51 things you can’t live without (the most essential)

If you think of all the things you can’t live without, what comes to mind?

In terms of the essentials, there are a few which can’t be overlooked — air, water, food, sleep, and shelter. But what about the rest of the “stuff” that makes life worth living?

We’ve become conditioned to think there are certain things that we absolutely must have to make our lives more comfortable, convenient, and enjoyable.

Do you know the difference between what you have and what you truly need?

Try making a list of the 51 things you can’t live without. It’s a great way to check-in with what you have and what you might be aiming to attain.

Then you can compare with our list of 51 things you can’t live without and see how many match! Let’s jump right in.

1) Sunshine

I’m starting with one that many would agree is essential in life (quite literally).

A healthy dose of sunshine each day keeps our spirits and mood up, and also our vitamin D levels. High levels of this hard-to-access vitamin release a fair amount of serotonin (a happy hormone), which helps us to feel at ease and secure. It can also help with certain skin conditions.

With that being said, make sure you don’t turn red. Too much of a good thing can cause harm. And if you live in an area with thin ozone, sunscreen is always a must!

2) The internet

Yes, this is second on the list, but this isn’t in order of importance. Yet, sometimes a strong internet connection can feel more important than eating.

The very fact that you’re reading this article on the internet is proof that it’s something we can’t live without. Sure, it’s not essential to our survival but for many of us, the internet has become an integral part of our lives and daily habits.

Whether it’s to work, study, relax or socialize, everything can be done from the comfort of your home.

The key here though is to find a balance, so the internet doesn’t feel like it’s taking over your life (internet addiction is a real thing, guys).

3) Caffeine

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Whether you’re the straight-up, double espresso type, or more of a creamy, chai lover, caffeine for most of us is a must.

It gets us going in the morning or provides a pick-me-up during the day when energy levels drop. It’s also a way to have a quick conversation and catch up with a friend.

And although it’s unhealthy to consume it in high amounts, there are some benefits.

Studies have shown that caffeine may reduce the risk of stroke, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, and more.

4) Resilience

Do you know what holds people back the most in achieving what they want? A lack of resilience. 

Without resilience, it’s extremely hard to overcome all the setbacks that come with living a successful life. 

I know this because until recently I had a tough time overcoming all the challenges that came with the pandemic – financial worries and mental health issues – I wasn’t alone, many of us struggled during this time.

That was until I watched the free video by life coach Jeanette Brown

Through many years of experience, Jeanette has found a unique secret to building a resilient mindset, using a method so easy you’ll kick yourself for not trying it sooner. 

And the best part?

Jeanette, unlike other coaches, focuses on putting you in control of your life. Living a life with passion and purpose is possible, but it can only be achieved with a certain drive and mindset. 

To find out what the secret to resiliency is, check out her free video here.

5) Water

We need water to survive. As a planet and as individuals, it’s essential to our existence, but that’s not the only reason it’s on this list.

The other reason is that nothing hits the spot like a fresh glass of water on a hot day. A cool sip can bring down your body temperature and give you immediate relief.

And only true water lovers will understand when I say that some water tastes better than others.

If you know, you know.

And if you don’t, get out there and start hydrating yourself. Your body will thank you for it later.

6) Breath

If breath awareness isn’t essential in your life, it should be. Of course, we all breathe automatically. But it’s the one autonomic function in our body that we can consciously alter and manipulate.

Taking longer and slower exhales can immediately lower our heart rate and calm our minds down.

Using breath as mediation can help to lower stress levels, create better self-awareness, and achieve higher levels of creativity. It can also help you to:

  • Heal past trauma and get your energy levels feeling vibrant and charged
  • Combat negativity 
  • Overcome stress and anxiety 
  • Empower you to handle and experience the full range of your emotions 

Our emotions can wreak havoc over us if left unattended but focused breathing can help us to create balance and calm within.

7) Books

Is there anything better than getting immersed in an amazing story, and feeling utterly captivated?

Reading a book can immediately transport you into another world. It’s the cheapest way to travel.

You can also play out completely different life experiences and learn from the wisdom and triumphs of others, without having to go through the same pains of learning.

