Mastering Your Wellbeing
A Model for Wellness.
When a person is getting their innate physical and psychological needs met in a balanced way, they will be mentally healthy (unless they are also traumatised or brain damaged in some way). Scientists and psychologists have identified the fundamental givens of human nature which everyone needs to have satisfied in their life if they wish to function well.
As animals we are born into a material world where we need air to breathe, water, nutritious food and sufficient sleep. These are the paramount physical needs. Without them, we quickly die. In addition, we also need the freedom to stimulate our senses and exercise our muscles. We instinctively seek sufficient and secure shelter where we can grow and reproduce ourselves and bring up our young. These physical needs are intimately bound up with our emotional needs.
Emotions create distinctive psychobiological states in us and drive us to take action. The emotional needs nature has programmed us with are there to connect us to the external world, particularly to other people, and survive in it. People whose emotional needs are met in a balanced way do not suffer mental problems. When psychotherapists and educators pay attention to this, they are their most effective. What are our human psychological needs?
Emotional needs include:
- Security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully
- Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of nutrition
- Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices
- Emotional intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts 'n' all”
- Feeling part of a wider community
- Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
- Sense of status within social groupings
- Sense of competence and achievement
- Meaning and purpose — which come from being stretched in what we do and think.
When our human needs are not met in the world, nature ensures we suffer considerable distress — anxiety, anger, depression etc. — and our expression of distress, in whatever form it takes, impacts on those around us.
- Toxic environment – physical or emotional threat, e.g., violence in the home or bullying at school, at work, at home, in your community or online
- Trauma – physical or emotional trauma (to include unhelpful conditioning)
- Genetics – an incomplete internal guidance system (sometimes showing up as an inability to either engage or disengage attention)
- Missing Coping Skills – incomplete learning & development
- Misuse of the imagination – leading to excessive worrying