I listened to a fantastic podcast the other day. It was about Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, taking me right back to college my freshman year. I listened and was intrigued. Maslow proposed the theory that people go through stages of growth throughout life. These stages motivate individuals to progress through to the next tier so that they reach enlightenment.
"Maslow used the terms "physiological", "safety", "belonging" and "love", "esteem", "self-actualization", and "self-transcendence" to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. The goal of Maslow's Theory is to attain the sixth level of stage: self transcendent needs."
(M.,, Wills, Evelyn. Theoretical basis for nursing)
Maslow didn't feel psychology was for the ill, he felt it was critical for the wellness of the healthy too. Understanding these stages
could assist individuals with finding happiness. and self exploration.
So this got me thinking about firefighters. The base of this pyramid is physiological needs; SLEEP, SHELTER, NUTRITION. These are the physical requirements needed to fulfill the base of the pyramid. With call volumes increasing, many of these can be challenging on a daily basis. Sleep is an unlikely A LOT of the time. Please remember sleep is essential for your body and you mind. We can't survive without it. Nutritional needs, water, warm clothing...All these are challenging this time of the year.
The next is Safety and Security. When we show up to work, we show up to people's worst days. Unfortunately there has been more violence in our society which leaves people, and especially firefighters, concerned for their own safety. This is a problem. Firefighters have to feel confident and secure to do our job with the professionalism and accuracy.
The third is Love and Belonging. After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third level of human needs is interpersonal and involves feelings of belongingness. "According to Maslow, humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups, regardless whether these groups are large or small. For example, some large social groups may include clubs, co-workers, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, and gangs. Some examples of small social connections include family members, intimate partners, mentors, colleagues, and confidants. Humans need to love and be loved – both sexually and non-sexually – by others. Many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression in the absence of this love or belonging element. This need for belonging may overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure."
(Maslow, A.H. (1943). "A theory of human motivation". Psychological Review. 50 (4): 370–96.)
The fourth is self esteem. ""All humans have a need to feel respected; this includes the need to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. These activities give the person a sense of contribution or value. Low self-esteem or an inferiority complex may result from imbalances during this level in the hierarchy. People with low self-esteem often need respect from others; they may feel the need to seek fame or glory. However, fame or glory will not help the person to build their self-esteem until they accept who they are internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can hinder the person from obtaining a higher level of self-esteem or self-respect."
Lastly, Self Actualization.
"This level of need refers to what a person's full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only achieve the previous needs, but master them."
Here's the Ted Talk, Listen and enjoy.
Beyond the Gear is a informational place where firefighters and their families can read and take steps at living a healthier life. Healthy body starts with a healthy mind. I hope you enjoy.