Balance and Emotional Needs
What are they and why are they important?
When I talk about balance, you might be thinking Work/Life balance, or think of the wheel of life segmented into different sections – which is what I am thinking of. Of course we all have unique ideas of what is most important in our lives such as family, money, career advancement, romantic relationship etc. But what you think in theory may not be matching your circumstances right now if you are struggling with drinking too much, or some other addictive behaviour. It is worth taking 20 minutes to draw up the ideal you want, and to mark out of 10 where each section stands today as this helps you know what you want to focus on more. But don't overwhelm yourself! If your life is out of balance, you are already feeling stressed.... Just imagine making one difference to one section at a time. For example, I want to improve my chances of romantic relationships. So I am planning ahead to get out socially once a week, to make new friends and make it familiar to me to talk to more people (without an agenda). The next step will only happen once I have this in place regularly, so I won't feel overwhelmed.
Draw something like this on a piece of paper and then mark out of 10 each area, the center being 0, and the outside being a 10. There is no right or wrong, and you may want to add elements such as spirituality, or divide health into physical and mental well-being (although I believe they are directly related.). You could find 12 segments or just keep it simple with 6 – you make the rules here.
Having balance directly improves your emotions, and your emotional needs are met without effort. I have blogged before about emotional needs. Very often (I can't really think of an exception, but I am sure someone will prove me wrong) people struggling with addiction or sabotaging behaviours are lacking in one of these areas that I will list – This is taken from Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of human needs, published in 1943. He expanded on it later, but simply, the bottom of the pyramid is the basic needs that ensure survival on a physical level, while the others are far more important psychologically. Safety is both a physical necessity and an emotional one.
If these needs are not met in a healthy way, then we often try to cope with life and meet those needs in an unhealthy way. For example by numbing feelings of pain or lack with alcohol, or taking it out verbally with people close to you.
The needs that I suggest you focus attention on are Emotional Connection and Connection to a wider Community, as well as the need for Meaning and Purpose, and Attention. But you may wish to look at other areas as they are important:
Here is the list: (not in any particular order)
1 Security (feeling safe *abusive relationships are not welcome in anyone's life)
2 Volition (having autonomy to direct your life)
3 Emotional Connection (friends and deeper relationships)
4 Connected to a wider community (sense of belonging)
5 Attention (the right kind!)
6 Privacy (time to yourself to just be)
7 Sense of status (we all need to fit in somewhere and be valued)
8 Sense of achievement (stopping drinking will give you this!)
9 Having meaning or purpose. (Serving others and sharing your unique talents and gifts)
Some of these are linked and can be met together, while other needs may require more separate attention...
But whatever need is not being met enough in your life, whatever imbalance you have, instead of blaming life and external factors, look inwards and contemplate what you can do to address your unmet needs.
If you choose to make changes in your life, then take action. Reading about it will not change your life. Tell me about the changes you are making, and hold yourself accountable. If you want help and are feeling lost, overwhelmed and helpless trying to do this alone, then reach out to me. I am here to support you.
To book a virtual coffee and chat, over Zoom video call, here is the link. https://beckyboothappointments.as.me/virtualcoffee Let's make a change!