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POV: Got time for a quick five words?

POV: Got time for a quick five words?By Jill Bennett

“What are the five most important words for mental health?” When that question appeared in my news feed, I thought, five words? I’ve got time for 5 words. So, I clicked on the link and learned that the five words form the question, “What do you need right now?”

Caught a bit off guard, I harumphed and moved on to the next enticing newsfeed item—which was probably something along the lines of, “10 things your kitchen needs right now to win the esteem of your neighbors.” (if you’re curious, it was either state-of-the-art pantry organizers or a super food subscription service.)

Well, those five words continued to pop into my head and show up on my newsfeed. The second time I considered the question, I ducked it. (After all, my needs are not “needs.” At best, they are slight preferences.)

The next time it came up (persistent news feeds), I began to take it more seriously—and after some consideration and a little personal reflection, I now believe is there is a lot of power in the question. Here is why. "What do you need right now" reminds us that:

  • It's okay essential that we put our needs first
  • Our lives are actually lived in the moment.
  • We all have needs.
  • Giving those needs a label—i.e., the "what"—identifies our wishes, calls, deficits, longings, passions, and hungers.

To put it simply, what we need is a part of who we are and it deserves our full attention and respect. So give it a go and ask yourself what you need right now. Then do yourself one better and actually give yourself what you need. Take a break, make a call to a friend, get a breath of fresh air, drink a glass of milk, or even have a laugh. And afterwards, let me know what you did because your answer might help me move beyond my own, which is, "I need to figure out what I need." Because we all need a little help from time to time.