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FILLING YOUR PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL TANK



Have you ever experienced a time in your life when, for whatever reason, things just didn’t feel right. You may have been coasting along, with nothing major going wrong, yet you still felt unsettled?

In many cases, that sort of edgy, unsatisfied feeling stems from unmet needs. Yes, as a human, you have needs beyond the obvious ones like food and water. In fact, there are six areas of need in everyone’s life, and I’m going to help you identify those needs in this article. Once you recognize and identify your needs – not wants, actual needs – you’ll be able to fulfil them in a healthy way.

Often times, we try to fill the needs in our lives with unhealthy things. Bad relationships, activities, foods and substances can temporarily fill the void of an unmet need, but they often ensure that we wind up feeling even worse, once their all-too-temporary effects wear off. Things like sex, drugs and alcohol can help to anesthetize the pain of an unmet need, but can have devastating unforeseen consequences after the fact.

So, here’s help and hope. Let’s identify and manage the needs that are the motivation and driving force behind all of our behaviors.

The Six Human Needs:

  • CERTAINTY: This is what provides our ‘Comfort Zone.’ We need to feel safe, stable, protected, and have healthy predictability in our lives.

  • SIGNIFICANCE: We need to feel important, needed, wanted, and unique in our lives We derive tremendous satisfaction from the respect that comes with achievements, large and small.

  • VARIETY: Life without a bit of excitement would be boring, so we need healthy elements of surprise, risk, challenge, and entertainment, as the icing on the cake of our already-secure lives.

  • CONNECTION/LOVE: Love. We all need it, we all blossom in the joy and comfort of the total non-judgmental acceptance that it provides. It’s our personal paradise.

  • GROWTH: Stagnation – staying the same – is what kills our dreams. We always need to feel like we are developing, learning, and growing. If you’re not growing in some way, you’re simply dying. Let that sink in.

  • CONTRIBUTION: What’s your legacy? How will you be remembered? No one makes history by sitting in their living room alone. We leave our mark on the world by interacting with and helping out others. You never know when you might be the one person whose smile brought someone back from the edge.

So how do you fulfil these needs?

  • CERTAINTY: Take a look at what’s working in your life, and do everything that you can to keep those things consistent. Have a schedule and stick to it, make sure your environment is as clean, warm and welcoming as you can make it, maintain contact with people who are important to you. Sometimes just hearing the voice of a dear friend on the phone will bring you into a content state.

  • SIGNIFICANCE: We need to feel important, needed, wanted, and unique in our lives We derive tremendous satisfaction from the respect that comes with achievements, large and small. Recognize when you’ve done something well, and reward yourself for it. Your reward can be something as small as buying a specialty coffee drink or cranking up your tunes and dancing in the living room!

  • VARIETY: Life without a bit of excitement would be boring, so we need healthy elements of surprise, risk, challenge, and entertainment, as the icing on the cake of our already-secure lives. That doesn’t necessarily mean doing things that are dangerous – it can just be something that adds a little spice to life. Cook something for dinner that you’ve never tried before, sing karaoke with your friends, drive to a park that you’ve never been to and take a walk, sign up for a fun class.

  • CONNECTION/LOVE: Love. We all need it, we all blossom in the joy and comfort of the total non-judgmental acceptance that it provides. It’s our personal paradise. The simplest way to get love, is to give love. Reach out. Care about others, without the expectation that they’ll return the favor, and you’ll be surprised at how good you feel. Be the friend that you want to have, and you’ll naturally attract people to you. Help, serve, and lift up others, and you’ll be a love magnet. Pets are helpful in this regard as well. A faithful companion, who can’t wait for you to walk in the door at the end of every day, and who loves you unconditionally, is a great addition to a healthy life. They also tend to make great ‘wingmen’ if you’re in the market for romance!

  • GROWTH: Stagnation – staying the same – is what kills our dreams. We always need to feel like we are developing, learning, and growing. If you’re not growing in some way, you’re simply dying. Let that sink in. How do you stop the stagnation cycle? Challenge yourself to always be learning and growing. Education can come in many forms, even sometimes by just paying attention to what’s going on around you. You can learn new skills, and practice them, watch documentaries about things that fascinate you, attend lectures, and make sure to try something new every week, even if it’s just seeing which coffee shop makes the best sandwiches. The added bonus to always learning is that when you are making conversation, this knowledge gives you something to talk about! How cool is it when someone says, ‘Hey, I learned how to do (fill in the blank) last week, by watching a YouTube video on life hacks!’ Or, ‘Hey, check out this new trick that I taught my dog!’

CONTRIBUTION: What’s your legacy? How will you be remembered? No one makes history by sitting in their living room alone. We leave our mark on the world by interacting with and helping out others. You never know when you might be the one person whose smile brought someone back from the edge. Volunteering is an amazing way to contribute. Think about what things you do well, and find an opportunity to use those skills. If you’re artistic, volunteer to paint sets at your local community theatre. If you have a snow blower, why not clear the sidewalk for your elderly neighbor? Love to read? Volunteer to be a reviewer for your favorite author. Great at sports? Kids’ teams are always on the lookout for assistant coaches. Love pets? Local shelters love volunteers. No matter what you love to do, you can choose to use it to benefit others, and you’ll wind up feeling great about yourself. Sometimes we receive way more than we give when we volunteer, and this is a great way to build community!

Don’t ignore your needs, fill them in healthy ways – your body and soul will appreciate it!

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