As we move into 2012, it’s clear that today’s woman has more choices than ever. But with more choices comes a world which can appear confusing, overwhelming, and oversaturated with information (and a lot of the information out there isn’t always the right information). Today’s results-oriented society, which technologically grows at rapid speed, is flooding women with so many different expectations and ideals that it’s easy for any woman to lose sight of her own authentic path. Whether she’s the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a stay-at-home mother for a family of 5, women need to remember to incorporate some of the most basic human needs in order to lead a satisfying and balanced life. That said, here are the Top 10 Basic Needs for Every Woman in 2012:
Research shows that having an active sex life reduces depression and anxiety. Additionally, having sex increases self-esteem, reduces stress, increases quality of sleep, and boosts one’s overall immune system. Furthermore, when you reach orgasm, oxytocin (the bonding hormone) is released, and an amnesic effect takes over — which can last for up to five hours. Not too shabby…
Ahhh, yes…sleep: Your entire well being (including your relationships) depends on it. In fact, the American Sleep Association states:
“Many studies make it clear that sleep deprivation is dangerous. Sleep-deprived people who are tested by using a driving simulator or by performing a hand-eye coordination task perform as badly as or worse than those who are intoxicated.”
Need I say more?
Here’s the deal: exercise (and I mean elevating your heart rate and really sweating) is Miracle Grow for the brain. Regular aerobic exercise remodels our brains for peak performance by decreasing stress, lifting your mood, and sharpening your intellect. Overall, it simply helps you function better as a person.
4) Connective Relationships
We are all social animals and we all crave positive, connective relationships. A healthy relationship helps increase one’s confidence and ability to grow as a resilient person. So if you’ve finally entered a healthy, loving, stable relationship, that experience can actually shift the brain’s old negative beliefs, allowing for real, tangible change in your core self.
5) Stimulating Activity for the Mind
Just as exercise and sleep are building blocks for your brain, so is stimulating the mind. Whether it’s professionally, creatively, or engaging in a goal oriented hobby of yours, using your mind to meet specific goal-driven tasks not only helps the fibers of your brain connect in a deeper way, but it helps you feel accomplished and reach your true potential in the world.
6) Play Time
Children are not the only ones who need play time — adults need play time just as much. Period. When was the last time you became so lost in the moment that nothing else mattered? Allowing yourself time to be creative and spontaneous and soak in new and innovative experiences is essential to the human spirit and gives one a sense of balance in life.
7) Physical Touch
I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about a hug, a caring squeeze of the arm, a holding of the hand. We are born with the need to be touched. If a baby or child is not held or cuddled enough, he or she will not thrive. A warm, safe touch releases oxytocin (the bonding hormone) as well as reduces levels of the stress hormone, cortisol . In effect, the body interprets a supportive touch as “I am here for you.”
There’s a reason for the old saying, “It takes a village.” Like children, we all need a village, or in other words, a community, which helps us to feel a part of or a sense of belonging. Given how are all social animals it would make sense that one’s value of self is strengthened by the support of a team, a tribe, a village, a group, etc. Being a part of a community via shared interests , (i.e. work, church, synagogue, sports, a club, etc.) is what brings the most meaning to our lives.
9) Re-charge Time
Just like a battery needs to re-charge, so do you in the most simple non-stimulating ways. No, you will not turn into a puddle of mush by re-charging with your PEOPLE or US Magazine. Mindless, winding down time is just as essential for your well being as anything else. Remember, it’s all about moderation.
10) An Observing Ego
Or in other words: Taking the time to understand and observe YOU. It amazes me the amount of people I see walking around completely and utterly disconnected from themselves emotionally, physically and mentally. Without a connection to you, living your life in a satisfying way is impossible. How can you learn what your growing needs are without truly understanding you? How can you learn to trust your instincts and make decisions without consistently reflecting on what drives your behaviors? Learning to comfortably observe your own steps in the world is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and what better time then 2012 to give yourself that gift.
Carin Goldstein, MFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles and the creator/host of the popular video blog, BeTheSmartWife.com. Visit her blog to watch Carin give free video tips on how to improve your marriage and sign up for her monthly E-zine. You can also connect with her on Facebook or Twitter (@bethesmartwife ).