The Six Human Needs by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

We all understand our basic human needs for life that include food, shelter and clothing. But, did you know that there are six emotional human needs that we also require for our happiness? When you have an understanding of these six human needs and set out to ensure that you get each of these in your life, you can help ensure that you experience a more fulfilled and satisfied life.

1. Uncertainty/Variety – Most of us desire security at least to some extent, it is the uncertainty that keeps our adrenaline flowing. Each of us need different levels of uncertainty and risk, but we all need it. Whether your uncertainty needs are met by taking on new business ventures, gambling or simply trying something new every few months, it is important not to neglect your need for excitement.

2. Connection/Love – Each of us also needs human connection and intimacy. For many, this is found through romantic relationships. However, most of us thrive when we have a variety of connections in our lives, including romantic relationships, family relationships and friends.

3. Significance – Humans need to see that their lives have significance and importance. Each of us seeks this significance in different ways, with some people putting a great deal of importance in leaving a business or volunteer legacy, while others get their fulfillment from raising children. Though the ways we seek significance vary, each of us wants to know that our lives have been meaningful to the world.

4. Growth – Humans are meant to evolve and change. We are happiest when we seek new opportunities to learn and grow. Stagnation creates unhappiness. When we are not growing we are dying.

5. Contribution – Each of us wants to contribute to the world around us, through our families, our communities and our workplace. When we can give to another human, we gain fulfillment. We can get the other five human needs met in part when we contribute.

6. Certainty – Though we love variety and risk, humans need some things in life we can count on. Too much uncertainty breeds anxiety. Each of us takes comfort from the things we know we can count on, like the continuity of long-term relationships and the peace of mind we get from simple practical matters like saving money or owning our home.

As each of us seeks to increase our resilience for handling the curves life throws us as well as our success in our professional and personal lives, it is helpful to take occasional stock of where we are in having these six needs met. When you have a dose of each of these in your life, you are well on your way to feeling fulfilled and happy.