Tag Archives: basic needs

The Caring Habit of Listening

By Kim Olver

As a healthy relationship habit, listening isn’t just about hearing another person, waiting for them to stop talking so you can jump in with your “words of wisdom.” Listening is about doing your best to understand another person. Try to stand in their shoes, be in their skin and see the world with their eyes as best you can. No one can have perfect understanding of another. That would mean you would have to actually be that other person, but we can work at doing the best we can.

Understanding doesn’t mean you have to agree. You can see it from another’s point of view and still maintain your own perspective as true for you. One example is a wife who speaks to her husband about his excessive drinking. She believes his drinking is having a serious effect on his health, particularly his achy joints and his liver. He explains to her that he has a lot of anger that he doesn’t understand and that drinking helps him contain that anger. She is able to understand his perspective without agreeing with him. It helps her be more understanding of the reason he drinks.

Another example, involves an incident when I was sixteen. I remember asking my mother if I could stay home from school. She asked if I was sick and I replied, “No, I’m not sick but I can’t go to school with this huge zit on the end of my nose. Everyone will stare at me!” My mother’s response: “Kimberly Marie, get ready for school. You won’t even remember this five years from now.” Well, I’m 53 and I still remember it, Mom.

father-son

This is not to say I think my mother should have allowed me to go stay home from school. What I wish is that she would have listened to me to understand how devastated and desperate I was feeling. She might have even shared about a time she had a pimple and it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. Almost any response would have been better than having my perspective completely disregarded. (The funny thing is, in one way my mother was right. I don’t remember my classmates reactions that day but I do remember my mother not really listening to me.)

Do you have any stories about a time when someone didn’t listen to you? Or maybe you have a story about a time when someone did and it really made a difference. Can you be the person today who really listens to someone important to you to understand their point of view?

The Five Basic Needs of Pleasure

By Michael Rice, LISAC, CTRTC

The five basic and genetic needs for Happiness are Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and Fun.   These needs will almost always require a connection with someone else in order to both achieve and maintain.  As Dr. Wm Glasser asks:  “How happy and enthused would you be if you were playing golf alone and shot a hole-in-one?”  Your excitement would be short-lived at best.  There would be no one to share in the happiness of such an event, much less, confirm that you did, indeed, get a hole-in-one.

happy

Try as you might to get your friends excited about your accomplishment, you would get feedback such as, “yeah, right,” or “well good for you.”  There will be no shouts of joy or excitement because they didn’t see you do it and therefore, they cannot share fully in your emotion.  Your continued happiness would be the result of their excitement for you.  Since they weren’t there to witness the deed, all they can do is pat you on the back and say, “nice going.”

The paradox of happiness is that while no one can make you happy, happiness requires a satisfying relationship with those who are important to you.   The golfer who shot the hole-in- one did so on his own, but it would take someone meaningful to him to achieve happiness from his victory.   Had someone else been with him to witness the achievement, he would have surpassed pleasure and would have realized tremendous happiness.

When a person has exhausted all the skills they possess to acquire and/or maintain meaningful relationships, they begin to rely only on those things that they can achieve or do that does not involve another person.  The satisfaction they receive from these behaviors is what they wrongly perceived as happiness.   Pleasure is much more intense than happiness but it has one major drawback . . . it is short lived.  Pleasure diminishes almost as quickly as it is achieved.  Therefore, the behavior that creates pleasure must often be repeated several times to maintain the pleasure received.  Think of the mouse in the lab study that keeps pushing the lever over and over to get his dose of cocaine’s pleasurable feeling.  Happiness is not as intense as pleasure but it generally tends to last for days, weeks, months, and even years.

Five Basic Needs for Pleasure

Pleasure is usually attained without the need or involvement of anyone else or at the expense of another person.

  1. Sex (indiscriminant, self-serving, masturbation)
  2. Food, Alcohol, Drugs
  3. Isolating – detaching from others.
  4. Thrill Seeking – Adrenalin surges. Element of danger.  (Gambling, dangerous risks, Hunting, Torture, history of criminal behavior, video games, car racing, sky diving, bungee jumping,   BDSM, Catch & Release relationships, sex in public places.
  5. Reckless Spending

You don’t need anyone in your life to experience pleasure.  You DO have to have meaningful relationships in order to experience happiness.

Five Basic needs for Happiness,

  1. Survival
  2. Love & Belonging
  3. Power
  4. Freedom
  5. Fun

Once the 5 Basic Needs for Happiness are maintained, the need for Pleasure diminishes from compulsive behaviors to occasional behaviors, or total cessation, and will result in a happier and healthier way of living.