Sure, films can take us into someone’s else mind and world, but that too but there’s something about a tale unfolding in your imagination and the depth that some authors can take you to, that can’t be matched on the screen.

8) Love

It would be crazy to think we could live without love. Even when we’re on the wrong side of it, with all the heartbreak and sorrow, we still pick ourselves back up and continue the search for it.

But what if love isn’t something you can find? What then? How will you feel about the people who constantly leave and disappoint you? Will it eventually worsen and make life that much harder for you to carry on? These are all questions that a lot of people ponder.

Myself included.

You see, most of our shortcomings in love stem from our own complicated inner relationship with ourselves – how can you fix the external without seeing to the internal first?

I learned this from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, in his incredible free video on Love and Intimacy. He answered many of the questions above and provided a different way of looking at love.

So, if you want to find the love you deserve in life, I highly recommend checking out his advice.

Check out the free video here.

You’ll find practical solutions and much more in Rudá’s powerful video, solutions that’ll stay with you for life.

9) A phone

A phone is much more than just a means to communicate, it’s an alarm clock, a camera, an audio player, a tiny TV, and more.

So many of us run our businesses and social lives on our mobiles.

Without it, many of us would be lost (quite literally, since no one knows how to read a paper map anymore).

YouTube video

10) Pets

Pet parents, you’ll agree with me when I say there’s nothing like coming home to your furry companion at the end of a long day.

Whether you’re a cat, dog, or iguana lover, the bond that we form with our pets is unique and they truly become a part of the family.

Cats usually gravitate towards people who are consistently kind and caring, while dogs enjoy the company of lovers who will be available to them at any hour of the day.

On the other hand, iguanas need a partner who is patient and understanding — ideal qualities for most humans.

But of course, you can never really tell what a pet is looking for until you’ve bonded with it.

11) Good friendships

And on the topic of pets, you can’t beat having good human friends either.

Even if it’s just one good friend who’s always by your side, their support and company can make the trials of life much easier to bear.

Having a best friend can make a bad day better, a constant person to connect with, and someone who knows you well and can give you some much-needed advice.

Having any type of relationship can be good for the soul, so why not make the most of it?

12) Movies

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I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like watching movies.

Whether you’re into extreme horror or soppy romantics, nothing beats a captivating storyline and top-notch acting. Just as books allow our imaginations to run wild, movies transport us to another world.

13) Hand sanitizer

Sorry folks, this one had to make it onto the list. Hand sanitizer was fairly common pre-pandemic, most people carried one in their bag or had a bottle sat on their desk at work.

But in more recent times, hand sanitizer has become gold dust in some places, with everyone much more conscious of hygiene and keeping clean.

If you’ve ever traveled to dense cities like Mumbai or Cairo, just touching a slip of money or a taxi handle can make you very thankful to have some trusty hand sanitizer nearby.

14) A passport

I don’t know about you, but when I got my passport for my first travel experience, my life significantly changed. I went on a trip to Itlay and was hit with wanderlust, a strong desire to roam and wander.

Most people associate wanderlust with the strong urge to travel and explore. But even if your desire only stretches to a week on a beach somewhere hot, traveling is an incredible experience.

And it can only be achieved (in most cases) with a passport.

15) Strawberries

Strawberries with cream. Strawberries with chocolate. Topped on pancakes. Blend in a smoothie. Straight off the vine on a hot summer day…I could go on…

The point is, strawberries are delicious. When you find them and pick them yourself, they taste even more incredible.

And even better, they’re packed with nutrients like vitamin C and potassium. Not only do they taste yummy but they’re also great for your health.

16) White noise

If you didn’t know about white noise before, now you do (you can thank me later).

This one is for all the light sleepers out there. The sound of my neighbor sneezing down the street was enough to wake me up but playing white noise ensures a good night’s sleep or to focus on a work task that is taking up a lot of mental energy.

If you can’t make it to a quiet public place to work with some white noise distraction, you can find stations and apps online that can help you create an ambient sound atmosphere that can help you to relax or be more productive.

17) Headphones

Headphones come in handy in many situations — studying, working, exercising, on a long flight, you name it.

From the days of carrying a heavy jukebox or walkman around to light, wireless earphones that are barely visible, headphones have come a long way.

