Five Ways to Wellbeing

There are some key lifestyle choices which people can make to improve or maintain thier mental health. Due to the Covid19 outbreak society has switched from ‘living’ to ‘survival’ mode. We are worried about our health, our finances, and our families. The extra stress this is putting on us can feel overwhelming so now more than ever it’s paramount to try and address this stress and in turn protect our mental health.

The following steps have been researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation as part of a project which aimed to draw on global, evidence-based research to create a set of actions people could use to improve their own wellbeing though life. They are known as the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Connect…

There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.

It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

With this in mind, try to something different today and make a connection:

  • Talk to someone rather than sending a text message, or email
  • Ask how people are feeling and really listen when they tell you. Don’t seek to reply, listen to understand
  • Make contact with someone you’ve lost touch with because life got in the way

Be Active…

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.

Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being. 

But it doesn’t neet to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower paced activities, such as walking, can be benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.

Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:

  • If you have stairs at home, climb and descend them 5-times
  •  Get out and go for a walk each day. We are allowed to go out once a day for exercise, take advantage of this
  • If you have a bike, alternate each day with a walk and a bike ride
  • Do some ‘easy-exercise’, like stretching, before you start work, whether this is at home, or if you required to go into your place of work
  • There are a wide range of free online exercise sessions available online for every level of fitness. Try some of these.

Take Notice…

Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden your awareness.

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.

Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values, beliefs and motivations.

Take some time to enjoy the moment and environment around you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  •  Sit in the garden and take 15-minutes to really observe your surroundings. See spring emerging, listen to the bird song
  •  Take a shower or bath. Really take notice.  How does the warm water feel? Notice the smell of your shower gel etc
  • If you’re working from home eat your lunch in a different room to where you are working and take notice of what your eating, how you’re eating, take notice of what your tasting rather than just functional eating

Learn…

Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression.

The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:

  • Sign up for a class – there are vast number of short courses available online. Check some out
  • Read a book, or reading quality news from credible sources to keep up to date with current affairs
  • Research something you’ve always wondered about
  • Do a crossword, Sudoko or use an app such as Lumosity to train the brain

Give…

Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research.

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. 

Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing. So, check in with that neighbour who could be vulnerable due to the current crisis. Do they need any help?

 It take’s time and invetsment in yourself to keep yourself protected from modern life, especially in these uncertin times. 

Try some of the advice above today.