Dr. Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Perfectly Explains Coronavirus Fears

For the record, I was a horrible student. I didn't like school. I retained very little information and I just wasn't interested in what I was being taught 99% of the time. That being said, there was one lesson I learned that stuck with me for some reason.

Emotional Intelligence

It was the class that discussed Dr. Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. For some reason, his theory about how our psychological health was directly linked to the fulfillment of basic needs was fascinating to me. It just made sense.

Here I am 30 + years later finding myself going back to the lessons I learned about one of the pioneers in the science of human psychology - Dr. Maslow.

Ok, so what does all of this have to do with Coronavirus?

It has EVERYTHING to do with Coronavirus.

For those of you that weren't as ensconced in your 10th grade psychology class as I was, a brief definition of Maslow's "pyramid" of needs.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a motivational theory in psychology that consists of 5 "tiers" of basic human needs.

From the bottom to the top:

Level 1 - Physiological Needs - Food, water, warmth, rest.

Level 2 - Safety Needs - Security and safety.

Level 3 - Belongingness and Love Needs - Intimate relationships, friends.

Level 4 - Esteem Needs - Prestige and feeling of accomplishment.

Level 5 - Self-Actualization Needs - Achieving one's full potential, including creative activities.

His theory stated that our needs in the lower levels had to be satisfied before we could continue to move up to higher levels. For instance, if our basic needs of food, water, warmth, safety and security aren't being met (Levels 1 and 2), we won't be able to cultivate our intimate relationships or feel a sense of prestige and/or accomplishment (Levels 3 and 4).

Keeping this theory in mind, think about what we're experiencing right now in the middle of this pandemic. We're experiencing shortages of food and water. Our security and safety is in jeopardy. Our relationships are being muffled because of social distancing. Most of us aren't able to feel any sense of prestige and/or accomplishment because we're not even able to work.

Coronavirus causes shutdown

If you're paying close attention, you'll notice that levels 1, 2, 3 AND 4 of Maslow's needs are NOT being met. Do you think the inability to fulfill 4 of our 5 basic needs is causing us to feel any level of anxiety/fear/confusion/worry? I would say with 99% certainty - yes.

Before you judge someone's reaction as being "too extreme" or "too dramatic", remember not every person has entered into this time of crisis on the same level of mental preparedness.

While there's an enormous variation in people's individual abilities to handle social isolation and stress, one thing is certain. We won't return to a normally functioning society until our basic human needs are no longer in jeopardy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *