Become more satisfied: Are your 4 basic needs met?

Feeling more balanced and happier: This works best when you know your basic psychological needs - and take care of them. These steps will help.

Mavie editorial team22/09/2023

Basic needs

Do you actually know your basic psychological needs? The factors that contribute to you feeling self-confident, being able to approach others openly and being able to control and regulate your thoughts and emotions well?

The 4 basic psychological needs

According to the German psychotherapist Klaus Grawe, we humans have four basic needs that are necessary for comprehensive well-being and work-life balance.

  • the need for orientation and control
  • the need to gain pleasure and avoid pain
  • the need for connection
  • the need for self-esteem enhancement and self-esteem protection

If these basic needs are not met, our behavior patterns become rigid and we act less confidently.

Why are these our basic needs?

Why we need control and orientation
Whether at work, at home, in relationships – we need a feeling of control and orientation in order to plan and rely on others. But the whole thing goes even deeper: This area also includes the need to decide for myself (In which area do I want to work? What do I buy? Where and with whom do I live?). We want to have influence with actions and words, have inner control, be able to move freely and understand why we are doing well or badly.

Why we strive for pleasure
Sure, we instinctively look for pleasurable experiences and want to avoid unpleasant or painful experiences as much as possible. In principle, desire drives us: If we are presented with the prospect of something beautiful and pleasant, we approach the task with more energy. Regular, pleasurable experiences in everyday life - e.g. eating well, being lazy, pursuing hobbies - also increase our mood and thus our performance. But pleasure also needs displeasure, because if you want to achieve long-term goals, you have to be able to deal well with feelings of displeasure in order not to give up prematurely when problems arise.

Why we crave connection
Whether family, friends or other communities: stable relationships give us security and are therefore an important pillar of satisfaction. Love and family happiness are one of the most important goals in life for many people - after all, the human brain is specialized for communicating with others and keeping track of social relationships in a group. In addition, human closeness triggers the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin, which creates an enormous feeling of well-being.

Why we need self-esteem enhancement and self-esteem protection
To be valuable and to be recognized - for many people this need is an enormous motivation. Positive feelings are triggered when we receive praise, those around us have trust in us, we achieve the goals we have set ourselves and can celebrate successes and are aware that mistakes are part of life and do not change our value.

Properly nurture your basic psychological needs in four steps

More satisfaction? That's how it's done! If you take these four points to heart, you will get to know your own needs better and see more quickly where there may still be an imbalance in the satisfaction of needs.

  1. Ask yourself the right questions
  2. Integrate need fulfillment into everyday life
    Try to always take your four basic psychological needs into account in your daily, weekly and monthly planning. Plan...
    ...something for pleasure
    ...something for bonding
    ...something for the feeling of orientation and control
    ... something to protect your self-esteem
  3. Change your perspective when there are conflicts
    When things break down between people and conflicts become more intense, mentally switch sides and think: What needs could lie behind this for me and the other person? Given these needs, what could I do to better manage the conflict? How could communication be better? How would I feel if I succeeded in de-escalating?
  4. What basic needs do I (still) miss out on?

Get active now

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