Meeting your needs will free you to build a fabulous life

“Typically, people overlook self-care,” says Alicia H Clark, PsyD, PLLC, licensed clinical psychologist in Washington D.C.

“They forget to put on the oxygen mask first.”

She says that getting enough sleep is a physiological and basic need, and is more important to your wellness than you may think.

“You can tolerate missing one night of sleep. But eventually the lack of sleep will get in the way of managing your emotions and being able to make good choices.”

Besides failing to meet basic physical needs such as sleep, exercise and food, people often fail to meet their emotional needs.


So what are emotional needs?

When I first read about emotional needs in a brochure on codependency 12 years ago, I was unable to think of one single emotional need I might have. I grew up in a family that did not talk about feelings, except to be told that it was unladylike to express anger. No wonder I was unprepared to create and maintain relationships.

Since then, I have learned that emotional needs are what drive us to get up in the morning. And I trained myself to meet my emotional and self-esteem needs without relying on others so much.

When talking about needs, mental health workers cite American psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow’s work—specifically his needs hierarchy pyramid.


The first level represents: air, food, water, sex, and shelter.

The second level represents: security or safety.

The third level is: belonging, being loved, or affiliation.

The fourth level represents: esteem or confidence.

The pinnacle is: self-actualization or meaning.

“Mazlow’s ideas have formed how many people think about needs. I would say that the need for affiliation is a key one. For example, solitary confinement is thought to be among the worst punishments. We are all social creatures, and at our best when we feel connected.”

Clark recommends Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew D. Lieberman, which describes the extent of other’s impact on us.

 [Read More on Medium]