Mental Health Characteristics

By Dr. Ken Larsen (Originally posted 11/5/13)

One of the characteristics of mental health and happiness is getting our needs met in and through our relationships with caring other people.

Dr. Glasser describes these needs in a couple of ways.  One, from his first best selling book “Reality Therapy” he points out that we need to “Love and be loved, and to feel worthwhile to ourselves and to others.”

Later, when he wrote “Choice Theory” he listed our basic needs as “Survival, Love and belonging, Freedom, Power and Fun.”

bowlingballs

One way I meet my fun needs is by learning.  Recently I was reading a book entitled “The Female Brain” by Louann Brizendine, MD.  One paragraph jumped out at me because it spoke to ways to grow closer to the ones we love.  Having a wife, three daughters, and five granddaughters, the more I can understand the female experience of life, the closer I can be in these very special relationships.

This is a quote from the book: “If she’s married or partnered with a male brain, each will inhabit two different emotional realities.  The more both know about the differences in the emotional realities of the male and female brain, the more hope we have of turning those partnerships into satisfying and supportive relationships and families.”

I highly recommend this book.

The Anchor for the Happiness Explosion

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. —  Seneca

Have you noticed how much talk, press, advice and media attention happiness is getting these days? If you google the word you will get thousands of hits and leads to follow if you want to learn more. You can even find articles and advice about the differences between joy, pleasure and happiness.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about happiness:

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources. 

How fortunate we are to be the recipients of all this talk, research, and media attention on happiness. You can find lots of advice and ideas, including our contributions here on Mental Health & Happiness.

choosehappiness22485059I encourage anyone who is interested in increasing your sense of mental and emotional well-being and positive, pleasant emotions ranging from contentment and intense joy to learn more as well as research and experiment more for your own happiness sake. Yes please, I want more of that too.

We here at Mental Health & Happiness invite you to go to a deeper level regarding your happiness. When you look for the positive, the good in each life experience and each person you meet, your level of satisfaction may increase, but only to a limited degree. If you’ve ever tried giving this kind of advice to a friend or relative who is suffering with severe depression you may have quickly discovered the short coming and potential offense of this idea. Simply focusing on the positive is not enough. Why? 

Glasser, founder of Choice Theory psychology suggests that all human beings are born with five genetic instructions or basic needs. From birth to  death, all that we do is an attempt to effectively meet our needs for safety, (survival,) love, power, fun, and freedom. Understanding and attending to these needs is what anchors or grounds your positive focus and habits resulting in deeper contentment and happiness.

When you connect your discovery of the positive or your gratitude with one or more of your basic needs you have a much greater sense of satisfaction and pleasure. As you read and learn of specific strategies to grow your Mental Health & Happiness become intentional about which of your needs is satisfied with each activity. At the end of the day if you realize you have satisfactorily met your need for power, but still are not feeling connected nor are having fun, you can choose an additional strategy to meet those needs. This leads to successful Mental Health & Happiness. Your happiness, joy, satisfaction and contentment is anchored and grounded in your basic genetic instructions and needs.

When you practice gratitude, getting enough rest, getting and giving a hug, generosity of spirit and laughter you will increase your Mental Health & Happiness. And when you connect these habits with your genetic instructions to be safe, loving, powerful, free and fun you anchor your happiness in the genetic instructions you were born with. Power, fun, freedom, love, and safety is the port we are always sailing to, including in our pursuit of happiness.

 

Happy New Year

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

We are all born with five basic psychological needs that drive our behavior:

Safety & security, the psychological aspects of survival
Love & Belonging
Power
Fun
Freedom

Mental Health & Happiness can be developed, improved and maintained by spending conscious time, energy and intention every day meeting our basic needs. How? Responsibly and effectively:

Being safe
Loving and connecting with self and with the important people in our lives
Being powerful with others and through personal competence
Playing
Choosing

This time of year, the time we say good-bye to 2015 and welcome in the New Year 2016, is a perfect time for some self-evaluation.

Reflection: How are you doing meeting your needs for safety?

for love?
for power?
for fun?
for freedom?

Release: Are there any ineffective or irresponsible behaviors you want to release, let go, or eliminate? You might find it helpful to determine which need or needs you are                 attempting to meet with destructive behaviors. Now you can start a new, different,               more effective and responsible behavior to meet the need or needs.

Restore: Are there any habits or behaviors that you have let slip or dropped, even though you  know these habits helped you meet one of more of your needs? What need or needs     do these lost behaviors or habits help you meet? Now is the time to restore those               habits, routines and behaviors that are helpful, responsible and effective in meeting             your needs.

