A book that changed my life and that I still read yearly is "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. I have incorporated his lessons in this course. The 7th habit - Sharpen the Saw - is very suitable for regulating and keeping your life train progressing. He says:
We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.
Sharpening the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have - You. It means having a balanced way to maintain the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Examples are:
- Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
- Social/Emotional: Making meaningful social connections with others
- Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
- Spiritual: Spending time in nature, meditating, music, and art
Living a balanced life means taking the necessary time to maintain these four areas. It's all up to you. You can maintain yourself through relaxation. Or you can burn yourself out by overdoing everything. We have limited time and cannot focus constantly on all the four areas. You have to balance out your life train maintenance schedule.
Once again, I want to emphasize that all 4 areas of obtaining a balanced life are equally important. It’s about finding the right balance for you. Balancing this out with your evolving self is an ongoing process. If you succeed in balancing these areas out, you create growth and change in your life.
Self-regulation is a big part of the mental aspect of the four dimensions. Learning is imperative to develop self-regulation. Be mindful of investing your time wisely. In life, especially nowadays, we have so many forces that pull our attention away from us. Companies are battling for the consumers' attention.
Awareness is actually the cornerstone of any change you want to accomplish in life. For every life event, change is inherent. You start raising a puppy, start a new relationship, lose someone who’s close to you, or start a new job. All these life events come with change, which can cause stress and anxiety. Awareness is key to understanding the world of change we are immersed in. First, and foremost, you have to understand the process of your change.
After you become aware of the life event and associated stressors you have immersed yourself in, you can start building your Acceptance of these stressors and the implications of this life event. A well-known uttering in society is that every action has its consequences. And no, these consequences are not always positive. Firstly, we should learn to accept the negative implications of our actions. Secondly, it’s important to focus all our attention on matters that we can influence. A quote I like is:
Give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other.
In this quote, the serenity is the acceptance part I’m referring to.
We have all been there, wanting a certain change in our lives. To find a partner or switch jobs. We want it now and because in this society, instant gratification is omnipresent, we expect those things to happen right away. You couldn’t be more wrong. Change often takes time. It takes relentless effort, persistence, and tenacity. A company I worked at had a Tenacity award. Why? Because it's an indicator of performance. Oftentimes, you have to keep going despite several setbacks to achieve a goal. The same counts for all the adversity you’ll encounter dealing with events in your life.
And to finalize the 5 ways to improve self-regulation, I’ll highlight the importance of resilience. Resilience is kind of our mood regulator during a life event. Resilience is helpful while coping with change for three main reasons:
- It helps you to cope with the stress caused by an overwhelming situation and revert you back to a calm state.
- Being resilient helps you maintain peace of mind and a balanced lifestyle during stressful situations.
- Resilience offers you protection from mental and physical health issues due to stress and hence too much cortisol in your body.