We are – fortunately or unfortunately – stuck with our bodies and our lives. Each day we wake up and we get to choose how our days are going to be, over and over. And it’s that routine that sometimes gets us down or slows us. However, it is also this very same routine that we can trick or completely break by choosing personal growth.
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” —Abraham Maslow
Personal growth is a pyramid of some sort, where you have to master one area to move up. It starts from your physical health, at the very bottom, moves up to your mental health, social health and up until it reaches the very top; the health of your soul.
And as pyramids go; you start from the bottom and slowly inch your way up. The sturdier your base is, the better your peak. In other words; to get your perfect result, you have to go for it step by step.
So how do we grow? What can we —with our busy lives and hectic schedules – do?
1. Physical Health
At the very bottom of our pyramids, our physical health exists. It is our bodies; temples that have been existing for years, and will continue to do so. These temples get tired and restless, especially if we don’t provide them with the necessary care.
a. Eating Habits:
We are and we become what we eat. When was the last time you ate a healthy meal? For today, try and give your body a rest. Eat a fruit, sneak in an apple after lunch. Or better yet; do not eat fast food. Try something that is baked or grilled. A salad is always a good option when it is healthy. But always remember: this is not punishment. You can still enjoy your favorite food; just give your body something healthy to hold on to. And while we’re at it; drink some water, go ahead. You’ve definitely been ignoring that urge because your water bottle is a little too far.
b. Sleep and Exercise:
There comes a time when your body simply shuts down because of the lack of sleep. Dr. Orfeu Buxton, a professor of biobehavioral health and a researcher in the sleep medicine division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)in Boston, confirmed that eight hours of sleep each night is the ideal amount. In his research, he analyzed data from around 50,000 American adults in order to study sleep patterns. “Sleep has a larger influence on these chronic diseases than diet or exercise,” Buxton said in the news release of his study.
As for exercise; your body needs to move more often than you think. Going to the gym and taking a long walk are ideal. Or, take the stairs today, walk that one block to the supermarket instead of driving. Try to move for 150min per week, at a pace you can still walk to.
2. Mental Health
Ranging from the darkest days to the brightest; your mind is the witness to all emotional perturbations. Making sure you are mentally doing well is a must.
First is to try to be mindful; focus on what is now and don’t live in the past or worry about the future. Start with little efforts; being grateful throughout the day and taking a mental break when needed.
Second is to set a life vision for yourself; think about leaving a good print in life. Try to imagine what would make others always remember you for your kindness and the joy you bring.
Third is changing habits and breaking the limiting beliefs. All it needs is one single choice in the morning. Determine which bad habits you need to break and then take the decision to do so. Do not allow any belief to limit your progress; use your willpower to stick to your decision, no matter how hard it is. You can set up a reward/punishment system for motivation and to hold yourself accountable.
3. Social Health
Aristotle’s “man is a social animal” always rings true. We’re connected to people and places through our daily lives.
Thus, you need to create healthy relationships with others. Mutual respect, humor and trust are crucial factors in having high quality connections. More so, being kind and offering support will draw people towards you. They will find empathy and compassion when needed which will make you more supportive and socially successful.
Add to that, being a curious sociable person will open new doors for you. Not only will you explore new ideas and step out of your comfort bubble, you will also get to meet new people that you would’ve otherwise overlooked.
4. Spiritual Health
At the very top of your pyramid is your soul. The soul encompasses all that came before; the body, the mind and what surrounds both. It is your essence that needs to shine and live in the world.
Meditation, acceptance and affirmation of the self are all means to ensure a better health. It is crucial to look deep inside one’s spirit and take time to heal.
Whenever some unpleasant situation is going on, take a few minutes to determine the problem. Then, try to see if there’s anything that you can do to fix it. If there is, act as needed: change, or improve. If there isn’t, you need to accept that the situation cannot be fixed. Acceptance is not forfeit – it is embracing the fact that nothing can be done and not letting that ruin your day.
We’ve built up the pyramid and made sure our base is strong enough to hold the top, now we have got to make sure it doesn’t shake or break by implementing the right routines.
And in the end it comes down to this; you are at the center of your own universe. You can either take that universe and shrink or —improve your life; loudly, happily and safely.
At COGNIFUL, we place the personal development of every person at the core of our work. Our programs will help you enhance your pyramid from the bottom to the top so that you can unleash your potential in all aspects of your life.