Our basic needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

As human beings, our desire is to be all that we can be, in whatever capacity we choose. In this current pandemic, it’s difficult to be all we can so whilst we are in a period of lockdown, let’s focus on the basics and a theory that may help is the Hierarchy of needs developed by Albert Maslow.

Maslow’s theory of needs was first developed in 1943, concentrating on what motivates our human behaviour – according to Maslow, our actions are motivated in order to achieve certain needs. Whilst some existing psychologists tended to focus on problematic behaviours, Maslow was much more interested in learning what makes people happy. In order to achieve our ultimate goals or desires, Maslow suggests that our basic needs must first be met.

There are five different levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, as shown below:

Often displayed as a pyramid, the lowest levels are made up of our most basic needs – food, water, sleep and warmth. Once we have achieved the most basic needs in the pyramid, we progress onto the safety and security; the further up the pyramid we go our needs become more psychological and social. Motivation continues to develop until we move into Growth needs, whereby we no longer are deprived from something, but our need to grow as people increases.

You may be reading this and thinking ‘how does this apply to me?’ – in this uncertain time, we are not necessarily able to grow, but will now be concentrating on our most basic needs… so, in order to maintain good mental health, try not to put any pressure on yourself and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Did I have a good night sleep?
  2. Have I eaten today?
  3. Have I had a shower? Have I got dressed?
  4. Am I warm and comfortable?
  5. Have I drank plenty of fluids?

Think about these questions on a daily basis, each one of these will fulfil a basic need, and will allow you to concentrate on your wellbeing. It is OK not to do much at the moment, it’s OK not to go for a run when you said you would, but you’re too tired, it’s OK not to have completed your to do list for the day. Our more complex needs can wait as long as we are thriving in our most basic needs.

There are several basic exercises and apps that may help you, and developing a routine is a positive start.

Are you struggling? Do you need help? Check out our useful numbers pages on our blog, as well as our guides and videos and remember to check in with each other whilst in lockdown.