COVID-19 Mental Health Self

Wellbeing thoughts: human needs

By Fiona Bugler • 19th May 2020

Human needs are something many are enquiring about as we’ve stripped back our lives during lockdown. We are left asking — what do we really need to feel happy and healthy?

Today I was inspired once again by Chris Evans on the radio. Chris Evans isn’t the most obvious person to inspire me to write about human needs. He’s a radio DJ, with a history of hedonism, but he’s someone who I’ve grown up with. He’s representative of many of my generation — from the memory-wiping 1990s to enlightenment in the 2020s. If you don’t know who he is, Look him up.


Chris loves Rich Roll — so do I, and many of the books I pick up and TV shows I watch are his recommendations, or he recommends things I already watch. He’s what I would call a middle-aged influencer and like me, he’s not a fan of Instagram.

Tony Robbins’ 6 Fundamentals

Today he talked about Tony Robbins’ recommendations for living well, the six fundamentals. Evans rightly points out that Robbins is not everyone’s cup of tea — ‘He’s Marmite (another UK reference to the yeast spread who’s ad slogan is ‘you either love it or hate it’),’ said Chris. But he also suggests that saying someone is Marmite isn’t such a good thing because as he points out everyone has a good side, it’s not black and white. Again I find myself agreeing, but I challenge my thinking when I’m running by thinking about Trump. There’s no love from me towards Trump, however, a bit of me can’t help admiring his absolute belief and certainty in himself. I have to stress finding the good in Trump is stretching it!

The Six Human Needs as outlined by Tony Robbins are:

1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure

2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli

3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed

4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something

5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding

6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others

As Chris explains everyone will put this list in a different order. For some certainty is up there as a number one need, for others it’s contribution. And it will likely change as we experience life differently. To live a happy and fulfilled life a person only needs three of these needs to be met.

Be Kind

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, and the theme is kindness – doing it can fulfill many human needs for others. Just glancing at the posts being shared (check out these stories) it’s clear to see that kindness, i.e. actively being kind, will help to satisfy at least two of our human needs — Contribution and Connection/Love as people share posts about their random acts of kindness, from helping those unable to shop due to isolation in the virus to gathering up clothes for expectant mothers. So go ahead, be kind, stay healthy, stay happy.

Read more: 

What does wellbeing mean for you?

Is it time to reconnect with our  communities?

Fiona Bugler

Fiona is the creator of all things editorial, she’s a journalist with a life-long passion for health, fitness and wellbeing. For more than a decade she worked with business leaders and large groups as a personal trainer and running coach and this background informs the content she creates.

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