Nicole Pinzon Counseling 110 Ms. Pierucci Balance- The Key to Success “Success means different things, to different people, at different times” but it’s still a goal that each person wants to strive for and reach. Success is a good feeling. It gives each person that reaches it a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Therefore if this feeling is so great, then why is it so difficult to try to achieve? This answer varies from person to person, but a key factor in being able to reach success is through the way people live their lives.
Too often the college student minimizes their true potential by simply not treating their body and life the right way. By meeting the needs of the body, mind, and spirit, a college student can achieve a better attitude, strong motivation, and eventually gratifying success. Too many college students see college not as an institute of higher learning, but as an institute of fun. This can be true to an extent but the extreme is very dangerous. Students attend “party schools” that are known for their crazy throw downs and enter into college thinking the main goal is to experiment with their newfound freedom.
Part of this freedom entails going to parties, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, experimenting with drugs, and staying up till the break of dawn. A college student’s true best friend is coffee and red bull, right? Wrong, very wrong. False myths such as this one lead to dangerous habits that can hinder a students learning experience. Alcohol is one of the most likely drugs to be found on a college campus. When drinking alcohol, one may feel more energized and happy, but alcohol is actually a depressant.
In large quantities alcohol, impairs motor function in the brain. It causes slurred speech and uncontrolled movement, and can cause such events as “blackouts”, or Anterograde Amnesia, in which the person loses their memory before and after an episode of drinking. Long-term affects of alcohol drinking include, liver and digestive system damage, and even brain cell loss and dysfunction. Although alcohol may be the most common it is not the only one. Drugs such as marijuana, Adderall, or Vicodin can be addictive and damage the body.
All these harmful recreations combine to form very harmful side effects such as sleep deprivation, improper nutrition, loss of energy, depression, severe stress, and ultimately nervous breakdowns. Sleep is not an option for successful brain function. It replenishes oxygen to the brain, constructs new energy transmitters and receivers that help with learning, and most importantly leaves the mind refreshed, alert, and ready to learn. Lack of sleep results in: sluggishness, lack of concentration, and a bad attitude. Since attitude affects everything we see, hear, and do, lack of sleep leaves the student ill tempered and cranky.
This induces unnecessary stress on the student, and stress is like water on an iron nail. It erodes the student slowly. Stress brings on feelings such as anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. In his book P. O. W. E. R. Learning, Robert S. Feldman states that during stressful situations, “Our hearts beat faster, our breathing, becomes more rapid and shallow, and we produce more sweat. Our internal organs churn out a variety of hormones. In the long run, these physical responses wear down our immune system, our body’s defense against the disease” (369). In short, an overload of stress affects the body and mind negatively.
This erosion of well-being is harmful to a college student. Personal matters and university level classes make high demands on the life of these students and all steps to prevent failure should be memorized, learned, and practiced. Without proper care of the body and mind a student will greatly hinder their path to success, the end goal. Students must understand how to have a healthy lifestyle in order to achieve the most rewarding experience out of life. However, in order to achieve a rewarding experience of life, a student must understand how their physical health affects their attitude, motivation, and success.
The physical body is a shell that holds the brain and conscious and subconscious thought. The brain then uses this shell to complete tasks that it wants done in day-to-day life. Therefore it doesn’t make sense when students practice habits such as inadequate exercise, insufficient diets, and bad hygiene. If the body is the shell or the temple of the mind, then exercise is the equivalent of praying and showing dedication. Exercise frees the body and makes it stronger in order to carry out the wishes of the mind.
After exercise, the body releases endorphins, a natural painkiller that gives the mind a calm, relaxed feel. Exercise decreases blood pressure, burns fat, and is a direct reliever of stress. It is a comfortably rewarding experience that gives the mind a sense of accomplishment and readiness to take on a large task. The translation from mental stress to physical work gives the feeling of the “athlete’s high”. This is a feeling often expressed by runners after exercising. This good feeling allows the student to accomplish tasks that before seemed daunting or impossible.
Newfound strength will also help accomplish negative events that are inevitable when going to college. Whether the event is staying up late to finish a term paper or running to a class because a morning alarm did not go off, exercise will keep the body and mind fit and in shape. Energy gained from exercising will help give students a newfound motivation to strive for success. The body is the machine that does one’s will and one’s only throughout life. In order for it to carry out the orders it must be handled and treated a healthy way to achieve it’s maximum potential in order to achieve success.
