Abraham Maslow was a psychiatrist who studied positive human behaviour and the lives of high achieving people. The thing he is most famous for is his hierarchy of needs which states that in order for one to progress to a higher level of fulfilment each level below in the hierarchy needs to be completed.
At the lowest level we have your basic fundamental physiological needs, such as breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, balance and going to the toilet.
Next are your needs for safety- such as protection from elements, security, order, law, stability and freedom from fear.
It then moves on to love and belonging- so this would be intimacy, connection, family and friends.
Self-esteem- which is a sense of achievement, self-confidence and being respected.
Then finally you gain your sense of fulfillment through self-actualisation- which is your creativity, spontaneity, morality and acceptance of the world around you.
This is not an exact science as there are plenty of pained creatives, high achievers with low self esteem and singles who are quite satisfied with life. However it does provide a good framework for where you could be going wrong in life.
For this article I would like to focus on the fundamental physiological needs, because in my research they have proven to be very much neglected. Sometime we seek complex solutions for simple problems when in reality just sleeping more or drinking a little more water would do the trick.
We set up extremely complicated ways to deal with our complex problems when we haven’t even taken care of the very basics that need to be dealt with before hand.
Culturally we are over medicated, under nourished and starved of the very simple things and I think if we can get back to these very basic things that are needed for our survival we can all start to live more positive and fulfilling lives.
Breath is the most precious thing we have in our lives, you have approximately 3 minutes of survival if your oxygen is cut off, yet so many of us neglect to breathe properly.
Bad breathing technique can cause sleep, mood, digestion, heart, nervous system, muscle and brain problems. There are plenty of research papers that back up the benefits of good technique, which include more energy, improved health, inner balance, less anxiety, better relationships and a happier life in general.
The best way to breathe, is to breathe consciously. This can be achieved through simple meditation practice which I will discuss more in a moment.
Next to breathing water is the most important thing we need to live, approximately 3 days without water can result in death, yet according to Boston College two thirds of Americans are not drinking enough.
They also added- “The body’s need for water is relentless. Between two and three quarts of water per day can be used by the body for such important functions as regulating body temperature, nutrient metabolism, cushioning joints, organs and tissues.”
Depending on age our bodies are made up of approximately 50-80% of water, so if you are neglecting to drink enough, you are starving your body something that is needed for its survival.
Another thing to take into consideration is quality of water- a lot of people are now aware of fluoride in the water, but what they don’t know is that fluoride is not the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to tap water.
According to Freshly Squeezed Water some of the chemicals routinely added to our drinking water include-
And that is not taking into account the contaminants that can sneak into something that we are advised to drink in excess of 2 litres of a day, which include-
If you can it is best to drink good quality bottled water.
According to the national institute of diabetes and digestive and kidney diseases 68.8% of people are overweight. Why? Because food is currently available in abundance, the industry is not regulated and food consciousness is at an all time low.
We have become so disconnected with our food that we don’t know the good from the bad. People often complain about good food being expensive, yet find the means to buy expensive gadgets and clothing.
Food is a fundamental and what you put in your body literally becomes your cells and biochemical make up. So if you are not eating well, it could explain a lot of your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual problems.
Everyone has different nutritional needs, but as a general rule, try to avoid processed foods and anything in which the ingredients contain words that you cannot pronounce.
It is hard to go wrong with natural whole foods which contain 1 ingredient. It is also pretty amazing what you can muster up when you mix a bunch of these together.
Sex has become a taboo subject in many places in the world, but it is hard to understand why as it is the most natural thing a human being can do. Sex is the lifeblood of the human and animal race and the urge for sex is the strongest of the human emotions.
According to Web MD sex improves your immune system, lowers blood pressure, helps manage pain, lowers risk of certain types of cancer, improves sleep, eases stress and yes it is a type of exercise!
I think we need to reconnect sexually and start to collectively rebuild the relationship we have with sex, as it is one of the most natural and connecting things 2 people can do.
Without sleep it is impossible to function at a high level of cognition, yet 1 in 3 people suffer from insomnia.
Also there is a massive correlation between mental health issues and insomnia, from Web MD “Insomnia and depression often go hand-in-hand. Although just 15% of people with depression sleep too much, as many as 80% have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Patients with persistent insomnia are more than three times more likely to develop depression.”
Sleep is easier to achieve when you become comfortable with yourself, insomnia can be caused by external factors such as too much caffeine, food or alcohol. But bar that, it usually comes from an overactive mind that you struggle to shut down. Meditation is great to help regulate these thoughts as it brings consciousness to your thoughts and allows you to process them.
Going to the toilet
Digestive problems usually arise from lifestyle choices and while it is a matter for debate it has been argued that some “incurable” digestive diseases such as Crohn’s and diverticulitis can be cured using dietary changes.
Sometimes simple changes such as drinking more water, eating more fruit and vegetables and trying to lower your stress levels can help with your digestive issues. The fact is if you are suffering from any digestive problems it is a sign of an imbalance in your life. If you want to move forwards you will need to find and fix this imbalance. This can usually be achieved by finding a good holistic or nutritional therapist.
I would argue that life is one constant balancing act in which you never find complete equilibrium or if you do it does not last forever. The key to growth comes in part with acceptance of this fact and also in conscious reflection and assessment of your habits and routine.
I think it is more important to be in the pursuit of balance than to actually reach the destination where all problems disappear. The first way to try to start this pursuit is to attempt to take care of all the basic physiological needs I have written about in this article, this will solve most of the problems a person has.
Only once you have satisfied these fundamentals should you move on to other areas in search of balance. One of the greatest tools in which I have spoken about quite a bit in this article is that of meditation, meditation helps to bring a certain level of awareness to what it is you are doing and helps to aid with connecting you back to yourself and the fundamentals needed for growth. If meditation is something that interests you, you can take a look at this free course I put together that will teach you how you can get started. Take A Look At The Free Course Here
Luke Miller is the creator of Potential For Change. He believes that spirituality is the foundation for good health and likes to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of his free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here
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