The thirteen fundamental needs

Although people may have different goals and wishes on the surface, deep down we all want the same things. Regardless of culture, age, and lifestyle, we ultimately share a set of fundamental needs. These needs are the basic requirements for our functioning, the nutriments for our development—and a vital source of meaning and happiness. This website gives an overview of 13 fundamental psychological needs. You can use the overview as a source of design inspiration or, if you like, as a means to explore your personal happiness.

Information on how the typology of needs was developed, can be found here:


Being the cause of your actions and feeling that
you can do things your own way.

Rather than feeling as though external conditions and other people determine your actions.


Feeling that the world is a place of elegance,
coherence and harmony.

Rather than feeling that the world is disharmonious,
unappealing or ugly.


Having an easy, simple, relaxing life

Rather than experiencing strain, difficulty or


Being part of and accepted by a social group or
entity that is important to you.

Rather than feeling you do not belong anywhere and have no social structure to rely on.


Having control over your environment and being able to exercise your skills to master challenges.
Rather than feeling that you are incompetent or ineffective.


Having and using a body that is strong, healthy, and full of energy.

Rather than having a body that feels ill, weak, or listless.


Seeing that your actions or ideas have an impact on the world and contribute to something.
Rather than seeing that you have no influence and do not contribute to anything.


Feeling that the world is a moral place and being able to act in line with your personal values.
Rather than feeling that the world is immoral and your actions conflict with your values.


Having a clear sense of what makes your life meaningful and valuable.

Instead of lacking direction, significance or meaning in your life.


Getting appreciation for what you do and respect for who you are.

Instead of being disrespected, underappreciated or ignored.


Having warm, mutual, trusting relationships with people who you care about.
Rather than feeling isolated or unable to make personal


Feeling that your conditions and environment keep you safe from harm and threats.
Rather than feeling that the world is dangerous, risky or a place of uncertainty.


Being mentally and physically stimulated by novel, varied, and relevant impulses and stimuli
Rather than feeling bored, indifferent or apathetic.