Wellness Wednesday: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Wellness Wednesdays: Small ways to incorporate self-care into your days


 Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: The Basic Needs Inventory

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One of the principles of reality therapy is that all behavior is an attempt to satisfy one of the four basic psychological needs:

  • Belonging – Fulfilled by loving, sharing, and cooperating with others
  • Power – Fulfilled by achieving, accomplishing, and being recognized and respected
  • Freedom – Fulfilled by making choices
  • Fun – Fulfilled by laughing and playing

When our needs are not being met, we tend to “act out” or seek ways to meet those needs that may be socially unacceptable, against our moral code, or in a way that would have a negative consequence later. We can avoid this trap by taking an inventory of how our needs have been met, mid-way through the day.

I like to start with a blank sheet of paper, divided into four sections.

Power, Belonging, Freedom, and Fun

Choose one color pen or marker.  In each square, write down all the ways that your need has been met so far today.  With a different color, write down the ways that you could possibly meet that need before the end of the day. This is a quick check-in that you can use to make sure you are taking care of yourself.

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Look for patterns. Is it hard to meet your fun need before lunch time every day? Do you consistently end the day feeling powerless? Once you know what’s lacking, you can take action to make the changes required to get your needs met and lead a more balanced life.