Plus, isn’t noise cancellation great when you need to concentrate or sleep during your travels?

18) The news

As depressing as the news usually is, most of us check it daily. And with advances in technology, we no longer need to wait to read in the paper or to watch it on TV.

We all love a good story and to keep up with the buzz of what’s happening in the grand world.

Now, the news is accessible 24/7 on our phones. And although too much of anything isn’t healthy, keeping up to date with affairs around the world is never a bad thing.

19) Online banking apps

While we are on the subject of useful media and apps, online banking has changed life in ways younger generations might never appreciate.

Do you remember having a paper bank book and waiting hours in line for a teller to fill out a form for you to take out cash? A trip to the bank used to take up a whole morning.

Instead of physically standing in line at the bank now you can manage your money with the tap of a button — if that isn’t convenient I don’t know what is.

20) Chocolate

No list would be complete without chocolate and as much as many people see it as a cheeky indulgence, it has some great benefits.

Due to the high levels of antioxidants in dark chocolate, it can help lower cholesterol levels and cardiovascular issues. The trick is to remember is to keep the cocoa content as high as possible and the added sugar as low as possible.

The more pure and concentrated, the better the chocolate is for you.

21) Cozy pajamas

If you haven’t invested in a decent pair of cozy pajamas yet, you’re missing out. I’m talking about soft, thermals that feel like you are wrapped up in a blanket.

For those of you who prefer to sleep in the nude, a cozy set of bedding will do the trick.

And since many of us have been working from home during the pandemic, it’s no surprise that pajamas sales have soared, hence why cozy pajamas have earned their place on the list!

22) A yoga mat

I’m not going to list all the benefits of practicing yoga (because there are many) but I will say that investing in a yoga mat is a great way to start getting active. Having your mat is like training with your pair of running shoes. It’s not something that feels ideal to share.

I use my mat for meditation, stretching, yoga, and more, so it’s a versatile tool that’ll always come in handy. The thicker the better.

23) A hairbrush

It’s the simple things in life but both men and women benefit from having a hairbrush. Brushing your hair daily keeps the oils in your scalp releasing and protecting your hair and it also stimulates hair growth.

When you have a good styling brush, you can make sure that every strand is perfectly tended to.

Now, if you’ve got perfect hair that naturally falls into place, the rest of us envy you. Whether you’re dealing with bed hair or high humidity, a hairbrush is essential to tame your mane.

24) The ocean

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Even if you didn’t grow up close to a coastline, the ocean is a must for everyone to experience. I don’t know about you, but as soon as I hear waves and see the sun lapping on the surface of the ocean, I feel at home.

The sheer size, depth, and color of the ocean are enough to captivate anyone. We dream of sailing, diving, and exploring its waters. The ocean is inspiring and relaxing.

There’s nothing like listening to the sound of the waves to let your mind wander and rest.

25) Documentaries

Documentaries have come a long way. From the slow-paced, often dull documentaries that used to be around, we’ve now got fast-paced, gripping docuseries that cover everything from climate change to murder investigations.

They compel us to learn more about the world around us, connect with the stories of others, and find inspiration in our own lives. What’s your latest favorite documentary to watch?

26) Peace and quiet

Have you ever got home from a long day and craved some quiet time? You’re not alone.

This isn’t just a personal preference, humans need time to sit and reflect. It’s in these quiet moments that you have time to process your thoughts and emotions and re-energize yourself ready to tackle the world again the next day.

You don’t have to be introverted to appreciate a calm and quiet atmosphere to take a rest in. We all crave some time alone in peace and quiet.

27) Brunch

Brunch is on the list, because, well, brunch is awesome! It’s that simple. You get to stay in bed late, treat yourself to a lazy morning, meet good friends, and indulge in sweet and savory foods.

Whether you enjoy it with avocado on toast at a hip cafe or you whip something up at home, a mid-day treat is always a good idea.

It’s a great way to enjoy unwinding and slowing down from a fast-paced workweek and evening out.

28) A form of transport

Unless you’re within walking distance of all the things you need in life, most of us rely on some form of transport.

In most major cities, public transport is fast, reliable, and (generally) affordable, and it’s never been easier to get around.

