You may have come across people trying all types of new things and claiming they are doing it for personal growth, but have you ever wondered what it is?
Personal growth refers to the steps you take as an individual to recognize and reach your full potential. It allows people to work on themselves and build self-awareness, develop self-esteem, discover new skills, and gain more happiness and maturity.
5 Distinct Areas of Personal Growth
Before embarking on the journey of personal growth, it is essential to understand it as a process comprising five distinct areas. Each area categorically emphasizes specific objectives and equally contributes to the overall development of an individual.
1. Physical growth
The human body is a delicate arrangement of nerves, tissues, and muscles that are inter-connected and affected by every action you take. For example, bad eating habits or uneven sleeping patterns can cause drowsiness, mood fluctuations, or eating disorders.
When the body is not adequately taken care of, it signals to tell you to take action. Here’s what you can do to achieve optimum physical growth:
- Get a good night’s sleep (Preferably 8 hours)
- Maintain your Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Incorporate healthy foods (greens, a good combination of proteins and carbs) into your meals
- Merge regular and light exercise into your daily routine
It is important to realize that your body is directly connected to your brain. A study by the Journal of Preventive Medicine study proved that inactive adults are twice more likely to suffer from cognitive decline than active adults. Therefore, being physically active and healthy is imperative to healthy brain functioning.
2. Mental growth
Our brain makes up the ultimate control system in our bodies, communicating how each body part should function. Hence, working on mental or psychological growth is an integral part of personal development.
Developing or growing psychologically is different from physical growth. It involves exposing yourself to challenges and stimulating the brain. This is done when you try to solve a difficult puzzle, read academically challenging books, solve questions, or learn a new skill.
When you purposely engage in activities that require you to think deeply, it accelerates brain function allowing for mental growth. This enables you to become more open to new ideas, gain knowledge, and become a more well-rounded person.
Mental growth also factors in developing a mind free of stress and anxiety. An average of more than 43 million Americans suffer from mental illnesses. Once individuals work on mental growth, engaging in activities that will fortify mental health gives them a better chance of fighting mental disorders.
3. Emotional growth
Expressing emotions sometimes acts as an obstacle to achieving optimal personal growth. Hence, the journey of personal development is incomplete without knowing how to navigate human emotions.
Stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and loneliness are some emotions that can cause catastrophic consequences if they keep building up over time. As an individual, you must vent and healthily express your feelings.
1 out of 5 US adults struggles with mental illnesses each year. This is a result of unhealthy emotions affecting wellbeing. The following measures can improve emotional health and develop emotional growth:
- Talking to a therapist/guidance counselor about your feelings or emotions
- Keep a journal at all times to write down what you are feeling. Keeping track of your emotions by writing them down helps you vent them out.
- Reading good self-help books to motivate and educate yourself.
- Confiding in people you trust or are close to.
4. Social growth
Human beings are social animals. Interacting with others and coexisting peacefully is an absolute need for everyone and a crucial part of personal development. One must possess the skills to make contacts, interact holistically, and communicate their ideas to other people with ease and efficiency.
Effective communication can improve productivity in the workplace and allow individuals to grow and become a better version of themselves. It can foster confidence and improve relations, allowing you to connect with others and grow by learning.
Social growth also involves understanding body language and recognizing the importance of both verbal and non-verbal communication. A researcher found that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% just words. Hence, mastering the art of communication is imperative to furthering social growth.
5. Spiritual growth
Before diving into the aspect of spiritual growth, it is necessary to recognize the difference between spirituality and religiosity. A person does not have to be religious to be spiritual. Even an atheist person can experience a high level of spiritual growth.
This area includes exploring yourself as a person, connecting with the world, and finding your true purpose. Developing spirituality can be a completely different experience for everyone. Some might prefer meditation or breathing exercises, while others may take a more religious route.
Manifesting your values and working on yourself is a core part of developing spirituality, ultimately contributing to personal development.
While steering through the process of personal growth, one must realize that all five phases are interconnected. Having specific goals in mind and categorizing them into the area you need to work on will prove to be more efficient and rewarding in your journey of personal growth.
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