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Emotional Needs

This is the second in a series of blogs about emotional needs. In my last blog I looked at our essential physical and emotional needs and why it’s so important to our overall health that we pay attention to them. In this article, I’m going to go into more detail about each of the needs so that you can see exactly how each applies to our lives, at every stage from babyhood to old age:

  1. Security
  • Do you feel safe in your environment, in your home life, at work?
  • Are you confident at work?
  • Are you being bullied?
  • Do you dread social situations?
  • Have you been assaulted in the past and fear it might happen again?
  • Do fears stop you doing things you want to do?
  • Does illness/pain make you feel insecure, leading to worry?
  • Do you feel vulnerable because you are older/weaker than you once were?
  1. Attention
  • Do you spend too much time alone?
  • Do you feel too shy/ unimportant to be with others?
  • Do you spend too much time with overpowering people who sap your energy or seize the limelight?
  • Are you interested in the thoughts, feelings and actions of others, or only in how they affect you?
  • Do you get attention by your behaviour/ problems/ symptoms?
  1. Autonomy and control
  • Do you have enough, too little or too much responsibility in your work?
  • Can you take responsibility for important decisions in your life?
  • Does someone else have too much power/influence over you?
  • Have you recently lost your sense of being in control?
  • Do you feel you should be able to control things that you can’t, e.g. how well your children do in exams, how your manager or partner behave, and blame yourself if things don’t go as you feel they should?
  1. Emotional intimacy
  • Have you experienced loss – whether due to the ending of a significant relationship?
  • Are you grieving for someone who has died?
  • Have you lost touch with close friends perhaps due to moving way or busy lives?
  • Is there at least one person in your life who you can be totally yourself with/ share good and bad times with (could be a close friend or family member, not necessarily a partner)
  1. Feeling part of the wider community
  • Do you know people outside your close family/friends?
  • Do you help or give to others in any way? (Not necessarily an organised activity, could be simply checking on an elderly neighbour or family member who needs some extra support)
  • Do you take part in any community group and activities?
  • Has something happened to change your activities, e.g. a new baby, illness, redundancy, disability?
  1. Privacy
  • Do you get space and time to yourself to relax, unwind and reflect on things?
  • Time for yourself just to do your own thing – or to do absolutely nothing!?
  • Something you love to do that you can get totally absorbed in?
  1. An emotional connection to others
  • Do you share fun and laughter with others?
  • Do you have a sense of how others feel?
  • Can you feel that you are on the same wavelength with other people?
  1. Status
  • Do you feel good about the way you see yourself?
  • Do you feel good about the way you think others see you?
  • Do you feel suitably rewarded/ appreciated for things you do?
  • Do you feel inferior or hostile to others or jealous of them?
  • Do you long for what you haven’t got?
  1. Competence and achievement

On balance:

  • Are you doing what you want to do with your life?
  • Do you have things/achievements that you are proud of?
  • Do you enjoy the way you spend your time or do you sometimes feel out of your depth?
  • Do you have a creative outlet and do you use it?
  1. Are you being stretched by learning new things? Do you have a sense of meaning and purpose?
  • Do you have activities that interest you and continue to challenge you?
  • Are you still learning/ developing new skills?
  • Do you have a philosophy, belief or approach to life that gives your life a sense of meaning and purpose?
  • Do you have a commitment to something bigger than yourself. This could be anything at all – a cause, sport, school, religion or spirituality, political movement, community activity
 Need some advice and support?

If you would like to discuss any of the  issues raised in this article further, or perhaps look at ways that you can start to get your own emotional needs met in a balanced way, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.


Book a counselling session today!

See also How can I stay emotionally healthy? Staying emotionally healthy