4 Tips for Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

Are you afraid of public speaking? Are your public speaking skills negatively affecting your career? Do you wish you could more comfortably articulate your ideas? For millions of people, the answer to these questions is yes.

People who are good at public speaking are perceived as more confident, competent, and knowledgeable than those who are not. There is often a direct relationship between the public speaking skills and career advancement. Almost all top executives are proficient in public speaking. Did they become executives because they are good at public speaking? Or, did they become good at public speaking because they became executives? In my experience, it is the latter.

Even if you fear public speaking, it is nothing to fret over. After working as a life coach  and hypnotherapist for over  25 years, I can assure you that public speaking is a learned skill, and just about anyone can become a confident speaker.

Public speaking should not be perceived as a threat, but as a great opportunity to develop your communication skills and expand your influence. With mental practice and clear, realistic goals in mind, speaking in public can be an invigorating and satisfying experience.

Here are four points to help develop your public speaking skills.

1. Understand your body

People who fear public speaking typically go through the same physical reactions as those who suffer from panic attacks. Rapid heart beats, shaking limbs, quivering voice, dizziness, nausea, and a sense of faintness are all common reactions among people who are called upon to speak in public. If you are afraid of public speaking, it is likely you have had a bad experience in the past. Your subconscious mind remembers that pain and tries to prevent it from recurring by alerting you with these uncomfortable physical signs.

There are two things you can do to minimize these reactions. First, before the speaking event, use hypnotic suggestion to program your subconscious mind that this is not a threat, but an opportunity to develop your skills. You must prepare your subconscious mind and let it accept the fact that you’re perfectly capable of speaking in public, the way so many other people do.

Second, even after all the mental preparation you can do, you may still experience some physical reactions. When such reactions occur, you should accept them “as is” and not fight with them. This is the technique we teach people who suffer panic attacks. Those physical signs come and go like waves. Trying to stop them creates more panic, and does little to resolve your anxiety. By knowing your body reactions, you can just let the symptoms of anxiety play out while remaining confident that you will be able to calm down and take control. Just remember to breathe calmly as you speak out and you will be fine.

2. Be yourself

One of the most common reasons why many people dislike public speaking is the pressure of unrealistic expectations regarding the actual speech performance. You cannot expect to become someone like Oprah Winfrey or Anthony Robbins in your next speech. You don’t need to be brilliant, witty, or perfect to succeed. In most public speaking scenarios, the objective of the speech is to give your audience valuable information. Prioritize the expression of your ideas over the way you deliver the words.

3. Prepare your conscious and subconscious mind

It is vital to practice giving the speech over and over, committing it firmly to memory so you’re not obviously reciting it or grasping for forgotten words during your speech. Fear of forgetting what you’re supposed to say next is one of the main causes of stage fright.

When I help my clients prepare for a big presentation, I use hypnosis to create a realistic image of the room, audience, and atmosphere so that my clients can practice the speech in the most realistic setting many times before the presentation.

Clients visualize and listen to their ideal speech from beginning to end in their head while feeling confident and in control. By repeating this exercise over and over, it would actually be somewhat difficult for you to feel nervous on a real stage.

4. Keep going back to the stage

Even if your speech turns out not to your satisfaction, don’t beat yourself up. I’ve never had a client who said, “That’s it! I’m never going to speak in public again!” Most likely, they would say “I could have done better. I want to do it again.” Remember that all great speakers have made hundreds of speeches. You are just starting your path to be a good speaker. Embrace it and keep going back to the stage! Public speaking is a skill mastered with experience. The more public speaking experience you gain, the easier it becomes and the more confident you will feel.

Six Consequences of Chronic Insomnia

There are many causes of sleep deprivation; anxiety, depression and stress lead the list. Although an occasional sleepless night will likely not have lasting negative effects, chronic sleep deprivation will often lead to health problems. Insomnia is a symptom of difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep or experiencing non refreshing sleep. If you have trouble maintaining healthy sleeping habits, consider what effects sleep deprivation can have on your health.

  1. Increased Stress Level

  2. Going to bed while stressed will tend to make falling asleep more difficult. Conversely, poor sleeping habits will increase the amount of stress hormones in the body. This is because when the body cannot attain a sufficiently deep sleep, it will have to miss out on the valuable restorative emotional and physical benefits. Equally vital is rapid eye movement sleep (REM), which is associated with processing emotions and relieving stress.

