Psychological needs are the essential, inner, subjective conditions that must be met for well-being. If we meet them well, we’ll experience lasting periods of peace, joy, and wholeness. When we meet our psychological needs both personally and interpersonally, we feel serenity, self-efficacy, contentment, and thriving. If we don’t meet them, we may become chronically frustrated, dysregulated, desperate, resentful, anxious, depressed, pessimistic, cynical, listless, numb, and nihilistic. As humans, we crave psychological nourishment as much as food and water. Nourishing our physical and psychological needs is essential to our well-being.

Everyone requires the same psychological needs. But we may value some more than others due to individual factors such as upbringing, genetics, and identity. Our early childhood experiences of not getting our psychological needs met is possibly the most important factor in determining which psychological need(s) we value most.
Psychological needs are subjective, meaning, we each have an inner sense telling us if these needs are met or not. Someone telling us our psychological needs are being met is insufficient, even though they might try to convince us otherwise. Just like someone telling you you’re not tired when you’re struggling to keep your eyes open doesn’t fulfill your need for sleep; someone simply telling us they understand us is unlikely to fulfill our need to be understood. We sense it within us. It is felt.

The 6 Psychological Needs:

1: Understanding

2: Acceptance

3: Connection

4: Safety/Security

5: Power/Control

6: Mastery

Psychological Needs: Summing it Up