And for obvious reasons, having access to transport or a car allows us freedoms we wouldn’t have without them — workwise and in our personal lives. I love going around on my scooter and my road bike. The more you can use your body to get around, the more you can reap the health benefits.

29) Carrier bags

It’s an obvious one but carrier bags just make life so much easier. And, I know I’m not the only one who hoards them under my bed, waiting for the carrier bag apocalypse to occur.

The good news is now there’s a bigger push on using bags for life and moving away from plastic — so we can still enjoy the convenience of the mighty carrier bag without harming the environment.

I always have a bigger bag than I need, because it allows me to run errands and pick up goods without worry.

30) A good night’s sleep

Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Not only does it help our immune system, but it improves concentration and memory function, whilst reducing weight and stress.

The recommended amount for adults is around 7-9 hours and having a good bedtime routine can help you achieve this amount (that means switching off Netflix at a decent time before you sleep).

There are lots of suggestions for helping you lull away faster. Some of them are setting up a cool, dark space, getting off the screens at least an hour before you sleep, and eating light at night. The more you tune into your evening habits, the more you can see what works for you.

31) Moisturizers

There are a million products out there, all claiming to give us great skin.

But the truth is, a simple skincare routine is all that’s needed, and that includes having a good moisturizer to keep skin soft and supple (guys — this applies to you too!).

The younger you start this, the better. Trust me, you tend to your skin with proper hydration and sun protection, the younger you will look as you age. It’s a great habit to get into early.

32) Children

Whether you want to have them or not, children are undeniably an integral part of our society. Not only are they a source of happiness and love for their families but they’re the next generation.

The future of the world lies in their hands, so it’s important to give them the attention and care they need to thrive.

Children are a great source of spontaneous joy. You never know exactly what they will say or do and they do come up with some sage advice and moments of surprising joy.

33) Laughter

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Could you live without laughing? I know I couldn’t.

Learning to laugh even in the most terrible of times has been my savior on many occasions because ultimately life is too short to wallow in misery.

Plus, laughter releases endorphins which could reduce stress and boost your immune system. So, maybe laughter is the best medicine!

34) Money

Again, another obvious one, is that we live in a world governed by money.

Sure, it’s not essential for our health and survival, say like water or air, but without it, we’d struggle to survive in society.

Now, depending on where you live and the type of lifestyle you want to have, some of us need more of it than others — but in all cases, it’s good to have a balance between making money and living a balanced life.

35) Sex

We are sexual beings. And more than just for the need to reproduce, sex is a major part of our society, regardless of whether some people still regard it as a taboo subject.

From the films we watch to the songs we listen to, we’re surrounded by sex, so it’s only natural that it’s on the list.

Sex is an important part of relationships. It strengthens bonds and not to mention provides a lot of pleasure. But the good news doesn’t end there, sex also boosts self-esteem and reduces stress — a double win!

36) Spring

Spring is one of the most important seasons because it’s a symbol of hope. It signals that the bleakness of winter is behind us, and longer, warmer days are ahead.

Not to mention, some studies have shown that springtime reduces crime rates and boosts our immune system thanks to vitamin D from the sun.

37) Hot showers

Whilst the benefits of taking cold showers is undeniable (one look into the Wim Hof Method will explain why) there’s still nothing like a hot shower on a cold evening.

And there are still great reasons to have them — hot showers help clear up certain respiratory issues and can relax muscles paving the way for better sleep.

38) Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a wonder plant. There are so many benefits that make it the ideal plant for everyone — from its soothing effects on sunburns to clearing up oily skin.

Not to mention when digested, aloe vera can help with blood sugar levels, keeps us hydrated, and topped up with vitamin C.

Having a plant nearby is the best way to access this healing plant. You can cut off a piece, place it in the fridge, and then cut it to extract its soothing gel.

39) Good neighbors

It might not be on the top of your list but having good neighbors can be a lifesaver, literally.

They’ll look out for your house when you’re away, collect mail and parcels, and provide great company and support whenever you need it.

And if you don’t know your neighbors? Be the neighbor you’d like to live next to!

Introduce yourself, be helpful and kind, because you never know when you might need their help in return.

40) Toilet paper

Regardless of where you are in the world, if you use social media you’ll have seen the crazy panic buying of toilet paper in many places, including the US, UK, and Hong Kong.

