I often find myself having trouble focusing on what’s most important. Especially in the morning. My mind is racing with all of the things I want to accomplish in a day.

 It’s really hard to prioritize what’s needs to be done right away. Sometimes I can pause long enough to think about the simplest, basic needs first. I remember this hierarchy of needs that I learned about in my graduate program. The concept is that in order to get to higher levels of functioning, you have to address all of your basic needs first.
On Maslow’s hierarchy, the bottom level is shelter and security, food and water. The basic physiological needs. The next layer up is safety and emotional connection. Alllll the way at the top is self-actualizing – which is to live fully in what you are capable of. I would love to constantly live at that highest level and often I try to! But in order to do that, I have to make sure my home is safe and pulled together, I eat breakfast, I feel safe and secure, and I’ve connected with family and friends.

All of these habits are essential for your brain to be able to engage in creativity, new challenges, personal growth, stay healthy and to build your self-awareness. The end goal is to live into your full potential, but it all starts with your basic needs. You might notice that when you’re hungry or tired you have more trouble accomplishing challenging tasks. Or when your home is a wreck or under construction or you’ve recently moved, you may not be ready to take on a new project at work.

You may not have the energy for those bigger dreams you have for yourself. When your basic needs go unmet, your mind and body is preoccupied with those gaps in your needs. You can put off your basic needs for a while, but eventually it will all catch up with you and result in burn out, resentment, health issues, or anxiety.

So, take care of yourself, check in with your body. Attune yourself to the rhythms of your needs. The next time you find your mind racing or you’re getting overwhelmed with all of the things that need to be done, start with the basic needs first. This will set you up for success for those bigger things you want to accomplish.