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The 5 Basic Things You Need to Survive

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Life is full of challenges, but regardless of who you are and where you live, there are five basic things you need to survive. Three of these are the core of survival we’ve heard of all our lives: food, clothing, and shelter. The other two are related to the original three: water and sleep. So the five basic needs are water, food, shelter, clothing, and sleep. Without each of these, your body starts to shut down over time, and you become vulnerable to diseases, and physical, and mental health problems. Let’s discuss each of these five basic things you need to survive!

The 5 Basic Things You Need to Survive


Water is the most crucial requirement for human survival. The human body consists of 60% water, and it requires constant replenishment to maintain its functions. Water helps regulate body temperature, helps the body absorb nutrients, and flushes out waste products. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and even death in extreme cases. Body hydration balance is necessary to make it through the day, no matter what we’re doing.

It is recommended that an average adult should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day. In areas where safe drinking water is not readily available, it is crucial to boil or treat the water before consuming it to avoid waterborne illnesses. I’ve suggested my readers evaluate and consider products from Big Burkey and PortaWell since they provide the protection we need from a water filtering system. Each has its pros and cons regarding the water volume to be filtered, the type of bacteria and viruses to capture, and the amount of dirt or debris present in the water source.

Much of the western United States has been affected by drought for many years. Water loss is an issue for farmers, households, and industry alike. Thank goodness the West has seen an abundance of snow and rainfall this past winter and spring, but water as one of our human needs will be a concern going forward. Since we rely on water not only to prevent dehydration of our bodies, it is a needed element of nature and plant growth as a means to prevent starvation.


Food is the body’s primary source of energy and provides the necessary nutrients required for survival. The body requires a balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with vitamins and minerals, to maintain optimal health. The three main macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) are essential for energy production, growth, and development.

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Lack of food can lead to malnutrition, weakened immune system, and impaired cognitive function. Cognition is a mental state we strive for so we can make critical life-saving decisions during a disaster or emergency. Inadequate protein intake can lead to muscle weakness, while a lack of vitamins and minerals can cause vision problems, skin disorders, and bone issues.

It is crucial to eat a balanced and nutritious diet to ensure proper body functions. You can achieve this by consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Food is a major concern in any survival situation. It is the backbone of continued human sustenance since we all need to eat. A balanced diet is one of the fundamentals of body health and development each and every day.


A proper shelter is essential for protecting the body from the elements, such as rain, wind, and extreme hot and cold temperatures. Exposure to adverse weather conditions can lead to a risk of hypothermia, heat exhaustion, and other health problems. A shelter can be a house, an apartment, a tent, or any other structure that provides protection from the elements. It should be able to keep the body warm and dry and provide a safe space to rest and sleep since sleep deprivation is a high-risk factor during times of stress.

Staying warm in cold conditions protects not only our core body but also our extremities. On the other hand, if it’s too hot we can experience damage to our central nervous system, brain damage, and a chance of cardiac arrest from heat exhaustion.

We all have slightly different needs when it comes to sleep, but the basic mechanism of sleep is pretty much the same since we need a dark, quiet, and comfortable environment to get adequate sleep. Our activity level during an emergency determines the amount of food and sleep we need, but there certainly are minimums of both when it comes to survival.

In addition to protecting against harsh weather, the shelter provides safety and security from wild animals, pests, and other potential dangers. A comfortable and safe shelter is essential for maintaining mental health. Studies have shown that individuals living in insecure and unstable environments experience high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and a lack of clear thinking.

Having a constant temperature and humidity level is a challenge no matter where you live or the season. High temperatures cause different challenges than cold ones as mentioned earlier. A shelter can smooth out the extremes at both ends of the temperature spectrum.

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Clothing is necessary for protecting the body from the elements, maintaining body temperature, and providing comfort. The type of clothes you wear depends on the climate, weather conditions that include high humidity, and activities you engage in. Failure to wear appropriate clothing can lead to heat stroke, frostbite, and other health problems.

Wearing clothes also provides a sense of identity and enhances personal expression. Clothes can be a way of expressing oneself, from professional to casual wear and everything in between. It can provide a sense of belonging in different locations and cultures. We all need to feel loved and accepted no matter where we live or our life’s circumstances.

Just like a proper shelter, proper clothing is that level of protection we all need from the elements, but it also provides the sense of privacy we need and long for.

Clothes Hanging On Rack


Sleep is essential for maintaining physical and mental health. It allows the body to repair and rejuvenate itself, and it supports cognitive function, memory, and decision-making. Lack of sleep can lead to exhaustion, cognitive impairment, and mental health problems. An adult should aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Sleep is necessary for maintaining a healthy body weight, controlling stress levels, and regulating mood. People who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of developing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Final Word

In conclusion, the five basic things you need to survive are water, food, shelter, clothing, and sleep. These essentials are critical for maintaining physical and mental health. A lack of any of these essentials can result in serious health problems and even death.

It is crucial to prioritize these needs and ensure you have access to them at all times. Governments, humanitarian organizations, and individuals must work together to ensure that everyone has access to these basic needs. With access to these essential elements, individuals can live a healthy and fulfilling life, regardless of their circumstances. What are some basic things you need to survive that you’d add to this list? May God Bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Clothes Hanging On Rack AdobeStock_138946263 By Sebra, Warm Clothing AdobeStock_181315212 By Alenamozhjer, Winter Clothing AdobeStock_137307280 By Sergey Ryzhov

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