Our human needs have been identified for hundreds of years. Most of us studied Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in college proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943, but Tony Robbins (life and business strategist) put them this way: we all need certainty, variety, significance, love & connection, growth and contribution.
Understanding these needs levels the playing field regardless of race or financial standing. Meaning, we all have these needs as humans, and we cannot move through to the final level without first having the other needs met. It is truly our human nature and how we are made.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I am overdosing on uncertainty right now, and my love/connection is low due to COVID-19. I’m pretty sure I am not alone! These needs are ingrained in every one of us, and they are essential not only for success but for our well being. When one or two needs aren’t being met, we cannot move forward. When one area is out of control, like uncertainty, it causes huge amounts of emotional stress. Perhaps this puts into words what you have been feeling – angst, uneasiness, unsettled. Your human needs are being trampled on right now, and it is causing you a lot of stress.
For such a small word, stress is responsible for more disappointment, hurts and illness than we realize. We are all made differently and are on our own paths, but recognizing your human needs helps you understand how to manage your stress better by pinpointing where you need some assistance. Let’s take uncertainty, for example. Everything that we thought we could count on (like going to the doctors when sick, vacationing, going to work, kids at school, etc.) is topsy turvy! From day to day, we do not know what we can count on, and that upsets the emotional apple cart. To combat it, we need to create certainty where we can: our routine and our family.
Variety or uncertainty is wonderful and provides us with the spice of life! Yet, gone too far, it becomes chaos. We are in the midst of both uncertainty and too much variety and need to strike a balance that works for each of us. For me, I find my scheduled exercise time to be soothing. I can count on it because I blocked the time out. Yet, I crave some variety since we were in lock down and much of life was put on hold. I can alternate how I exercise (hike, run, row, play tennis, etc.) and where I do it (different paths, parks, indoor) to feed both these needs.
If you are like me, you desperately miss connecting with others in person. We appreciate technology like Zoom, but it is not the same. I’ve combined my exercise schedule (certainty) with my need for connection by offering classes outside. Every week, different people come (variety), and we get a great workout together in the fresh air. I’m checking several boxes here, and it helps reduce stress.
Stress is sneaky. It manifests itself in secretive ways: sleepy, hungry, angry, body aches, migraines, stomach ache, etc. If we aren’t paying attention, we may address the symptom and not the root cause. Take a look at your life right now. What human needs are dialed in, and which ones are lacking? This will be a great indicator for you as to where to give some attention so that you may lower your chances of illness because stress will make you sick.
I can tell you one thing that will immediately lessen your stress: stop watching the news and scrolling through social media. Their messaging of fear is very intentional and is designed to paralyze you. When we live in fear, we are easily manipulated and controlled. Fill your human needs the best you can, and you will begin to take charge of your stress!
Looking for tips and strategies that you can apply today? My book, A Healthier, Happier You! has 101 ways for you to reduce your stress. Get your copy today!