The Four Human Needs :
Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual
Answer: What is WORK?
Yes! Work is often seen as an obstacle to getting our four human needs met, but it is in fact an EXCELLENT vehicle for doing just that.
The Four Human Needs are not OPTIONS, and they must be met DAILY, not just once in a while or once a week. When you work at least eight hours a day, and sleep another eight, it can seem impossible to meet these four needs in the remaining eight. But work truly meets all four.
While there may be some specific ways you would PREFER to meet your needs, you WILL have plenty of time to implement these preferences in your remaining personal time.
Allow me to break this down:
You are employed for the paycheck and the insurance benefits. This is the way you put food on the table, clothes on your back and a roof over your head. Should your body break in some way, you have insurance to repair it. Therefore, you can check this off your list when ensuring you meet your four human needs, each and every day. If you are able to walk or even have a workplace gym? That's pretty great, right?
We are pack animals. Many of us (introverts) prefer spending a lot of time alone, but we get VERY WEIRD (not to get too technical about it) when we spend day after day alone. We need interaction with others for proper brain function. Work provides plenty of this, of course, but it provides much more than just social stimulation.
Current studies are showing employers that office friendships have a direct correlation to employee satisfaction. Where once employers shunned group lunches and socializing after hours, we now know that this reduces turnover and markedly lowers stress levels in employees.
Moreover, we go through divorces, babies, deaths of parents, marriages and many other human experiences with our co-workers. Baby showers and birthday lunches are a normal part of office interaction today.
All of this meets (significantly meets) our social and emotional needs as humans. So, once again, we can check this off our list and be thankful for our workplace commutes and even see office politics in a new light.
For many of us---most of us---work provides the needed stimulation of new situations and problems to solve that the brain requires to keep healthy and flexible. The brain acts much more like a muscle than an organ. Work content requires concentration, change, and handling conflict. All of these exercise the brain effectively.
Not mentally stimulated at work? This isn't your supervisor's fault. It's yours. Seek out new challenges. Don't seek compensation (it's not likely there anyway). See it as part of meeting yet another human need. You may even see a pay-off in the future in the form of a promotion.
In the past, I had a difficult time connecting this need to a person's work. That was short-sighted of me. Remembering that "spiritual" is not necessarily the same as "religious" (though it can be), I started to see the spiritual implications of my own work, and was then able to very easily connect this for others.
There is no major spiritual path that urges anything other than "love thy brother" or "leave those in need better off than you found them." Our work does this in many ways. It may be difficult to connect at first, but if you look for this proof, you will likely find it.
If you are making a product (directly or indirectly) that makes a family's life easier, or provides financial resources, or makes people safer...you are doing something spiritual---even if you never see your end-user.
If you sell or service a product that does this, you are simply doing this third-person. If you are in a helping profession (teaching, public safety, medical, communications, etc.) you already know this, at least on some level. Food service, office supplies, home cleaning, maintenance and repair...all of these can find a spiritual connection if you look at the impact on the lives these services provide, however indirectly.
Read on for more ways to meet your four human needs. Maybe your needs have gone so unmet for so long, that you actually have physical, emotional, mental or spiritual stress. If so, these pages will also help you get back on track:
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