Frau, sitzend auf Bergspitze

What do body and mind need?

Every day we do some things that we are convinced we need right now: have a coffee, eat something special, watch a movie or a series, etc. But are these really the things we cannot live without? ie those things that we actually need uncompromisingly to survive?

Our needs

When we look at our lives, we find that at the bottom it consists of defining our own needs and, if possible, satisfying them. It's a pretty simplistic way of abstracting our existence, and it seems all the more true. No matter what we do, it is always connected in some way to a need on our part. This is also an interesting way to critically approach our behavior and an exciting attempt to better understand and question it. But what are our actual needs?

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow described our motivations and needs in a simplified way in his model of a needs hierarchy. According to his classic model, there are five important levels: physiological, safety, social and individual needs, and self-actualization. These levels together form a pyramid.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

The physiological level reflects all of our existence and basic needs such as breathing, water, food, sleep and reproduction. The security level includes e.g. B. physical and mental security, basic material security, work and housing, but also family and health security. The social level, on the other hand, refers explicitly to social relationships, which is why topics such as family, friendship, group membership or sense of belonging, communication, social exchange, community, mutual support, relationship, affection, love and sexual intimacy are also included. The individual level deals with two categories of needs: active, ie those that we realize ourselves, e.g. B. mental/physical strength, success, independence and freedom and passive ones, ie those that others fulfill for us, e.g. B. reputation, prestige, esteem, respect and importance. Finally, the level of self-realization means needs in relation to living out one's own talents, potential and creativity.

Why is this a pyramid or hierarchy? According to Maslow, there is a causality: as soon as one level is largely satisfied, new needs arise in us.

There have been further extensions of the model, including by Maslow himself, to better understand the complexity of human behavior. Nonetheless, we think that all in all, this model is sufficient to envision what our needs are and how they are related. Nevertheless, we think that the boundaries between the individual levels are quite fluid and primarily depend on which needs have what weight for a particular individual.

Well-being as the sum of fulfilled needs

At Aninsu, we are very concerned with the topic of well-being in the broadest sense. With this feeling of inner satisfaction, security and stability, or in short: with our inner summer. We've wondered if it might not be selfish that we have urges to do well, and using Maslow's pyramid, we come to the conclusion that it isn't. Rather, well-being seems to be the sum of individual needs, the lack of satisfaction of which can lead to individuals being unable to be happy either within themselves or within a society, which in turn means that they cannot make others happy either. This means that well-being is an expression of fulfilled (basic) needs, which makes it fundamentally important for every individual existence and also in a social dimension.

We assume that well-being cannot be defined as a single need. Whether one can speak of this feeling in a person or not depends on whether an individual set of needs from different levels is met. In other words, one can only speak of well-being in a person whose basic needs are met and who is in harmony with himself and others in terms of security, social life, recognition and appreciation, and self-realization.

So what do body and mind need?

In any case, this is an individual question that requires an individual answer in detail. This article sees itself as a gateway to finding a solution. If you have the feeling that you cannot speak of well-being in your case, then the hierarchy of needs can help you to consciously identify the areas in your life in which you are not satisfied. This means that you can find out what your body and mind need relatively quickly. And in the next step you can think about how you can approach these topics in order to get closer to well-being as quickly as possible. We keep our fingers crossed!