A working definition of mental health would be emotional, psychological, and social well-being while a working definition of well-being would be the state of feeling comfortable, healthy, or happy. As you can see, there is a strong coalition between the two. Then, the question becomes how you can achieve good mental health to enjoy optimal wellbeing.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

In 1943, Abraham Maslow developed his hierarchy of needs. It is still a great way to think of the requirements that must be met in your life to enjoy well-being.

Physiological Needs

At the base of Maslow’s pyramid are the physiological needs. These are the things like air, water and sleep that you need to live. It also includes maintaining the body at 98.6 degrees through clothing. Finally, the base level includes sleep.


The next level up is the right to feel safe. This especially pertains to people afraid that they might be killed if they say or do the wrong thing, and it also is why people may avoid living in a high-crime neighborhood or take self-defense classes in some circumstances.


The next level up is the need to feel loved and that we belong to a group. This need is like a circle as it involves both the need to receive love and give love. Note that it does not have to be from any particular group as long as you feel part of a community. This was a need that many people had unmet during the pandemic if they chose to isolate themselves.


The next level up is our need to feel esteem. This level can be broken into two parts. People need to feel self-confident about themselves, and they also need to have their accomplishments acknowledged by others.


At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization. You can describe this as feeling like you are meeting the purpose you were put on earth to accomplish. Since each person’s purpose is different, this looks unique for everyone.

Moving Between Levels

It is essential to realize that while the levels are arranged in a pyramid, it is not an all-or-nothing proposition. For example, a senior citizen who stays alone most of the time can still feel like they are meeting their purpose, or a homeless individual with a job that they excel at can still feel proud of themselves.

If you need some help moving to the next level of well-being, then reach out to American Behavioral Clinics today. Let’s discuss the possibilities as we work together.



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