The Defy Aging Newsletter

Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness

a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.

Number 143

This issue:

Needs vs. Wants


When thinking and speaking, be accurate about what you need vs. what you want.


My wife asked if there was anything I needed from the grocery store and I said some beer. Then I thought, I don’t need beer, I want beer. The distinction is subtle, but offers several benefits. Saying I want rather than need:

  • makes me more consciousness that this isn’t something my body needs
  • prompts me to consider whether I am making a healthy choice
  • prompts me to be more likely to make a healthy choice
  • raises my consciousness as to physiological effects
  • prompts gratitude as I realize I have many choices
  • prompts gratitude as I realize I can choose many things beyond my needs

That’s a lot of benefits from just being more conscious of one word choice. Why fuss about semantics? Painlessly making healthier lifestyle choices fosters living longer, healthier and living with purpose. So does having more gratitude. I’m always looking for easy ways to foster growing young and living with purpose. The distinction can have a lot of nuances. I may want a beer to help me relax and unwind. If the outcome I want is to relax and unwind, being clear that it is a want and not a need makes me more aware that I have several choices for how to relax and unwind.

Sometimes wants are complicated by physiological needs. Wanting coffee in the morning might be to prevent a headache from caffeine withdrawal and to counter the lack of sleep from coffee the night before.

Physiological need distinctions can be controversial and confusing. Research indicates that caffeine stimulates estrogen (estradiol) production. This can increase the risk of cancer, especially for women at risk for endometriosis and breast cancers. Some research suggests that pregnant women metabolize caffeine at only a fourth of their normal rate. The livers of fetuses cannot metabolize caffeine so the caffeine stays in their systems for days.

Some research indicates caffeine increases menstrual muscle cramps. Many women, however, report it relieves cramps and is calming (partially from its diuretic effect). Then there is research indicating that coffee has health benefits. What to make of the contradictions? We need to pay attention to how caffeine affects us (and possibly experiment with reducing or eliminating consumption to see the difference). At the very least, moderation is needed, and extra moderation is needed during pregnancy and breast feeding.

I have just been addressing what we eat and drink. Whether we need or just want a new car and whether it is a Saturn or a luxury car has its nuances as well.


Daddy, I don’t need your help. I’ve been very intelligent since I was two years old.

~Sharon Brickey (last year when she was 4)

The road to success is a toll road. Pay that small, daily fee, and you'll be able to go most anywhere you want. Leave some time for fun, and you'll enjoy the ride.

~Steve Goodier (writer)

A rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

~(source unknown)


If we are to believe the HBO series, Big Love, a man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.

~Michael Brickey

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"Dr. Michael Brickey, The Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include:  Defy Aging, 52 baby steps to Grow Young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs). Visit for a free report on anti-aging secrets and a free newsletter with practical anti-aging tips."

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