The Top Ten Things Needed to Survive for Life

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Without water the human body won't survive for long.
Without water the human body won't survive for long. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

What it takes to live comfortably depends on each individual. However, there are basic things every human needs to survive. Survival depends on physical and intangible elements that feed your body as well as your mind.

Air

Perhaps the most critical element to survival is oxygen that allows us to breathe. Whether your problem is lack of air, poor air quality or a physical condition that limits your lung capacity, you will likely suffer brain damage or die if your supply of oxygen is cut off for longer than three minutes. People who sufferer from emphysema or severe bronchitis can attest to this.

Water

The human body is made up of about 70 percent water. You won't last long without this vital substance. In extreme heat situations, you can become dehydrated and begin to experience problems within hours.

Food

Food, while not quite as critical as water, is also key to survival. People who have survived hunger strikes show that humans can live for some time without eating. However, without proper hydration, the body will only last between 40 and 70 days without food.

Sleep

If you lose a night's sleep, you'll probably be grouchy the next day. Continue that pattern for more than a night or two and you'll grow more delirious. Without the proper amount of sleep for an extended period of time, your body's processes like hormone production needed for proper body functions begin to shut down.

Shelter

Whether it's a tent or a penthouse, having adequate shelter to protect you from the elements is key to survival. Regardless of income, human beings need some form of protection against wind, rain and snow to live. The most effective form of shelter is determined by your environment.

Security

Not only is it vital to have protection from weather elements, it's also important to have security against attacks of any kind. Encounter one too many wild animals or maniacs with a gun and you won't live long. Arming yourself in some way against attacks from human and animal predators or having someone who can protect you, provides a sense of security and leads to a longer life.

Health

Good health is not necessarily vital to survival but some level of general health is important. Good health will determine the quality of your life and usually leads to a longer life. A lifetime of healthy habits, including adequate exercise and consumption of nutritious foods, helps extend survival.

Income

Regardless of a society's currency or unit of trading, a source of income is vital to survival. In some countries, you may not need a significant amount of money to survive due to lower costs of living but you still need some way of paying your bills. Even if ill and unable to work, generous friends and relatives or governmental support is critical. Before the advent of cash, people around the world used goods and services to barter and trade.

Companionship

Viewers who witnessed Tom Hanks create a friend named Wilson out of a volleyball in the movie "Castaway" saw the importance of companionship for survival. Being alone and having no one with whom to share your life might not kill you as quickly as hunger or dehydration but it will eventually erode your will to survive. Having the love and connection of at least a pet is critical.

Means of Communication

Cut yourself off from any way to communicate with the outside world and your survival will be limited. Communication is vital in general for companionship and helps you through rough times. Also, if you need assistance, calling for help is critical. Elderly people with physical problems know this and equip themselves with an automatic calling system when living alone.

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