We are all born with essential physical and emotional needs and the innate resources to help us fulfil them – known as human ‘givens’ – which need to be met in order to facilitate good mental health.
Following are the ten main innate emotional needs:
1) Security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully
2) Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of nutrition
3) Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices
4) Being emotionally connected to others
5) Feeling part of a wider community
6) Friendship, intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”
7) Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
8) Sense of status within social groupings
9) Sense of competence and achievement
10) Having meaning and purpose — which comes from being stretched in what we do and think.
Life is never 100 per cent perfect, but as long as our main essential needs are being met, and our resources are being used well, we do not suffer mental health problems. However, if just one of these needs is unmet, or our resources are being misused, it can affect our mental health and well being.
To see how many of your emotional needs are being met, take the Emotional Needs Audit.