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Our Physical and Emotional Needs 

Depicted in images by staff of Suffolk Mind as part of a 12-week challenge. Quotes copyright of Suffolk Mind unless stated otherwise.

Suffolk Mind is the Suffolk-based mental health charity who want to make Suffolk the best place in the world to care for and talk about mental health. The charity is like many other organisations in lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic and a challenge has been set to staff working from home to produce some images of their interpretation of our physical and emotional needs which can affect our mental wellbeing if they're not met.

A fun activity with  a serious bent....which should in turn enable some needs to be met: movement, control, achievement, meaning & purpose, attention, privacy, community and maybe more.

The first week's need is Control

"To meet the need for Control we need to feel that we have some say over our lives and personal choices. It can be helpful to recognise what we can take personal responsibility for and what we can influence, and accept that there are some things which we cannot control".

Week 2 is one of our Physical needs - Food & Drink

"Food and drink should be one of life’s pleasures; beyond just eating to live, experiencing new tastes, the feeling of being nourished, and the sense of community which comes from eating and drinking with others". What need are you feeding? Are you eating and drinking to nourish your body & brain?

Week 3 deals with our next need; the need for Security

"When we feel safe we think clearly and respond to events sensibly while coping with change. When we feel unsafe, perhaps about our finances or relationships, stress is triggered to get us to act. But too much stress can make it difficult to think clearly about how we can address unmet meeting other needs".

Week 4 is our Emotional Need for Status

It is probably one of the most difficult to portray in images and is described thus on Suffolk Mind's site - "We all need to feel valued and that our efforts are appreciated by other people. The way to meet this need in a healthy way is to give people positive feedback for what they have done and tell them why it made a difference".

Week 5 relates to our need to feel we have Achievement

These don’t have to be huge achievements either. "Achievements can be small tasks, like cooking a meal for ourselves, which give us the sense that we are in control of our lives and managing. Achievement is good for our self-esteem; especially if we are doing something we are good at something and learning to get better".

Week 6 deals with our need for a Meaning & Purpose

"Meeting the need for meaning and purpose is essential for mental health and wellbeing...We can seek meaning and purpose in three kinds of activities:

From being stretched to learn, as with the need for achievement

From feeling that we are needed by others

From the sense that we are connected to something bigger than ourselves".

How would  y o u  deficit your need for Meaning & Purpose in an image?

Week 7 informs us of our physical needs for Movement (which in its simplest form stops our brains from shriveling)

Exercise gives us "the benefit of endorphins – which boost our mood and promote emotional wellbeing. Just 30 minutes brisk walking three to four times a week – getting our heart rate above its resting level – is enough to trigger endorphin release which is equivalent in its effect to anti-depressant medication, and the effects of endorphin release are immediate too – so a quick reward!"

Week 8 is about our need for Privacy

"Having privacy and time alone, allows us to reflect, learn from experience and decide on what is important to us".

Week 9 reinforces the fact that we are social beings and have a need to belong to a Community

"When we don’t feel that we are part of groups our stress and anxiety levels can go up. Reducing social isolation lowers stress levels and the risk to mental and physical health. Community groups are also where we find out about other people’s points of view which can give us a richer take on the world. As a rule of thumb, the wider and richer our community groups are in their viewpoints, the healthier our view of reality is likely to be."

Week 10 informs us of our need for an Emotional Connection with a partner, friend, colleague etc.

"A feature of modern life which is challenging for our mental health is that as societies have become more fragmented, and people’s need for community is less well met, we tend to rely upon a smaller number of relationships. If these relationships breakdown we can find ourselves isolated and struggling to cope."

Week 11 is both a physical and emotional need - Sleep. "We all need the right amount of sleep in a 24 hour period, about eight hours for the average adult." We also need the right type of sleep for recuperation and discharging our unspent emotions through dreams. You can learn more about this here.

The final week, 12 deals with Attention - our needs to give attention to someone or something (and attention is finite) and to receive attention lest we will wilt. 


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