Our capacity to be the best we can be – to be courageous, creative, playful, calm and compassionate is built of the foundation of our vitality. Our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing supports us to embody our very best qualities

We have all heard the phrase “running on empty”, and we also know that we can’t pour from an empty cup. But did you know that we all actually have 7 cups that we need to monitor and refill in order to stay well*?

These ‘cups’ may vary in size from person to person, but we all have the same set of cups. Each cup represents a need that must be met for us to experience a sense of balance, fulfilment, happiness and well-being.

When ours cup are full, we have the strength, motivation and energy we need to embody the most vibrant expression of all we are. And when our 7 core needs are not met, we can find ourselves in survival mode with our best qualities way out of our reach.

We all need:

CONNECTION: Our need for acceptance, belonging, affection, appreciation, love, and community.

PHYSICAL WELLBEING: Our need for nourishment, rest, sleep, safety, shelter, and touch.

HONESTY: Our need for authenticity, integrity, and presence.

PLAY: Our need for joy, humour, and light-heartedness.

PEACE: Our need for harmony, ease, inspiration, order, equality, and beauty.

AUTONOMY: Our need for freedom, choice, independence, and spontaneity.

MEANING: Our need for contribution, growth, hope, learning, challenge, purpose, and discovery

One of my biggest needs (or “cups”) is the need for Physical Wellbeing. If I don’t feel physically fit and strong, I just don’t feel like myself. So, I have learnt over the years that I really need to prioritise challenging daily exercise. My high-intensity early morning training sessions are one of my non-negotiables.

My husband’s cup sizes are different.  His Physical Wellbeing Cup is smaller than mine and he is quite content to walk our dog most mornings. However, he needs lots of quality family time to fill his Connection Cup.


I invite you to reflect on the following questions:

  • What is the relative size of each of your cups? (perhaps you might like to draw them)
  • What fills each of your 7 cups?
  • How might you let more “cup-filling” people/activities/creatures/things into your life?
  • What are your 3-5 ‘non-negotiables’ – the things you need most to feel like yourself
  • How might honouring these non-negotiables uplift you & those you work with?
  • What is your next best step?


Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again.”
Henry David Thoreau


*SOURCE:  The Centre for Nonviolent Communication

NOTE: This post was inspired by The Phoenix Cups