Your Emotional Needs
Your emotional needs are fundamental drivers for your life. Getting these needs met or even having the realistic expectation that they will be met is enough to keep you feeling positive and generally happy and confident. On the other hand, not having these met is the fundamental cause of all anxiety. If left, this anxiety can lead to more serious problems including depression, uncontrolled anger, addictions, compulsions and obtrusive thoughts, amongst a range of emotionally distressful symptoms.
Learning to audit Your emotional needs
The good news is that Human Givens psychotherapists have a very straightforward and effective way of helping you quickly identify which emotional needs you may not be fully meeting. We all go through rough periods in our lives, this is unavoidable. However, even at those times, by being aware of your emotional needs, you can head off the more extreme negative effects of too much emotional stress. This is why learning how to audit your emotional needs is so helpful, and it is really easy to do and can help you quickly decide what the priorities are for getting back on track. This is so important, as often when you feel stressed you do not know where to begin and can often find yourself making all kinds of mistaken assumptions. You may take things too personally. You may think that things will never change and it’s always been like this. You may feel your entire life is a write-off even though in reality only one thing has gone wrong. You may find yourself endlessly searching for original causes of your suffering in childhood. This is not to say that what has happened in the past has not effected you or that you should not be aware of how your learning and patterns are limiting you or where traumatic events are keeping you locked into a cycle of anxiety. Human Givens therapy will effectively deal with such past issues. However, whatever has occurred, in the final analysis you still have to have our needs met in the present and in the future, and making sure you are focused on that will help you enormously to overcome anxiety.
Emotional Needs Audit
The following simple form helps you assess where there may be an imbalance in how well you are meeting your emotional needs.
For each question rate, in your judgement, how well your particular need is being met on a scale of one to seven (where 1 means not met at all, and 7 means being very well met), by ticking the appropriate boxes.
Those needs that score 4 or below probably need some attention and will provide you with a clue as to what to focus on. It will be useful for you to set a goal that will help you meet this need more effectively. Doing this will immediately help you feel more in control of your life, calmer and more positive.
1. Do you feel secure in all major areas of your life (such as your home, work, environment)? *Do you feel safe? For example: 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?
2. Do you feel you receive enough attention from others? *Are your attention needs being met in healthy ways? For example: 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/seize the limelight? Do you get involved with things to win attention, e.g. just because a new friend is involved? How much sincere attention do you give to others? 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?
3. Do you feel in control of your life most of the time? *Do you have a sense of autonomy and control? For example: 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, and blame yourself if things don’t go as you feel they should?
4. Do you feel part of the wider community? *Do you have wider connections? For example: Do you know people outside your close family/friends? Do you help others in any way? Are you involved in any church/religious/spiritual groups? Do you take part in any community groups/activities, e.g. drama, football, politics, keep-fit classes? Has something happened to change your activities, e.g. a new baby, illness, redundancy, disability? Have you stopped activities/ lost interest in things?
5. Can you obtain privacy when you need to have time for reflection? *Can you/ do you obtain privacy when you need to? Can you get absorbed in hobbies and sports on a regular basis? For example: Space and time to yourself to relax, unwind and reflect on things? Time for yourself to do your own thing? Something you love to do.
6. Do you have an intimate relationship in your life (one where you are totally physically and emotionally accepted for who you are by at least one person, this could be a close friend)? *Do you have people in your life who are important to you and to whom you are important? For example: Have you experienced loss/ has a relationship recently ended/ are you grieving for someone who has died? Have you lost touch with friends? Is there at least one person in your life who you can be yourself with/ share good and bad times with?
7. Do you feel an emotional connection to others? *Do you feel an emotional connection to other people? For example: Do you share fun and laughter with others? Do you have a sense of how others feel – empathy? Can you feel rapport with others, like you are on the same wavelength?
8. Do you feel you have status that is acknowledged? *Are you comfortable with your status in society? For example: Do you feel good about the way you see yourself/ the way you think others see you? Do you feel suitably rewarded/ appreciated for things you do? Do you feel you should have achieved more and/or that others have done better than you? Do you feel that you fit in? Do you feel inferior or hostile to others or jealous of them? Do you long for what you haven’t got?
9. Are you achieving things and competent in at least one major area of your life? *Do you have a sense of competence/ achievement and creativity? For example: 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 and feel satisfied by it or out of your depth? Do you feel there are things you are good at? Do you have a creative outlet and do you use it?
10. Are you mentally and/or physically stretched in ways which give you a sense of meaning and purpose? *Are you being stretched by learning new things? For example: Do you have activities that interest you and continue to challenge you? Are you still learning/ developing new skills? Is your life meaningful? Does it have a purpose? 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, e.g. a cause, sport, school, religion, political movement, community activity?