We see countless ads for healthy living every day and often begin to equate attractiveness with health, which isn’t always the case.
You traded all those carbs for cauliflower, started that Zumba class, and now your selfies are looking better than ever . . . but are you truly taking proper care of yourself?
Let’s go a little deeper than the gym or the cosmetics can reach . . . Do you know what your basic emotional needs are? Do you know what happens when those needs aren’t being met?
We don’t consider it a human frailty to need water, food, or shelter, yet many believe that tending to our mental and emotional health makes us weak. The reality is . . . to go about your days caring for your outward appearance and ignoring your inner needs could lead to bouts of anxiety or depression that no amount of “talking it out” will relieve.
Recognizing that we live in a society that often confuses wants and needs (and with big changes occurring in my life), I had to take a closer look at what it means to be emotionally healthy. I studied the nine basic emotional needs that require regular maintenance for our inner fulfillment and what simple actions we can take to boost our well-being.
1-Security—We need to feel safe. Secure in both mind and body . . . without any undue stressors.
Action step—take active measures to remove anything in your life that is upsetting or threatens your sense of safety. (I had to stop watching the news for this exact reason)
2-Autonomy—We need to feel steady on our own two feet and in charge of our own destiny.
Action step—Make life decisions of your own volition without allowing any outside pressure to supersede your authority. (You are the author of your life story, control the narrative)
3-Attention—To garner the attention of friends and family and to exchange affection with those we care about is important to our self-esteem.
Action step—put aside time to hang out with your peeps either in person or by phone (no texting, actually seeing a person’s face while interacting) to stay in touch and build meaningful connections.
4-Acceptance and Emotional Connection—Friendship, love, and intimacy are important for us to feel emotionally fulfilled. Building and maintaining these connections are crucial to your overall health. These are meant to be deeper relationships with those you can trust and confide in. Some put too much energy and focus on romantic relationships, forgetting that intimacy is not just of a physical nature. Being able to share your inner thoughts and desires with another trusted soul can be deeply gratifying.
Action step—Seek the company of others and find healthy ways to connect and bond on a regular basis, essential for our emotional nourishment. (This one has always been extremely difficult for me, but I still try.)
5-Connection to Community—Reaching out and joining activities to help others can be a way for you to make new, broader connections while gaining a sense of usefulness.
Action step—Find ways to help a neighbor or participate in structured activities and gatherings. Learn a new hobby, join a club, join a church or local community group . . . or start something new.
6-Privacy—Hanging with your best buds and grooving with your bowling team can be super fun, but sometimes you need to lay low with some tea and a good book to escape the hectic grind and recharge your batteries.
Action step—Make a date with yourself. Set aside undisturbed time to do your favorite “me time” activities. Work on an art project, go on a nature walk, take a long bath, try that new recipe, or give yourself a pedicure. Relax and renew!
7-A Sense of Achievement—We all need to feel the joy of accomplishment. Whether it is running a marathon, growing a bumper crop of delicious tomatoes in your backyard, finishing that woodworking project, or honing a new skill . . . we need to feel jazzed and capable.
Action step—Seek guidance in the betterment of a skill or seek to acquire a new one.
8-Freedom—The freedom to be ourselves and to express openly without the need of any pretense. I know not everyone has the ideal workplace to let their weird light shine, but it is within our power to create a home environment where we can ditch that social mask and be in our natural state.
Action Step—In your private life remove all the negativity, silence the inner critic, and give yourself ample space to be the you-est you!
9-Goals—We all need to find and nurture our life’s purpose. Having goals and the quest to achieve them can help provide solace, focus, and meaning when times get rough.
Action step—Set a goal (you can start small . . . some days my only goal is to make someone smile). Believe it, achieve it, set a bigger goal, repeat. Finding balance is important to our overall health. We are all human and we all have these basic emotional needs. I am striving to remedy my imbalances.
Which of your emotional needs are not being met?