Renew: Now is a perfect time to renew your commitment to improving and maintaining your  Mental Health & Happiness. Spend conscious time, energy and intention every day responsibly and effectively following your instructions and meeting your needs.

WISHING YOU MENTAL HEALTH & HAPPINESS

in this

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Our world is a shared experience fractured by our individual perspectives.

Dr. Ken Larsen

I recently saw the quote in the title above and was immediately struck with the insight it contains.  Sadly, I cannot remember where I saw it.

I shudder to think of the seeds of murder and mayhem that have been sown because we have failed to look beyond our own perspective.  Dr. Glasser warned us that our efforts to control one another to do what our perspective dictates can have no good outcome.

JFK-quoteCan’t we see that we have as much in common as we have things that divide us?  JFK said it well, “…We share the same planet, breathe the same air, cherish our children’s future and we are all mortal.”

We also have the same needs for love, freedom, self-efficacy, fun and safety.  What we don’t have in common is a common point of view.   A “point of view” is simply a view from one point. If we would take a step back and realize that each of us sees the world differently we might be able to move closer by accepting one another’s experience of life.  I cannot see what you see and you cannot see what I see.  We can talk about those different perspectives and grow in our understanding of one another and the world, but we cannot make others see as we see.  Recognizing these differences offers an opportunity to enrich our experience of life by sharing and working together to get our needs met.  We have fought over our differences for far too long in the weary and bloody history of our species.  Evidence for this abounds in today’s news, and as I see the sad and tragic plight of so many of our fellow humans I remember Pete Seeger’s words “…when will they ever learn, Oh, when will they ever learn?”  Although we need to change the “they” to “we”.

Mental health and happiness depend on us getting along with one another and helping each other get our needs met.  In this holiday season with our plastic celebrations that Pope Francis has labeled “a charade” (because of the global strife and rampant human tragedy) can we let our awareness of our terrible inhumanity to one another move us toward a kinder, more thoughtful care for one another, and perhaps even closer to the angelic anthem of “peace on earth to men of good will?”

 

 

20 years’ experience or one year repeated 20 times?

By Dr. Ken Larsen

Self-evaluation is the key to Dr. Glasser’s approach to living a mentally healthy and happy life.  The focus of self-evaluation is enclosed in the questions:

  • What do you want?
  • Is what you’re doing working to get you what you want?

We’re all familiar with Einstein’s famous comment that the definition of insanity is repeating the same ineffective behavior over and over hoping for a different outcome.

This is where we ask ourselves if the past “x” number of years have been spent accumulating wisdom and life skills that help us get what we want?

Or have those years been spent repeating what doesn’t work and living in habits and beliefs that are not getting us what we want.

The common wisdom among those who practice Choice Theory is that if you’re not getting what you want, you can either change what you want, or change what you’re doing to get what you want, or both.

I like to think of life as a voyage.  As an amateur sailor, I’ve learned the importance of navigation.  The essence of navigation is to have a clear idea of where you want to go and a workable means to get there.  From time to time it’s not a bad idea to look back at the wake to see if we are sailing a straight course.  But we don’t get to where we want to be by looking back.

repeatingGetting our basic needs met is what we are steering for.  The choices we make provide the forward motion.  As with navigation at sea, it’s important to check our heading against our projected destination.  Is the course we have chosen going to get us to where we want to go?

In any voyage it is inevitable that mid-course corrections will need to be made.  That is a good thing.  We do the same thing in life on a daily basis.  If we stay aware of where we want to go, we can make the needed corrections when we see ourselves straying off course.

I wish you all “Bon voyage” in your journey.

Fake it ’till you make it

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

I’ve never met a person who didn’t have their days feeling low or down. Sometimes it’s for a very good reason, like a rainy week spoiling your vacation at the beach. Sometimes it’s for no obvious or evident reason at all. And sometimes your down day provides a temporary pause or time-out that you’re sorely needing.

If your blues are getting you down enough so that you’ve decided you want to take action, here are a couple of ideas that might help.

You could do a needs inventory. On a scale of 1 – 10, where 1 is the low level and 10 complete satisfaction, how are you doing meeting your needs today?

safety:     1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
love:        1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
power:     1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
fun:          1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
freedom:  1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

laughingdogWith this information can you plan to do something now, or at the latest tomorrow, to increase your satisfaction for the need with the lowest number?

Or you could just start laughing! Go ahead, try it. Did you know that if you fake laugh long enough, you’ll actually start to authentically laugh really hard?

That’s right, you can fake it until you make it just by laughing, laughing, laughing! If you’re skeptical, try it out now. Or if you just want to give a boost to your present Mental Health & Happiness start laughing now!

And if you discover you enjoy this, not only can you start laughing at any time for no good reason, you could sign up for a Laughing Yoga class in your neighborhood. No kidding, there is an official yoga class and laughter clubs developed by physician Madan Kateria from Mumbai, India. You can start laughing now with a room full of strangers. Together you all start with fake laughter until you are all laughing really hard and joyfully together. At the same time you will be  improving your Mental Health &  Happiness for sure.

Shame & Guilt: The Happiness Destroyer (Part 1)

 

By Michael Rice, LISAC

All of us have done something in our life of which we are not particularly proud.  And there may be some who may have even had some things happen to them by someone else that they are keeping secret.  In either case, the basis for keeping these things secret and not wanting others to know about them will be rooted in two things:  Shame and Guilt.

shame

Shame and guilt can be the core of most, if not all, of one’s unhappiness.  Yet both shame and guilt are not always bad.  There is such a thing as healthy shame and guilt and these are the principles which keep many people from breaking laws, harming others, or performing deeds that would affect others in negative ways.  It could be said that healthy shame and guilt keeps our innate urge to be selfish or harm others in check.

I don’t believe we know about shame and guilt until we have been taught what is proper and what is not proper when interacting in society and in our families of origin.  And while we are known to be products of our environment, there are some individuals who have not been taught about what may be right or wrong and therefore may possess minimal shame and guilt, if at all.  And there are some parents who use shame and guilt to “control” their children . . . to manipulate them to behave the way they want them to or to get from them what they feel they are lacking.  Playing the martyr is an example of how this is utilized by a parent or spouse to get love and attention that they feel that don’t have.  They suffer or pretend to suffer to instill shame and guilt in someone so that the other person will show them some pity and attention. . . .another form of external control.

It is toxic shame and guilt that destroys one’s happiness and peace of mind.  Toxic shame and guilt consist of the following beliefs:  Guilt is: I DID something wrong.  Shame is: I AM something wrong.

We often hear, “We’re as sick as our secrets,” and to this I must agree.  It takes a tremendous amount of energy to keep from being “found out.”  One must be ever vigilant and looking over their shoulder to keep others from finding out whatever it is they don’t want others to know. Shame and guilt affects all of our genetic Basic Needs of Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and Fun.

A leading cause of substance abuse is found in what is referred to as the Shame and Guilt Spiral.  Drugs and alcohol put to sleep what would make a person feel bad.  As long as they are high or buzzed, the things that normally tend to cause one to feel bad go away, albeit temporarily.  What happens next is the spiral.  Once sober, they begin to feel badly about what they just did (drinking or using) on top of all of the other things of which they feel bad.  They just added another 5 pounds of shame and guilt in a 3 pound container.  The quickest remedy?  Drink or use some more.  This behavior continues to spiral downward until they either get help or die.

U.S.A. Armed Forces Day

Today, May 17, 2014, is National Armed Forces Day in the USA. If you live in the US, you may want to take a moment today to thank someone who served, or is serving, in any of our five military branches – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Regardless of what you think of war, these dedicated men and women give up their freedom on a daily basis to defend freedom for others everywhere.

marinecorps_memorial

As you know, freedom is one of the basic human needs of Choice Theory psychology. At least in the US, most people do not have to spend a lot of time thinking of how to get their need for freedom met. Most US citizens have an abundance of freedom granted under the Constitution and defended and protected by the US Armed Forces. We owe much to these men and women.

Going to war can be a lifestyle that threatens one’s mental health and happiness. There has been much attention given to suicide rates and PTSD in military members in recent years. Serving one’s country can often expose military members to experiences not easily forgotten. I work hard to call this PTS (Post Traumatic Stress). I leave off the D for disorder. Given the experiences I have heard military members speak of, it is no wonder post traumatic stress could be the result. When experiencing traumatic situations, stress is a normal response to an extraordinary event — not a disorder but an adaptive response under the circumstances. We need to recognize this and help normalize the experience while helping our military members regain any mental health and happiness that was compromised based on their selfless service.

And if you are a friend or family member of an active duty military member, especially those who serving in combat zones, we need to appreciate you as well. I often speak to military audiences and say, “The only thing harder than being a military member is loving one.” Sending someone you love into a combat zone is something else that can impact one’s mental health and happiness.

Signing up for and practicing Your Daily Challenge from this website can help you too, while your loved one is away and when they return. These challenges are no substitute for therapy but practicing them can help you regain your center from having your life uprooted, while you move toward increased mental health and happiness.

Hug an armed forces member or member of their family today or thank them for their service. Doing so, expressing your gratitude, can lift your mood too!