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Haarer's Hierarchy of Needs


Status quo is Latin for "existing state." As an almost 50 year old I am finding the confidence to challenge existing systems, processes and models. Loosing the fear around expressing an #authentic voice, less afraid of losing popularity. It’s taken five decades to care less about what others think of me, and my (educated) opinions. I had low self-esteem growing up. I was reminded that I did not try and was lazy at school. What everyone failed to realise was that the schooling system I was in was failing my personal needs. As a consequence of this, I am always shocked and surprised when something I try to do (actually) succeeds. This is referred to by psychologists as IMPOSTER SYNDROME:


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was created by American psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943. He suggested that human needs could be put into five levels – refer to attached image.

Whilst this model has been highly respected and referred to by business leaders, wellbeing providers, organisations, 1943 is a long time ago. Is it time this thought leadership model is revised, all things considered across the globe? I first learnt about the model during my BTEC Sport and Physical Recreation Studies in the 1980’s – a national Diploma available in the UK for students graduated from middle school.


According to Maslow he suggests 3 tiers of needs:

1. Basic

2. Psychological

3. Self-fulfillment

Malsow states that BASIC NEEDS take priority over the importance of psychological and self-fulfillment. What is #questionable in today’s society is the order of the elements listed under the BASIC tier.


PHYSIOLOGICAL: food, water, warmth, rest – strongest, most important of human needs

SAFETY: security, safety – represented in the second tier of the model, after physiological


Considering the modern day statistics around poor mental health and addiction and many other broader concerns, what has changed, since the mid 20th century? Four years of contemplation later, here are my thoughts on Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.

If we consider the modern world, the quality of water, or lack of it, mass produced foods pumped with hormones, additives, preservatives, sweeteners, in an attempt to make them taste and look nicer, last longer. These aspects of the modern world are all adding to the detriment of our health (therefore happiness), both physically and mentally and for some, spiritually – heart disease, diabetes, obesity, contributing to anxiety, depression and so on – diet and nutrition influence our mood and sleep #sleephygiene:

All this before we’ve even factored in social media and the impacts this can have on people, as a society.


For the purpose of this blog, I refer to an expectant mother. If she does not offer adequate safety and protection for that baby, she may be placing not only herself but also that unborn baby at risk, both socially and environmentally. For example, we know now that if she smokes whilst pregnant this can lead to harmful effects:

Likewise, domestic/family violence can harm both mother and unborn baby. Here’s how:

Examples given above fall under both social and environmental conditions of the unborn baby, and it’s mother. Harmful foods digested by the mother during pregnancy can lead to gestational diabetes for example:

Layer this again, considering the toxins and pollutants that our bodies (and brains) absorb every day like additives and preservatives. We know for example that humans reaction to certain foods can create behavioural problems in children, making it more challenging for them to manage mainstream schooling systems, overly active in the classroom. Medical professionals consequently prescribing controlled drugs for these children, in an attempt to counter balance (through masking) these unwanted behavioural symptoms, allowing them to more easily conform to parent expectation and school systems and needs.


By now you will hopefully see where I’m going with this.

SAFETY! Does it make more sense that SAFETY is at the forefront of everything. If we lack this, we are more vulnerable, more at risk. SAFETY FIRST, SAFETY SECOND has been a moto of mine, since working with young, at risk people in the residential care system.

SAFETY IS THE FOUNDATION OF LIFE, before anything else, surely?

If we drink contaminated water, it is unsafe. If we eat contaminated foods, we can become unwell. If we live in a mouldy house, that can affect our respiratory system. Don’t even get me started on carcinogenics!


Some readers will wonder “who does she think she is, challenging the work of a person who devoted their life/career to human behavioural studies”. Part of my role as a wellbeing #advocate is to challenge the status quo, in order to strive for and achieve positive social change. If there was ever a time to look at how we can do things differently, it’s now.

HAARER’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS PLACES SAFETY ABOVE ALL ELSE, at home, at work and at school #preventionisbetterthancure.


Should SAFETY be moved to the most important level? The #CHOICE is yours. EDUCATION IS KEY TO SAFETY.

Thank you for reading. With kindness.




This Wikipedia link shares other information around this human needs model. For example the noted “exceptions”, criticism and evidence from others in the mental health field.


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