The world’s current economic setup is fragile, attributed to the fact that we’ve just come out from a global pandemic that left countries enforcing strict lockdown measures, restricted movements, and mass unemployment affecting millions of people. The wars that have also followed in countries such as Ukraine have caused a ripple effect on the rise of inflation rates on commodities such as wheat all over the world. Most people have therefore had to make lifestyle changes affecting their social and economic setups. Into this environment wants and needs are prioritized among people, let’s know it deeply.


Definition of wants and needs

Needs refer to the everyday things and practices that are essential to continue sustaining life e.g. food. 

Wants are the secondary things and practices that make life more comfortable e.g. fine dining and take out. 

Let’s break them down a little more


Needs can further be broken down to reflect physical, emotional, mental, and financial needs. 

Physical needs include

  1.  Clothing to keep you warm during the cold and ensure decency. 
  2. Food is essential to ensure proper nutrition and health. Going for long hours and days without food can leave you feeling weak and fatigued. It may also cause diseases such as kwashiorkor and marasmus along with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa leaving you malnourished and lacking necessary vitamins and minerals. 
  3. Access to healthcare is essential to our bodies to ensure that diseases and infections are detected and treated early. Health services are needed by everyone and a delay in provision can lead to the progression of the disease endangering the life of the sick person. Diseases such as meningitis and cerebral malaria are known to kill their patients within a couple of hours while non-communicable diseases such as hypertension can take years before the manifestation of signs and symptoms. Access to vaccines is also essential to prevent diseases and viruses. 

Mental needs are often associated with mental wellness. This entails knowing your mental needs, when to seek, and where to find help. 

  1. Self-awareness is knowing yourself, your capabilities, knowing and understanding your feelings, how you react and why you react in different situations. 
  2. Understanding healthy coping mechanisms. Every day we go through stressful situations and understanding how to react and handle them can stop triggering emotional panic attacks and anxiety. Instead practice breathing, journaling, and exercise in a bid to control and calm yourself down. Most people have fallen into addiction and depression due to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drug and substance abuse. 
  3. Talk to someone else about your struggles. Most times we don’t run to therapists once we feel or see a behavioral change in ourselves or others. Talking about how you feel can help relieve you of common mental illnesses such as anxiety. Others like depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia need the help of a medical professional to help with diagnosis, treatment, and management of the condition. 

Emotional needs mostly appeal to our social nature as human beings where we crave to be around like-minded people. 


These are mostly associated with physical secondary things such as

  1. Designer clothing and accessories such as make-up, jewelry, clothing, and handbags. 
  2. Eating and drinking disorders. These include alcohol and fast food. This is because you spend more money and have exposed yourself to risks such as alcohol dependence and addiction, hypertension, and diabetes. Such practices can also leave you dealing with an unhealthy weight that results in complications due to obesity. 
  3. Although traveling can be grouped as a secondary need, especially if it’s your source of income, it can be a very expensive luxury due to the rising costs of fuel and accommodation. Therefore your main reason to travel or use any mode of transport should be highly analyzed to ensure that you’re not spending money unnecessarily. 

Key considerations when determining whether something is a want or need. 

  1. Can you live without it? Money is essential for everyday survival but how much is too much? To be able to ensure that you meet and have access to essentials is great but the surplus should be saved to help out during an emergency or when the need arises. 
  2. What role does having a particular item play in your life? Access to mental health wellness might be sometimes brushed off if you’re having trouble dealing with something that affects your performance and how you deal and relate with others
  3. knowing the world and societal norms and understanding a particular item. Education can be subjective and can be called a want. This is because a basic understanding of how a particular thing is done is automatic or can be learned through seeing others do it. A baby walks when they feel they are ready, however, he/she will have to be fed to sustain life and grow. 

Knowing how to tell the difference can sometimes be difficult you’ll have to therefore eliminate based on necessity. Telling the difference helps us understand reasonable budgeting, human behaviors, and well-being. 


Leave a Reply

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

Scroll to top