Tips For Increasing Your Maturity Level

Youthfulness may be the standard when it comes to facelifts and anti-aging skincare but not so much when it comes to maturity level. Being called "mature" is considered, by many, to be a compliment and something to aspire to. Though, as spiritual website points out, there are multiple types of maturity, most people tend to prioritize emotional and mental maturity over physical maturity. In other words, the maturity that matters most is all about what's on the inside and not how many gray hairs you have.


And this doesn't just apply to our own personal growth: In Match's 2022 Singles in America survey, 92% of people said that emotional maturity is important when choosing a romantic partner. Most of us don't only want to be more mature, but we also want to surround ourselves with mature people.

The parts of the brain that control emotions and rationalizing aren't fully developed until around age 25, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Still, maturity –- or immaturity –- can be a choice at any age. If you want to boost your own maturity level, here's where to start.

Check your perspective – and your privilege

According to a 2018 study published in Scientific Reports (via Springer Nature), childhood trauma speeds up maturity in the brain. While experiencing hardship could be one way to fast-track maturity levels, it's one most of us wouldn't voluntarily choose.


It's always a good idea to process trauma lingering from the past. But another helpful way to gain perspective, especially if you aren't already carrying heavy emotional baggage, is to become aware of other people's stories of hardship. Volunteering for a meaningful cause or reading books written by people who lack some of the privileges that you have can help build empathy -– a key characteristic of emotional maturity, according to Healthline.

Whether navigating your own struggles or learning about the struggles of others, flex your maturity muscles by distinguishing between trivial issues (a waiter serving the wrong order, for example) and significant ones. Not every issue requires getting upset or fighting back. Keeping perspective and choosing your battles wisely are telltale signs of a mature mindset.


Respond, don't react

Maturity often comes down to practicing self-control, especially when you're experiencing strong emotions, according to PsychCentral. This can play out in many different ways. It could be choosing to keep difficult commitments and accept delayed, not instant, gratification. Or it could be making decisions based on your core values, not fleeting feelings. It also means avoiding impulsivity, a sign of emotional immaturity, according to WebMD.


But maturity doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't take action. Instead, it's about taking responsive actions, not reactive ones. "Reacting is typically quicker, an immediate impulsive 'action' ... whereas responding is when we've spent time considering what we actually want to do next," Counselor Jo Kierstead told Metro. "Responding is more empowering because it's more deliberate and means we can take ownership of challenging situations, rather than them taking ownership of us."

Mature, responsive actions start with taking a break and checking in with yourself. Consider how your actions will impact yourself –- and others -– in the future before making a move.

Practice gratitude

According to a 2019 study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology (via Taylor & Francis Online), gratitude increases with age. Though the study doesn't conclude exactly why, maturity in general could have something to do with it. Similarly, psychologist Dr. Sherrie Campbell wrote in an article for Entrepreneur, "Mature people live with a natural feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for the expansive range of people, events and circumstances in their lives." She explains that with maturity comes gratitude and generosity toward others.


Anyone can begin practicing gratitude in everyday life, regardless of age or life stage, to raise their maturity level. One way to start is by noticing a few small things each day that bring you pleasure or improve your life in some way. Avoid thinking broadly (for example, practice gratitude for the way the sunlight enters your room each morning, not your home in general), and try to think of something new each time.

Set healthy boundaries

As people mature, they learn what kind of people and behaviors they're willing to tolerate. Even if you're still learning what you need in relationships or which people are worth your time, you can start raising your maturity level now by setting boundaries.


According to Healthline, a sign of maturity is being able to set boundaries that protect you and your well-being. If someone demands more than you can give or disrespects you in some way, you don't passively let it go –- you draw a line.

However, healthy boundaries are never about controlling other people, explains Cleveland Clinic. Instead, boundaries allow you to stay in control of yourself and your peace –- after all, self-control is a hallmark of maturity. Next time someone behaves in a way that hurts you, be clear about what you need in the situation. Making a request in a calm, though assertive, manner might feel uncomfortable at first, but it's an effective way to build maturity in your relationships.


If boundaries are crossed, establish a consequence, says PsychCentral. Consequences usually limit your interaction with the other person or, in some cases, sever your bond with the other person completely.

See maturity as a process, not a destination

Though you can make changes to increase your maturity level over time, there aren't fixed steps that will take you from being "immature" to "mature" –- instead, maturity is an ongoing process. As emotional well-being service Ifeel points out, no one is completely mature. New opportunities for growth are always available.


On that note, American Behavioral Clinics explains that mature people know that they don't know everything. People who are less mature, on the other hand, may argue to prove they're right and that others are wrong. Part of maturity is remaining curious and admitting –- and even embracing –- that you don't have all the answers.

On your maturity journey, approach challenges and conflicts with an open mind. Ask yourself what you can learn from the situation or how you can be better next time. Read self-help books or talk to a therapist who can help you uncover your personal blindspots. Celebrate your progress along the way while also remembering that there's always more to learn and discover. That's true maturity.