When it comes to the body, mobility should be treated like freedom of the mind. If mobility is freedom of the mind, then a healthy diet is the energy to carry out the commands of the mind. The body needs specific ingredients, or fuel, in order to carry out its day-to-day tasks. The pyramid of a healthy diet includes 5 categories. These include: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat and beans. A variety of these foods are needed in order to give the body the correct balance of energy to burn when physical or mental exertion is needed. Food nutrients generally fall into six classes.
These six classes are (1) carbohydrates, (2) lipids, (3) proteins, (4) vitamins, (5) minerals, and (6) water. Only the first three classes provide calories, an essential energy for the body, that the body transforms uses to make new cells, cure itself, or fight off bacteria and diseases. The first class, grains, provide one of the body’s sources of energy called carbohydrates. The body receives 4 calories to burn for 1 gram of carbohydrates and protein. This is the first energy supply to be used when the body is exerting itself. At least 6 ounces of grains, 2 ? ups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of milk, and 5 ? cups of meat and beans should be eaten per day in order to achieve the proper supply1. These amounts become less as the grains or dairy become more and more condensed. For example, in the grains category 1 ounce is the equivalent of one slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or ? cup of cooked rice or pasta. Therefore it is important to know how many carbohydrates or proteins are being eaten in order to know whether or not the body is using them. If the body does not use these calories then the body stores them for later use.
Our neanderthalic ancestors actually passed down this habit to present day humans. When our ancestors roamed the undeveloped lands of Earth 30,000 years ago, finding food was hard. Hunting required vigorous physical activity such as running and throwing while harvesting food required digging, planting, and migrating with warmer weather. Therefore the body developed a habit of deriving as much energy as it could out of any food eaten in case there wouldn’t be any food available for a long period of time after. Nowadays this practice is not as applicable.
Food such as meat, fruits, and vegetables can simply be bought in a store, not hunted or harvested. Therefore our intake of food has increased, but our bodies have not stopped deriving every calorie it can from eaten food. This means that our intake of food must be managed and controlled for the body’s well being. If not, modern day problems such as obesity and anorexia will continue to increase due to improper nutrition and exercise. This problem is worsened in the case of college students due to their lack of money to spend on a proper diet.
All of these factors such as exercise, availability, and cost should be factored into a personalized diet plan in order to eat the necessary ingredients for proper body function. Once the body has all ingredients, then proper energy will be used to carry out life efficiently. Again, energy is needed in order to achieve success. It helps the body feel capable and apt to perform any task that is asked of it. This increases motivation and attitude by reassuring the mind that it can achieve the goals it wants to achieve, and increasing the chances of reaching that goal through belief of the mind.
However, mobility and energy need one more ingredient to reach full physical capacity: physical organization or better known as hygiene. Hygiene connects the physical with the mental. It is defined as the “condition or practice conducive to the preservation of health as cleanliness” (The New International Webster’s Pocket Reference Library 225). There is a direct link between how one believes they appear and how they feel. During times of worry, a long shower is needed. This can help the body feel clean and new; the mind feels relaxed and fresh.
The worries are seemingly washed away with water. This is also true during times of intense stress. For example, students who are inexperienced with speaking in front of stranger often feel very stressed before a big speech. They get sick to their stomach, or feel “butterflies”, and sweat due to nervousness. If the student has studied then the only thing standing in their way is excessive stress. The cleanliness of the body can combat the mental distress. Before the speech the student can take a cleansing shower or dress in formal and professional clothes.
This reassures their mind that they are (1) relaxed, (2) professional and smart, and (3) confident enough to perform the speech with ease. If a person is assured that they appear together, then they will believe that they are mentally together. This is also true for other emotional times. A comfortable appearance such as sweats and a sweater give the mind a sense of relaxation or normality; while an active appearance such as running shorts and shoes makes the mind feel ready and alert. This is a trick subconsciously used by some, but all should use it.
The body is the main link to the mind. Maximized body potential will increase motivation and attitude, but the true achiever of great things is the mind. The brain is a muscle. Like the body it needs exercise, or stimulation. Each person’s brain is different, just like each persons vision of success. There are many different activities that can be done to increase brain function. Activities such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, math problems, or painting all stimulate the mind and increase brain waves. The main goal of stimulation is to create more synapses in the brain.
These synapses connect signals of electricity that carry information and commands to nerves that move the hand of a person taking a test or the mouth of someone answering a question. The more connections there are the faster the information travels around the brain. These connections can be made better by using certain systems such as mnemonics or the Guaranteed Way to Study outlined in the book by Dr. Ken Burns called All You Really Need To Know. These systems make the brain active and increase the percentage of knowledge the student retains.
