You and your wellbeing
Wellbeing is feeling good and functioning well
Feeling good includes emotions like happiness, enjoyment, curiosity, engagement. Functioning well is your sense of purpose, achievement and control and choice over your actions. We need both of these areas to be fulfilled to have a positive experience of life.
Why is it important?
It’s not just about feeling well ourselves – our friends, families, workplaces and the communities we live in all benefit from us having a healthy, proactive approach to managing our wellbeing. Our wellbeing can be seen on a spectrum. Good emotional and physical health can slide into serious and enduring mental health conditions if we ignore our wellbeing and forget to care for ourselves.
Increasingly research is exploring a concept called ‘positive psychology’ – this new focus takes the shift away from the causes of emotional ill-health, and instead looks at what makes us feel good and function well. And that can only be a good thing!
What can I do?
Taking care of our wellbeing is something we can all do – it only takes a little change to make a big difference to ourselves and those around us. But good emotional health can slide into serious and enduring mental health conditions if we ignore our wellbeing and forget to take care of ourselves.
We want to assess where we are in the country regarding our wellbeing. By painting a picture of the nations wellbeing we aim to feed this information into improving frontline services and supporting people to manage their emotional health. To help us – and to give you an insight into your own wellbeing - please click here to complete ourwellbeing survey. It will only take five minutes. Once you’ve completed the survey, click here to explore your scores. To find out some great tips to managing your wellbeing, have a look at the suggestions below. The New Economics Foundation (as part of the Foresight project, 2008) have devised a set of practical, achievable and sustainable actions to help us: Five Ways to Wellbeing
Five ways to wellbeing
With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Do you and your workmates share a common interest? Do you know your neighbour? Keep in touch, make that call, write that letter, send that text, feel a valued sense of belonging. Building connections will support and enrich you every day.
Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Nature is good for us – being in green open spaces increases our sense of wellbeing and relaxation. Cycle to the shops. Play a game. Get muddy in the garden. Dance. If you find it hard on your own, talk to a friend, family member or work mate – help motivate each other. Go to your local library and see what activities are on offer in your area. Search the internet.
Don’t forget to eat well – nutrition is a key part of keeping active and keeping mentally and physically healthy. It doesn’t have to be boring or expensive: lots of fresh produce and omega-3 rich foods. Exercising makes you feel good and joining others helps you to feel connected. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Take time to breath, unwind: yoga, meditation, listening to music, reading a book – time on your own. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Get creative: draw, compose music, write poetry, act, dance, paint, cook, knit... Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun and a chance to connect with other people in your community or at work.
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Look out, as well as in. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Search on the internet for your local volunteer bureau. Explore local time-banks. Look in your library or community centre for ways to get involved. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
These quotes and suggestions are in part taken from the Foresight project Mental Capital and Wellbeing (http://foresight.gov.uk) published in October 2008.
The project commissioned the centre for well-being at nef (the new economics foundation – http://www.neweconomics.org) to develop a set of evidence-based actions to improve personal wellbeing.