Build Resilience by Meeting these 3 Core Needs

Updated: May 7

We as human beings have three core needs. They are the need for safety, the need for satisfaction, and the need for connection. When these needs are met, our brains and our bodies operate in a state of rest, humming along like a well-oiled machine.


When these three core needs are met, we’re resilient when we’re met with challenges, and can more quickly recover to the steady state of rest, productivity, and contentment.


If these core needs are not met though, these challenges become stressors. These stressors build on each other and create an overwhelming sense of dis-ease in our lives.


Each of these core needs has its set of challenges, affecting our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.


The challenges to our core need for safety come in the form of threats to our physical well-being. The challenges to our need for satisfaction come from loss and scarcity. The challenge to our core need for connection come in the form of rejection and not feeling like we belong.

To meet these core needs, our brain is always working towards avoiding harm (safety), approaching rewards (satisfaction), and attaching to others (connection). According to Dr. Rick Hanson, Ph.D. in his book Hardwiring Happiness, when we are successful and these needs are met, we live our lives in a responsive mode. When our needs are not being met, we are in a reactive mode.


What we feel when we're in a Responsive Mode:


When our core need for Safety is met we feel safe, protected, and confident, with a sense of peace. We feel calm, relaxed and strong.

When our core need for Satisfaction is met and we feel satisfied and sufficient, fulfilled, generous and content. We feel grateful, accomplished and successful.


When our core need for Connection is met we feel connected and inclusive, caring, empathetic and compassionate. We feel seen, appreciated, worthy, and cherished.


What we feel when we're in a Reactive mode:


If our core need for Safety is not met, we feel unsafe, like the world is a dangerous place. We resist our circumstances, we try to appease others, we avoid confrontation or fight, our central experience is fear. We feel angry, defeated, overwhelmed, helpless, weak.

If our core need for Satisfaction is not met, we feel dissatisfied, have a sense of scarcity, we grasp for what we don’t have, feel like we don’t have enough. We may be driven, or struggle with addictions. Our central experience is of frustration, disappointment, sadness, grief, and failure.



If our core need for Connection is not met, we feel disconnected, we tend to exclude or separate ourselves from others and cling to “our side” of an argument. We tend to judge others more harshly and we feel hurt, dismissed, unworthy, inadequate, envious, rejected, and ashamed.

So how do we get back into a Responsive mode?


When we start to recognize ourselves in reactive mode, it gives us an opportunity to explore which needs aren’t being met, and how we can meet those needs for ourselves. We have all of the tools and resources within us to meet our core needs. We don’t need to look outside ourselves for them.

We can train our brains to look for the good, to see the positive at any given time and to allow ourselves to soak it up so that we stay in or get back to the responsive mode. It’s not just a matter or positive thinking, it’s actually allowing ourselves to experience the good and let it sink in.


I help women build resilience by using yoga and mindset tools to explore which needs aren’t being met, and how we can meet those needs for ourselves. We have all of the tools and resources within us to meet our core needs. We don’t need to look outside ourselves for them.

If you’d like to chat more about how to restore balance to your body, mind, and spirit and spend more time in a responsive mode in this and any circumstance, I’d love to help.


I’m offering a Free Initial Yoga and Wellness Session so you can experience a coaching session and see how these tools can help bring a sense of peace and purpose to your life. You can schedule your session here.

Not ready for a session but want to join the conversation? I'd love for you to join our Clara Bella Wellness Community on Facebook. It's a welcoming and nurturing space for women to learn from and support one another. We'd love to have you there.

If you’d like to incorporate some of these tools into your daily practice. I've created some resources to share. You can access the Free Yoga and Wellness Tools resource here.


My hope is that you return to them often, whenever you need to check in, re-center, and feel at ease.