This increase in knowledge increases the self-assurance of a college student. Through assurance, the brain becomes a receiving mind, open to the stimuli of the environment. This means that is it very important to always be aware. Observation is the act that gives us knowledge or facts about the world. Through perception, values and beliefs are made about what is observed. The interpretation of what is seen shape the feelings of motivation and achievement of success. Therefore it is very important to always use the five senses to learn about the life around oneself.
The five senses include: hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch. These help us shape our perceptions of the world. The five senses are a way to experience life and develop the values that will shape how situations are interpreted, or the attitude you adopt throughout life. Too often college students give up on their senses in favor of studying constantly or give in to the excess of college life and overdoses on all things fun. Intake of life is very important. We cannot control 10% of what happens, but with awareness and developing a good attitude, the remaining 90% can be controlled.
After a proper attitude is adopted, one can begin to act on the values and beliefs they have developed and exhibit control over life. Control is confidence. It feels comfortable to be in control, but most people do not exhibit control in their lives. Who let’s a person on a diet eat a piece of cake? Or let the college student with a paper due in two days spend hours on a social networking site? This is called executive control. It is the control people exhibit to get a task done or stay loyal to a self-prescribed regiment. Each person has a different quest to learn how to control him or herself.
This task may take years or a lifetime to accomplish. For example, a student who always waits until the last minute will need to develop skills in order to combat the lack of control. People develop their own tricks and some people need to be told how to best handle a stressful situation. Dr. Burns suggests (1) Do it now, (2) Take it in small steps, (3) Do the easy parts first, (4) Tell someone else of your commitment, and (5) Reward yourself. These tips help a student procrastinator to utilize the most out of their time. Control is a must in our society.
It is evident in the laws and the social courtesies that govern social interactions, but each person has three personality types that factor into control: id, ego, and superego. Freud developed a theory in the 1800’s to better understand the way people function. His theory stated that the way we act is governed by our subconscious and conscious values and beliefs. He said that these values and beliefs are stored in three sections of the mind, called the id, ego, and superego. The Id is the primal desire center. It focuses on pleasure seeking and aggression and is developed internally.
The opposite of this is the superego. The superego is the external beliefs and values imposed by the society around the mind. This is composed of rules and proper ways to act. Due to these major conflicting differences in the mind there exists a third category called the ego. The ego is the main negotiator and resolves the imbalance between the two extremes. It is important to understand this theory in order to understand how our mind deals with conflicting interests within. For example, a struggling college student often calls on the negotiating powers of the ego when an important final looms in the future.
The id will want to seek pleasure, which may not always include studying and reviewing material. The student must choose or consolidate the differences between the desires of the id and the rules of the superego, such as succeeding in school. In order to successfully have executive control, the ego must find a balance between the id and the superego. A conflict between one and the other results in defense mechanisms such as anxiety, denial, repression, or sublimation, but the key word to pay attention to is balance.
When balance is achieved the mind, body, and spirit is at it’s maximum potential. Balance is the key to a healthy lifestyle that diminishes the obstacles to success. It comes with knowledge and experience of ones limitations, values, and beliefs. Tom Ventimiglia, a counselor at Palomar College, stated that, “When we are in balance, we tend to manage stress better, make better decisions, and the things we want tend to flow effortlessly to our lives” (Life Balance PowerPoint 12). Balance encompasses all aspects of a healthy lifestyle such as exercise, healthy diet, hygiene, awareness, and control.
Balance utilizes these to make a person mentally and physically organized. This organization leads to a better understanding of oneself and how the body works. In conclusion, life is unstable. Each person possesses quirks or flaws in their personalities that must be understood and conquered. It is most often ourselves that stand in the way. Bob Lonsberry, an established writer and journalist, described this predicament when he said that, “The only enemy to fear is the enemy within, the demon that speaks in your own voice, the assassin in the mirror” (A Various Language).
Many people do not realize that there is an imbalance in their life or they do not pay attention to it and treat it. This ignorance hinders their success by limiting their ability to improve themselves. It may be very hard to utilize the knowledge presented in this paper. It requires a conscious fight against the id and a relaxation of the superego, but the health of the mind and body will help increase the drive to conquer life and reach the goal: success or self-fulfillment. It will be hard. Most people are not driven to succeed, but when the soul is balanced- all that is needed is a will to change.