The importance of self-development cannot be gainsaid.  Self-development entails, but is not limited to, improving one’s quality of life, achieving more and generally becoming a better version of oneself. Here are ways to get a head start on your personal growth journey.

Spend time outdoors

This is one of the fastest ways to improve both your health and happiness. It simply means spending more time in the sunshine, which has been known to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while encouraging physical activity and buoying mood and mental health.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, spending just 20 minutes outdoors, even if you are not doing any exercise, is enough to improve your wellbeing. It makes you feel more alive since nature is alive with trees, critters and elements.

Invest in your mind

Investing in your mind may be the most profitable investment you will ever make. It not only yields future returns, but also a current pay-off. The kind of effort you put in investing in your mind plays a large role in determining the quality of your life now and in the future. Additionally, learning never stops. You can edify your mind by reading books, listening to podcasts or finding out more about the things that interest you. There is a fountain of creativity within most of us that has never been tapped to its highest potential and investing in your mind is the key that will spark your creativity and alter your worldview.

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Positive thinking is a mental attitude that focuses on thoughts that are beneficial to your physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Develop your skills

This does not always mean investing in higher education. Keep abreast of the latest trends or advancements in your areas of interest by subscribing to publications, reading blogs from experts, following the latest news or joining a class. It could be coding, cooking, painting or even swimming - whichever you fancy. Developing your skills is the key to living to your fullest potential. In this, you need to be curious, which is essential because it makes the process more enjoyable. If you are curious, you will naturally want to know more, dig further and deeper, compared to those who want to develop their skills because they must.

Explore your passion

If you must do one thing to transform your life this year, it should be finding something you are passionate about and pursuing it. You can identify your passion by delving into the peak moments of your life and narrowing down your areas of interest. Once you figure it out, be it community work, dancing or teaching, actively pursue it as it makes life more worthwhile.

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Express love and gratitude

There is definitely more to gratitude than a quick thank you. Gratitude requires effort, but that effort is rewarded in terms of helping you sleep better, making you happier and making others feel appreciated. While expressing love, remember to extend it to strangers as well, for instance, by volunteering.  Being mindful of others’ needs, talking to someone who is different from you or simply smiling at them goes a long way.

Pray or meditate

Meditating or praying promote virtuous ideals and personal character growth. They bring you closer to yourself or closer to the higher power you are praying to. Meditation is one of the leading pastimes in self-reflection and gratitude. Having the ability to draw inward and speculate is a fundamental skill if one wishes to grow and achieve an unlimited number of goals and grow spiritually. According to a study conducted by Columbia University in the US, praying reduces ego and promotes humility. This makes one more concerned for a greater good rather than just themselves.

This article was first published in the March issue of Parents Magazine

The edition that celebrates fathers!
Commentator extraordinaire, Hassan Mwana Wa Ali graces our cover with his wife and son in our June issue. He takes us through his 10-year journey in the media industry, marriage life and his heart’s desire to mentor young people.