There’s something about the idea of running out of it that turns people into frantic toilet paper hoarders, so evidently, we can’t live without the stuff.

41) Plants

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The world would be a pretty bleak place without plants. Aside from looking pretty and brightening the place up, they also offer several benefits.

Plants are believed to boost mood, productivity, and even the air quality in your home. And with plenty of creative ideas online now, not having a balcony or garden isn’t a problem anymore.

42) Potatoes

Potatoes rank 6th in the chart of staple foods across the world, and let’s be honest, is there anything more glorious than the simple french fry?

Or maybe you prefer your potatoes mashed, or roasted. Or fried…I could go on but the point is, potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, and for good reason.

And if you can’t live without them, don’t worry. When eaten alongside a balanced diet, potatoes are a great source of fiber, can lower blood pressure, and help with digestive health.

43) Video calls

Since the pandemic, video calls have become a primary source of communication and interaction with others. Whether it’s for work meetings over Zoom, or family catch-ups and quizzes, video calls have become more essential than ever.

And while some of us might be sick of video calls by now, there are still numerous benefits.

Being able to see family and friends rather than just hearing their voices can reduce loneliness and improve social relations.

Not to mention, it’s been an important part of education for many children who needed to be taught remotely.

44) Cake

Another universally loved dessert, every country has its signature cakes and sweet dishes.

Whether it’s the humble sponge or a decadent multi-layered chocolate cake, there’s always a type to suit every taste preference.

And the great news is that now, cakes can be bought almost everywhere and tutorials are abundant online on how to bake them at home. So, there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to have your cake and eat it!

45) Lazy days

We all need some time off now and then. Just a day to do nothing except whatever your heart desires.

For some, that looks like staying in and binge-watching series, for others it’s to catch up on sleep.

Whichever way you like to spend it, it’s good to make time for it.

Research has shown that being lazy (in small doses) is good for you — it reduces the risk of burnout, boosts your overall immune system, and can even clear up your skin!

46) Take out food

It’s not surprising that take-out food comes to mind alongside lazy days. But the truth is, being able to order food and have it delivered is such a luxury many of us are used to, it’s hard to imagine a world without it.

Now, many healthy restaurants offer take-out or delivery services, so we’re not just restricted to fast food (although nothing beats a good pizza).

47) Adventure

Having a sense of adventure is a wonderful thing that shouldn’t be restricted to childhood. We all need to get lost in something thrilling, that takes us away from our routines and obligations.

And whether the adventure is hiking in unknown mountains or agreeing to a blind date, there’s no wrong way to go about, it as long as it gets your heart racing.

48) Games

From the humble board game (which is now making a comeback) to video games online, “playing” for adults is just as necessary as it is for kids.

As well as reducing stress levels (which we could all do with) it’s a great way to bond with others and form strong connections.

Not to mention, playing games can stimulate the mind and boost creativity, so the next time you’re struggling to get your creative juices flowing, stop for a quick play and reenergize yourself.

49) Exercise

It’s a no-brainer that exercise is on the list.

Even if you don’t enjoy it, you can’t deny that your body feels better, your mind is more focused, and you have more energy when you work out a little each day.

And it’s not only the short-term effects that we need, but regular exercise also can add years to your lifespan.

But that’s not all — some studies have shown that exercise makes you happier than money — and unless you need a gym membership, most people work out for free!

50) Kind gestures

The thing with kind gestures is that they evoke so much more than just appreciation.

When a stranger, or even someone you love, goes out of their way to be kind to you it revives hope in humanity. And it works both ways. When we’re kind to others, we feel good too.

Not only is this something we can’t live without, but it’s something we should actively practice and encourage.

51) Music

Without music, the world would lose a lot of its magic. Dancing to it, singing, creating it, and running around to it makes life a little more upbeat and happy.

Think about watching a film with no build-up in the background. Imagine a world without Beethoven, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, or Ed Sheeran…

It’s hard to do because music speaks to our souls.

It transcends language barriers, unites people, and evokes emotions we’re not even aware we have.

And studies have shown that music can reduce stress and anxiety, whilst also boosting mood and cognition.

Picture of Kiran Athar

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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