We've all likely seen the Latin aphorism, "Nosce Te Ipsum" on the plaque sitting on the bookshelf in our doctor's office - or even hanging over the Oracle's door in "The Matrix" (thanks to Wikipedia for that). Or if not, we've almost certainly heard time and again the English translation, "Know Thyself".

The suggestion to "Know thyself" is certainly a lofty one: a time immemorial line of philosophical and religious inquiry and debate with no definate answers. A personal ponderance that can be crazy-making if we're not careful.

And if we're not typically inclined to pursue this question to any great depths (which many of us aren't), we can - or perhaps should - examine what this means from a more pragmatic and immediate standpoint: "Why do I feel/think/behave as I do on a day to day basis?

Here's a small example: my son had a bowl of a new kind of cereal this morning, and he was absolutely off the wall. My kind, gentle soul of a child turned into a raving lunatic within minutes.

And while this particular brand of cereal is certainly one of the more nutritious on the market, one of its ingredients apparently did not agree with his system. I believe the culprit was artificial colouring (we’ve begun to notice this trend with a variety of foods).

The thing is that this was not very difficult detective work: food in, beast unleashed. Pretty simple.

But as adults, we have so many more layers of complexity to deal with and examine: when you’re feeling a little off during the day, for example, is it because of that conflict with your co-worker? Is it because you have a thousand impossible deadlines to meet? Or is it simply because you had that new type of cereal for breakfast?

The truth is that what affects our emotional and physical balance is multifactoral: lots of different pieces of the puzzle adding up to the whole picture.

But some pieces are bigger than others, and carry more weight on our sense of well-being or dis-ease.

So when you’re doing your detective work, experiment on all levels: have the difficult conversation you need to have. Go to bed early instead of watching that last movie. Learn some better time-management skills. Forego the new cereal tomorrow morning.

In your quest to know thyself better, try to experiment and identify the big pieces of your puzzle. Keep a journal and record your foods, activities, energy levels, and moods – and see what themes arise. You may be surprised at how one simple change can have a domino-effect on the rest of your life!

Author's Bio: 

Chris Hammer, Ph.D. is a certified professional coach and licensed psychologist. He offers leadership and life coaching services, as well as various self-development tools for people who are passionate about reaching higher levels of success and becoming the best they can be.

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