick energy boost.


But the reality is, these types of snacks only give you a boost for several minutes, then quickly crash your blood sugar levels and you’re left even more deflated and fatigued than before.


Another example of a hormone directly affected by insufficient sleep is insulin which is the hormone responsible for the way glucose is transformed into energy, and weight gain. When insulin levels are not controlled as they should be, our bodies process glucose more slowly, resulting in a higher risk of type-2 diabetes.


Cortisol (the stress hormone) is also another hormone that is released in excess when you suffer from poor sleep. This results in mood swings and anxiety. High levels of stress also result in elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as an increased risk of inflammation. 


This directly affects your immune system, leaving you susceptible to all kinds of illnesses, from the typical cold or flu to microbial infections to chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and strokes.


Moreover, mental disorders are brought on by poor sleep. Depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, such as memory loss and dementia, are all symptoms of insufficient sleep. Studies have shown that those who get less than 6 hours of sleep reported less sociability and confidence, and increased levels of anger, hopelessness and despair. It’s also been reported to have a negative effect on judgment and alertness.


While most of these symptoms can eliminated once sleep patterns return to normal, the problem is in the fact that most people suffering from poor sleep fail to report it to their doctors which makes it go unnoticed and untreated for longer.


The good news is you can turn things around for the better even if you’ve suffered from poor sleep for years. Make a point of creating a peaceful, sleep-inducing environment at least half an hour before going to bed and make it a nightly habit. 


Soon enough, you’ll start going to bed when you’re tired and you’ll be able to wake up fresh and relaxed without the need of an incessant alarm clock going off for an hour before you’re finally able to get up. While it may take you several weeks, it’ll be worth it once you start feeling the positive effects a good night’s sleep can have on your health.

5 Ways To Add More Balance To Your Life

We need balance in order to live a happy and healthy life; everything in this world comes down to finding the proper balance. Whether it’s in work life and home life, eating healthy and eating what makes you happy, doing stuff for others without neglecting yourself, etc., everything works better and goes more smoothly when you’ve got a balance. 


Achieving said balance isn’t the easiest thing, but we’ve come up with five ways to introduce more balance into your life and get things going in the right direction. 


1)    Prioritize


Prioritizing and scheduling can be a great practice to start introducing more of a sense of balance to your life. We all have busy lives and long to-do lists; the only way we’ll ever get everything done and find balance in our lives is by prioritizing what needs to be done when and scheduling our days. 


The tricky part to this is deciding just what is important; in some cases, your work may take priority, but in others family or friends may take priority over your work on your to-do list. Only you can decide what’s important and what should be prioritized in your schedule when.


2)    Set Goals


Setting both long-term and short-term goals can prove to be incredibly helpful in achieving a balance in your life. It helps you keep your sights on what you want and what’s important, avoiding too much straying from your path. The short-term goals help you to track your progress as you work to achieve your long-term goals, and help you stay on track. 


3)    Be specific in your schedule and review it


If, in order to achieve more balance, your goals were to, say, spend more time watching cooking shows, you’re more likely to complete it by saying “watch The Barefoot Contessa and Iron Chef every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 5,” then if you say “watch cooking shows at least twice a week.” Don’t set yourself up for failure. 


Once you’ve completed your schedule and are sure that you’re specific in the goals you want to achieve and the steps necessary to get there, you should review your schedule. This is an incredibly important step allowing you to reflect on your goals and priorities to ensure everything is as you need it.


4)    Find an accountability buddy


An accountabilibuddy is someone that holds you accountable for the goals you’ve made, the priorities you’ve set, and the things you’ve said you’ve wanted to do and accomplish. It’s easier to find balance and stick to your goals and schedule when you have someone to be accountable to that’s is also accountable to you. 


Your relationship with your accountabilibuddy should be interactive and mutual. If you’re not pulling your weight or your carrying more than your load, you could be hurting yourself more than you’re helping.


5)    Always keep the process in mind


Life isn’t just about what you achieve and what you get, it’s about the journey, the process. In order to achieve a proper balance, you need to always keep in mind that it’s more the process than the potential achievement. 


For example, you can make your goal to win a Nobel prize in literature, or you can make it to be paid to write for your career. The latter is a more achievable goal that focuses on the process and journey more than the achievement or prize at the end.


Everyone needs balance in order to live a happy and healthy life. Finding the proper balance in your life can be difficult, but it’s not impossible and it’s well worth the effort. We hope this article has helped to point you on the right path towards a healthy balance in your life.

4 Ways to Live a Healthier Life

There are multiple things we can do to improve the quality of our life, and most of it is rooted in taking better care of our health. It’s important to note that what constitutes a healthier lifestyle can mean different things to different people. After all, we each have a different foundation from which we are building. However, no matter your foundation, the end goal is generally the same. 


This article will touch on each of these areas to provide you with four ways to live a healthier life. 

What Does it Mean to Live a Healthier Life?

A healthy life is one that contributes to your overall health and well-being. Although diet and exercise play a role in your state of health, they are not the sole factors of your health. Multiple factors may constitute what it means to lead a healthy life including but not limited to our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health. 


If you are not already invested in a regular exercise regimen, it’s time to create a ritual that will enable you to get active as soon as possible. Exercise offers you a wealth of advantages mentally and physically that can significantly improve your quality of life. 

You should target a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity each week (WebMD). Not a fan of spending time in the gym? There are dozens of ways to boost your exercise game ranging from taking a walk in the park to taking the stairs to taking a dip in the pool. 

Managing Stress

Make it your mission this year to become better at managing your stress levels. Stress can prove harmful to your health if left unchecked for too long and can cause a variety of problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. 


Stress can also trigger feelings of anxiety and depression, leaving us vulnerable to mood swings or even self-harm. 


There are dozens of actions you can take to manage your stress including but not limited to:


·      Exercise

·      Mindful Meditation

·      Learn to say ‘No’ and Set Limits

·      Get social support from family and friends

·      Practice self-care

·      Make time for yourself

·      Enjoy your favorite hobby (i.e., reading, music, travel, watching a movie)

Take Care of Your Mental Health

It is only natural to minimize the importance of your mental health and wellness if you have never experienced an episode of mental illness. However, we should make mental wellness a priority as it impacts so many corners of our lives. Without it, we cannot function optimally at work, at home or be a reliable source for even ourselves. Tips for improving your mental health includes:

·      Fitness

·      Getting sleep

·      Participating in a hobby

·      Getting out and socializing with others

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Falling off the wagon of healthy eating is easy. Just remember to pick yourself up and dust your bottom off and get back on track. The food you eat can play a significant role in your health and how you feel. Your diet should contain foods that provide your body with the best blend of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. 


Watch your soda, alcohol and sugar intake as these things can be a bit toxic to the body. Boost your intake of water, ensuring that your body is always well-hydrated.


These are just four ways to live a healthier life. Your path to health and wellness may look a bit different than those around you, but it does not make the journey any less vital. Remember to practice self-care, avoiding those things and people who may try to compel you to sacrifice your personal needs.