What Does Self-Actualization Mean?

Self-Actualization occurs when a person is able to fully take advantage of his or her talents while being mindful of their limitations. Colloquial usage of the term often refers to an enlightened state of maturity that is characterized by achieving goals, accepting one’s self, and self-assessing in a realistic and positive way. Often associated with humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, the “hierarchy of needs” addresses the basic and esoteric needs of humans.

Stages in the hierarchy of needs include:

  • Physiological Needs
  • Safety Needs
  • The Need for Love and Belonging
  • The Need for Esteem
  • Self-Actualization

Only once the most basic human needs have been met can the process of self-actualization begin. Once esteem needs such as self-confidence and self-respect have been met, a person might begin to self-actualize. Achieving self-actualization is not only different for each individual, it is also rare. According to Maslow, only about 1% of the population achieves self-actualization.

Characteristics of Self-Actualization

To be self-actualized individuals, we must reach the apex of human existence. As individuals, we must become everything we’re capable of becoming. Although this realization can occur in numerous ways, self-actualization is usually achieved as the result of sound psychological health and a strong sense of fulfillment. Generally, self-actualized people:

  • Are accepting of themselves and others
  • Maintain meaningful relationships
  • Can exist independently or autonomously
  • Demonstrate the ability to find humor in their own mistakes
  • Are empathetic to the realities of others
  • Exhibit appreciation or childlike wonder regarding the goodness of life
  • Have a grounded sense of purpose and responsibility

Alternative Ways to Achieve Self-Actualization

Not all people strive for self-actualization. Sometimes the influence of institutions and cultures results in differing opinions about what determines a self-actualized state. For example, “person-centered-therapy” suggests that every human being strives for, and has the capacity to fulfill, their own potential. This approach diverges from the “therapist as expert” model and instead moves towards a non-directive, empathic approach intended to motivate the client’s psychological therapy. This form of therapy might appeal to people who have negative or unrealistic expectations or those who find achieving self-actualization to be difficult. However, resolving this sort of self-concept in therapy can potentially help individuals move closer to self-actualization because “person-centered therapy” focuses on the individual’s strengths rather than their shortcomings.

Looking for more information about self-actualization? Contact our team of Chico health professionals at Therapeutic Solutions. We’re here to help you live a healthy and balanced life.


March Is National Sleep Awareness Month! Learn About the Importance of Good Sleep Hygiene.

According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleeping problems, and these issues affect individuals of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. If you are currently experiencing sleep problems, no matter how minor or severe, consider the following: The way you sleep at night can impact the way you feel during the day. So why not maximize both experiences? Below, we look at some of the key benefits to getting a good night’s sleep.

  • Enhanced mental clarity and performance. When you get the right amount of sleep at night, you’ll be better able to function during the day. Studies show that individuals who do not get enough sleep will be less productive in their daily activities; they will generally take longer to complete tasks and will likely make more mistakes throughout the day. Their reaction-time will be slower and they’ll be more likely to misunderstand the situation at hand. Optimal mental clarity and daily performance is best achieved after a solid night of rest.
  • Improved emotional well-being and brain activity. It’s no secret that sleep helps your brain work to its fullest capacity. While you are asleep, your brain has time to prepare for the upcoming events of the day. How? By forming new pathways that allow for learning and memory retention. Without the proper amount of sleep, you may find it difficult to solve problems, make decisions, control your emotions, or even cope with change. Sleep is a critical component to both your mental and emotional well-being, and without the right amount of it, you may quickly notice changes in your mood and behaviors.
  • Better physical health. Sleep plays an important role in your body’s ability to heal and repair, especially when it comes to your heart and blood vessels. Sleep-deficient individuals are more at-risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. Not coincidentally, these are the same individuals who are at increased risk of obesity. As human beings, we need sleep to regulate the way our body controls and reacts to hormones such as insulin. When there’s a sleep deficiency, blood sugar levels can spike and put an individual at an increased risk of serious health issues.

Sleep Better. Feel Better.

How much sleep you need will depend on a number of factors, but general guidelines according to the National Sleep Foundation are as follows:

  • Newborns, 0-3 months: 14-17 hours
  • Infants, 4-11 months: 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers, 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers, 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
  • Children, 6-13 years: 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers, 14-17 years: 8-10 hours
  • Young Adults, 18-25 years: 7-9 hours
  • Adults, 26-64 years: 7-9 hours
  • Seniors, 65+ years: 7-8 hours

March is National Sleep Awareness Month. Make the most of it by monitoring your sleep schedule and looking for ways you can improve your sleep. You mind, body, and soul will thank you for it!

For comprehensive behavioral treatment in Northern California, contact our team of Chico mental health professionals at Therapeutic Solutions. We’re here to help you live life in balance.