How to learn to value yourself: 6 fundamentals

“Each of us can become the athlete (from its etymology, the one who fights) of our own existence,” said freediving champion and coach of many big names in the sport Mike Marić. See how you can become your own champion


Mike Maric won the title of freediving world champion in 2004, as well as three consecutive national titles and two Panhellenic records in two different freediving disciplines. A medical graduate and PhD, he is a professor of forensic identification sciences at the University of Pavia and coach of many big names in Italian sports. Author of the book on learning to value yourself
If I breathe I can (Roi Editions, €19.90), here he shows us the six fundamental elements to become your own champion. Thus difficulties can become a factor of success.

“Each of us can become the athlete (from its etymology, the one who fights) of his own existence. It means training, and not just in an athletic way, for the challenges that life throws at us. The first step you need to take is to recognize who you are, what you really want, and whether your actions and lifestyle match yours desiresto your needs and expectations.

I have identified an exercise to help you understand this very easily and I invite you to do it. Each of us plays different roles during the day: mother, partner, professional and so on. You can assign yourself up to 8 roles. Write them down on a piece of paper: give each one a grade from 0 to 10, where the minimum is a complete failure and the maximum is unsurpassed excellence.

afterward draw a cake divided into 5 circles and divide it into 8 sections. Each section includes a role. Color each role and you’ll have a pretty good idea of ​​who you are. Now analyze them, identify what is missing and focus on the actions you can take to improve the areas where you are weak. Where will you focus in the next 6-12 months? Which one do you want to work on? Do you need to focus on the lowest performers or are they not important? Define your goals and what you need to achieve them.”

“We live with the engine always running: hyper-connected, hyper-activated, stressed, sleep-deprived. However, we must be aware that any vehicle, even a high-performance one like a Ferrari, needs to be cooled and refueled. It is necessary to find gods moments of pause during the day and improve the quality of our sleep. For a good rest you should not never go under six hours, with 25% deep sleep. It is important to take some small precautions before going to sleep: the use of tablets and smartphones, for example, slows down the sleep phase by up to 45 minutes.

To avoid waking up at night don’t drink water after 7pm, reduce the amount of alcohol and salt at dinner and avoid excess sugar. As for recovery during the day, the rule of 273 applies: every 2 hours take a three-minute break, drink a glass of water, take a walk, stretch your legs and back. Every 7 days (Sunday for example) take time for yourself doing pleasant things. Every 3 months take a few days full vacationdisconnecting from everything.”

“We are learning to know his true power breathing only when they face difficulties. Breathing is the main self-control tool available to humans, a formidable ally in regulating our emotions. To use it better, there are specific techniques. An effective way to start is to measure yours HRV (heart rate variability): is the time interval between one heartbeat and another expressed in milliseconds, your cardiac variability, which you can modify by using breathing techniques.

Improving this parameter allows the regulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, useful for keeping anxiety and stress under control. Try the exercise in 3.6.5: mark 3 moments during the day, with a difference of three-four hours between them. Now inhale for five seconds and exhale for five seconds only through the nose so that you have 6 breaths in one minute. Hold this cycle of breathing for 5 minutes.’

“We eat fast and badly: we are overfed but malnourished. Bad food practices prevail: too much salt, too many processed meats and sugary drinks, instead of whole grains, dried fruits and seeds, good fats like omega 3 and vegetable oils. Not only that: stress often causes us to seek comfort in food, and we fill up on junk food.

But there are foods that can help us: eg nuts for example, they are the ideal snack for stress relief because they contain tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, the feel-good hormone. The vein, ideal for breakfast, is rich in fiber, gives us satiety (and calmness) for a long time, avoiding glycemic spikes and hunger. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, contain folic acid, a substance useful for the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that increases concentration and fights depression.”

“Nutritional products are food derivatives capable of promoting longevity, strengthening our defenses and keeping under control the production of certain substances beneficial or harmful to our body. We are often deficient in vitamin D, for example, which is important because it regulates bone density and keeps the immune system healthy. On the contrary, we should not overproduce homocysteine: an amino acid that may promote atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack, cognitive impairment.

Finally we have to watch is the production Free Radicals which destroy our cells, favoring numerous pathologies. Therefore, it is important to prescribe the dose of homocysteine ​​and vitamin D, as well as the assessment of oxidative stress which can be assessed through specific tests such as the BAP test and D-ROMS”.

“As a free diver I searched the abyss for the answers to life’s questions, while as a medical examiner I investigated the subterranean secrets of death. And I got it our power lies in the mind. Our emotions and thoughts are often capable of leading us astray: knowing how to manage our mental activity means realizing a resource we all have at our disposal. How do you do it? Necessary change our habitsbecause they are what shape our character and not the other way around.

According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, there are two types of people: static or dynamic. The former think in a dichotomous way: everything is right or wrong and are very critical: primarily of themselves. The latter are able to adapt and change their views, have a greater level of resilience and manage to emerge stronger from difficulties. Static people actually have a hard time expressing their potential, unlike dynamic people.

How do you get from one state to another? It starts with being aware of your thoughts. Take a piece of paper and answer the following questions: 1) what do you say out loud to yourself when you are stressed? 2) Do these thoughts oppress you or give you energy and determination? 3) If you are under pressure, do you get distracted or concentrate on finding a solution? 4) What do you say or do when others around you are anxious?’

READ ALSO: Interview with Mike Maric

Ask our experts your question

Leave a Comment