  3. Tendency to Gain Weight

  4. If you have been getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night, you may notice your waistline expanding. This is because the body needs sleep to process liptin, the protein responsible for regulating metabolism and appetite. In addition, the increased stress hormone (Cortisol) also works hard to store fat at the same time. Lack of sleep can slow your metabolism, increase your appetite, and lead to weight gain.

  5. Increased Risk For High Blood Pressure

  6. As mentioned earlier, missing sleep will raise your stress hormone levels. This increase in stress hormones also puts you at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure problems. In fact, studies have shown that insomnia can affect your blood pressure within 24 hours. Heart disease is a serious concern if poor sleeping habits are maintained for an extended period of time.

  7. Weakened Immune System

  8. If you are not getting enough sleep at night, you may be more susceptible to contracting illnesses such as the cold or flu. Sleep deprivation weakens the immune system, making it tougher for your body to fight off viruses and bacteria.

  9. Irritability and Mood Swings

  10. When you are not sufficiently rested, it is much easier to become irritated. You are more likely to have mood swings and snap at other people including family, friends, and co-workers. When you are constantly tired, you lose interest and pay little attention to other people, even to those close to you.

  11. Sleep Deprivation and Brain Function

  12. Sleep deprivation can impair many functions of the brain, including how you think, process information, and make decisions. During the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle of sleep, the brain consolidates and organizes your memories. If you aren’t getting enough REM sleep, this can affect your ability to remember. Studies show that those who don’t get enough sleep have a hard time performing tasks that are no problem when they are getting enough sleep.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You may feel worried or anxious over a personal matter. But if these sleepless nights occur frequently, you should consult with your health care provider, consider asking for professional help, or make changes in your life to support good sleep habits.

Hypnosis is an effective way to help overcome insomnia. Hypnotherapy, along with lifestyle and habit changes, can help re-set your body’s natural sleep mechanism so you will find it easier to get deep, restful sleep.

Ten Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

How do you consistently achieve excellence and still live a balanced, satisfying life in a world of constant demands and distractions? This is a question many would like answered. In today’s world, balancing between your work and personal life can be very challenging. You would like to succeed in every area of your life, such as work, family, health, and personal happiness. But in practice, there isn’t enough time to deal with all the demands of life; at least it seems this way. By applying these tips you will begin to notice positive changes in your work and personal life.

  1. Learn how to manage stress
  2. Situations that create stress are unavoidable. What we can control is how we react to them. The important point is that you can learn to recognize your own responses to stress and develop skills to deal with it. Hypnotherapy, relaxation training, and meditation have been found to be very effective in stress reduction.

  3. Simplify your life
  4. Avoid taking on too many tasks and responsibilities. When overwhelmed, prioritize all your tasks and focus on only your top 3-5 priorities for the day. This will help you from feeling overwhelmed.

  5. Sleep better
  6. Being well rested is key to managing a demanding work load and stressful environment. Lack of good quality sleep affects your ability, focus, and productivity. Slow down. You do not have to and were never designed to operate at the same speed as your computer. Every night, shut off the computer and TV at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Learn to shut off and re-program your mind to end your day on a positive note.

  7. Ask for help
  8. Even when you are clear about your priorities, others can make impossible requests. At times, you have to say “no” to your work and family, and ask them to respect your decision.

  9. Exercise your body
  10. Exercise works as a natural remedy against stress and depression.  Make sure to do some form of exercise that you enjoy on a regular basis. Take care of your body and your body will take care of you.

  11. Plan in advance
  12. Every night, spend 10 minutes to plan the following day. Planning and organization can help avoid unnecessary chaos, drama, and waste of time.

  13. Take breaks
  14. When you are in a stressful work environment, make sure that you take 5 – 10 minute breaks often to relax and reset your mind. A coffee break, a short walk, meditation, or even just a stretch and deep, slow breathing provides valuable stress reduction.

  15. Laugh often
  16. “A day without laughter is like a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

    Maintaining your sense of humor and positive attitude improves your ability to handle stress. Laughter can also help boost the immune system.

  17. Find time for play
  18. Set clear boundaries between the time you spend at work, and the time you devote to yourself and your family. Schedule quality time to be with your family and friends.

  19. Make work-life balance a habit
  20. Achieving your ideal work-life balance is a life-long process. It is constantly changing as your situation changes. Work-life balance is something you can aim to maintain by simply “being aware of it.” A healthy work-life balance is essential to leading a satisfying life.