Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is, simply put, a great way of assessing what it is that we need at a basic level. The pyramid of the Hierarchy of Needs must be read from the bottom up. The two bottom most levels set out what humans need as a red line.

Food, water, warmth, rest, security and safety. These are things that we need to live comfortably. By comparison, excessive consumerism is a want. You don’t need an extra handbag or pair of shoes to live. Forgive me if this sounds preachy but I am trying to make a point of how important it is to distinguish between needs and wants. Fulfilling needs is imperative. Fulfilling wants is fun, of course, but it doesn’t lead to sustainable happiness.

If you frame needs in the context of wars going on around the world where people’s homes have been bombed and those hunkering in whatever space they can find are living without the basics like warmth and food, you will understand that a base level of happiness comes from having the basic needs in life.

If you are one of the lucky ones to have basic needs, like I do, then do please exercise gratitude. In a world of conflict, scarcity and overinflated wants (luxury goods), grasping the concept of basic needs and accepting it leads to gratitude. Gratitude is a building block of sustainable happiness.