A Mind At Ease - How You Can Fulfill Your Basic Human Needs
Searching for peace of mind?
At times I wonder, what do people search for more - Happiness or Peace of Mind?
To me, a mind at ease is ten times more fulfilling then happiness - a fleeting emotion.
Thankfully, gaining peace of mind is not hard, and once you achieved that state, it's much easier to understand happiness and how sustain a fulfilling life.
What creates contentment?
Simply stated - contentment is created when all of our basic needs are met. When we have achieved a state of comfort, lack of fear and abundance in resources and opportunities, we are content. We are free to enjoy all the opportunities for new experiences that come our way, without reservations or limitations.
The 6 Basic Human Needs
Obviously, you most basic needs are for food, water, shelter, sunlight, exercise, sanitation and oxygen. Though for most, those are easy enough to meet. Though even when those needs are met, most people are still not content and they still lack that fulfilling peace of mind they were seeking in the first place.
The reason for this is because even though their basic physical needs were met, they still have some work to do on meeting their basic psychological human needs. Now, you can go my Maslow's Hierarchy of Human needs (which I've posted a video of down below), which is very thorough, though I prefer the Tony Robbins/Cloe Madanes version, which is shorter, easy to understand and more concise.
The Six Basic Psychological Human Needs
- Certainty - The need to feel certain that you are safe, loved and protected
- Uncertainty/Variety - The need to experience, adventure and be surprised
- Significance - The need to feel special, important, necessary and worthy of love
- Connection & Love - The need to feel connected with yourself and others
- Growth - The need to grow, change and become greater then you currently are
- Contribution - The need to give back, to have a greater purpose and to understand things which are greater than you are
The first four needs are the ones that most people get stuck on. It's not that it's hard to fulfill your needs for certainty, variety, connection and significance, it's just an issue with not being consciously aware that you have these needs, or being aware of how you are currently fulfilling them. And trust me, you are always fulfilling your needs, but these needs are necessary to all human beings, and you will meet them in whatever way you can - including negative ways if positive ones are less available or appear to be fearful avenues.
The last two needs - growth and contribution - are considered spiritual needs, that must also be meet, but which often get neglected in the process of trying to fulfilling your first for needs, especially if they are being filled in negative ways.
Everybody is driven primarily by one or two of these needs, and though the top needs can vary throughout our lives, we will always favor one or two needs over the others.
Meeting your needs
So, now that you are aware of your basic psychological needs, you have already come one step closer to understanding how to achieve self satisfaction and peace of mind. The next step, is to look around, examine yourself and your life, and discover what it is that you do to fulfill your needs currently. Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes me feel certain about the direction of my life?
- What activities, behaviors, people or habits provide me with a sense of certainty?
- How often do I go out spontaneously, just for the pleasure of it?
- How many places have I traveled to?
- Do I feel like I have enough variety, choices and opportunities in my life?
- What skills or experiences do I have that make me feel special and important?
- What problems do I have that connect me to a larger group and make me feel special (example: smoking, drinking, depression, parenting, activism, etc..)
- Are there people in my life that accept and encourage me to be who I am?
- Do I feel worthy of being loved by myself and others in my life?
- What behaviors, attitudes or emotions make me feel like "me"?
- How do I know when I'm being true to who I am?
- What behaviors do I receive from others that show me they love me unconditionally?
- Do I feel I am able to fully and unconditionally love someone in my life?
- In what ways do I continue my education?
- Do I feel like my career is taking me places?
- Do I feel like my partner is growing with me or apart from me?
- How do I give back to others in my life and community?
Take the time to really consider these questions and then right down your answers. You can copy and paste the list into a notepad and work from there if that's easier, but make sure you right them down and not just think about them now and forget about them later. Very important they are.
Changing bad habits to good ones
Once you taken a few moments to answer the questions above, you should have a good idea of how you are meeting all your needs. Take the time to think about any other ways you meet your six basic needs, and write them down as well, then ask yourself, "Am I meeting all my needs in positive ways?"
If you are a smoker, then you are meeting your needs for significance, connection, certainty and variety in NEGATIVE ways. Whereas if you prefer to exercise, that meets all the same needs in positive ways.
Take some time to think about the different ways in which you can meet your needs, and ask yourself if any of those alternative methods could replace any negative forms you are currently using to meet your needs.
Once you've replaced as many negative habits with positive ones, you'll find yourself automatically more peaceful and content. Even now you are already feeling a little better, aren't you?
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