Do you wonder why sometimes you can’t satisfy your hunger by eating? The reason is that we are hungry for something else in our life. In other words, there are many types of hunger. It can be physiological hunger when we want to get more energy with food. Also, there is emotional hunger when we want to numb our unpleasant feelings or boost our pleasant experience. And finally, there is a psychological hunger which is in fact very similar to emotional hunger. However, for me these two types of hunger are different.
Psychological hunger represents six needs (by Eric Berne) that have to be satisfied for a fulfilled and happy life. You can’t fulfill these six needs by eating. It is impossible to focus on one need expecting that other needs will be automatically balanced. Imagine that you have six pots with flowers. You can’t expect that by watering only one or two of them, you will have healthy plants in all six pots.
The Six Psychological Hungers
- Structure (time)
We can be hungry for physical touch by other people. Physical touch plays a critical role in self-esteem and feeling that you are loved and wanted. When other people touch us (of course in a safe for us way), we understand that we are noticed. Hugs, hand shakes, sitting close to each other, holding hands, massage and so on are the examples of physical touch. Do you have enough safe, pleasant physical contact with others?
This hunger is for being recognized, and noticed. It is about attention from other people and feeling that you belong. A simple Hello or nod shows you that you are recognized by others. We flourish when somebody says they are happy to see us, or that she/he is glad that we are here. In opposite we fade when there is nobody to say our name and notice us. Are you hungry for recognition?
When we are bored or see our life as a dull existence, there is a hunger for something unusual, exciting, challenging or different. To make your life more interesting you can plan your pleasant incidents. You can meet with new people, try a new hobby, watch an engaging movie, change your usual route, sit on a different chair at your dining table and much more. What types of incident are you able to implement in your life this week?
This is a hunger for experiencing the world around us with all our senses. To satisfy this need you can, for instance, listen to music or birds’ singing, observe colorful paintings or beautiful views, smell flowers, taste the food or walk barefoot on the grass. What do you hear, smell, see and feel right now?
Structure hunger is a hunger for security and control of our life. We want to have plans and goals, and feel in charge of our decisions and actions. Sometimes we have too much structure (to busy schedule, no play time) and sometimes we don’t structure our time at all. It is important to plan your rest time and not only work hours. Do you have enough structure in your life? What can you do to gain or maintain control over your own life?
This is the hunger for being passionate about something, for being aroused and reach the peak. This hunger can be achieved in many ways: intimacy, participating in sport, dancing, liking your own femininity/ masculinity, having passion or being enthusiastic about life. Do you have passion in life?