Checking In With Your Core Needs & Living On Purpose

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Chinese Proverb


These are the core needs identified by behavioural scientist, Dr. Vic Strecher, whose work and writing focuses wholeheartedly on how finding your purpose in life leads to better health and overall happiness.

Big dreams and and long-term goals are wonderful. They give us a sense of purpose. Something to strive toward, like a desirable destination on a map. But, as the old proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And at times, it can feel overwhelming to figure out how to break those big, hairy goals down into smaller, more manageable steps.

Which is why we lit up a little bit when we stumbled upon Dr. Strecher’s work! While it might seem manageable enough to break down a goal into three or four steps, the real work is done in the background. In the seemingly mundane, day to day actions. The concept of SPACE provides a beautiful framework to check in on yourself each day.

How much sleep did you get? How present were you? Did you do any physical activity? Were you able to engage in some form of creativity? Did you nourish your body in a healthy way?

Checking in on and fulfilling these core needs on a day to day basis will lead you toward a life lived on purpose. They will help you feel whole, well-rounded and complete in those in between moments en route to the big, hairy goals and dreams.

Lets dive in a little deeper.

What Is The Benefit Of Better Sleep?

Lack of sufficient sleep is, at times, worn as a badge of honour. But we are here to tell you that it is not in your best interest to try to be a superhero on zero shuteye. Getting enough sleep can boost your immune system, help prevent weight gain, sharpen your brain, improve your mood, steady your blood sugar and make you an overall better athlete.

How Does Presence Improve Your Life?

Have you ever felt like you were just sort of sleeping through life? Or been in one place but your mind seemed to be elsewhere? Similar to exercising, presence is something that must be practiced and will likely never be fully perfected all the time. In practicing presence (also commonly referred to as mindfulness), you are focused and engaged in the present moment, rather than being distracted by past regrets or worries about the future.

Going about your day mindfully can help to alleviate stress, strengthen relationships, and even counteract mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Physical Activity Improves Both Mind & Body

It is no secret to anyone that physical activity is needed in order to maintain physical health. But, what is often overlooked, is how much exercise can improve your overall mental health as well. For sure, if you exercise consistently you will likely reap the benefits of muscle gain and a slimmer waistline, but its about so much more than that.

Exercising regularly contributes to overall mental wellbeing, offering benefits like increased energy, better sleep, and just feeling more relaxed and positive overall. In addition to a general feeling of wellbeing, it can also have an unbelievably positive impact on more serious mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

Creativity Is For Everyone (and its benefits might surprise you)

Creativity is something that many might not necessarily consider a ‘behavioural function’ – but it is! It is not just something for the great artists of the world to enjoy, but rather a practice that can help to unlock pieces of ourselves we may not have even known were there.

Adulthood comes with a lot of ‘should’s.’ Processes, plans, rules and regulations are part of all of our daily lives and it can be easy to get caught up in the rigidity and structure of it all. While children generally have no problem coming up with a creative project on their own, sometimes this piece within us is stifled when we get older, which is why it is such a valuable concept to make time for.

Embarking on a creative project can teach you a lot about yourself. It can offer a level of self awareness. Are you willing to feel silly, try new things and make mistakes? How do you bounce back from them? Are you able to just move on and accept that things don’t always work out the way you expected? Experiencing these feelings and sensations in a creative project can overflow into your day to day life, offering a sense of resiliency.

Creative work is also extremely meditative, and can contribute to that sense of presence we were talking about earlier. Whether you are painting, sculpting, gardening or knitting, these activities offer an opportunity to lose yourself completely in the task at hand.

Eating Fuels Body & Brain

The connection between mood and food was ignored for a long time, but it is pretty common knowledge now that what you eat directly correlates to how you feel both in mind and body. The Harvard Medical School refers to the brain as an expensive car which functions best when it gets only premium fuel.

When it comes to the direct correlation between mood and food, the answer is in serotonin. 95% of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, appetite, mediate moods and inhibit pain – is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. So, it doesn’t just help you digest food, but also basically regulates your emotions.

Without diving too heavily into the science based research, we can say for certain that having a diet focused primarily on vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy can make a world of a difference to both your physical and mental well-being.

Life, particularly in the current state of the world, can be a little overwhelming, but by embracing even just one of the touch points of SPACE on a daily or weekly basis, you will be setting yourself up for a life lived on purpose.

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