Five ways to wellbeing
Good mental health isn’t just about being free from depression. We can all benefit from taking a positive and proactive approach to our wellbeing, and this can help us to get better, stay well and even prevent mild depression from happening in the first place.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are simple actions we can do in our everyday lives to help us feel good and function well. The five ways are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give, and were developed by the New Economics Foundation. In the depths of depression it’s unlikely we’ll feel well enough to manage all these,but when we’re feeling stronger they can help us stay well and to live life to the fullest. Boosting our wellbeing isn’t just important for our own health; our workplaces, communities, friends and family will benefit from small changes we can all make for a healthier lifestyle. Learn more about the evidence behind the Five Ways.
With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, or at home, work, school and 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 everyday.
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. If you find it hard on your own, talk to a friend, family member or work mate and help motivate each other. Go to your local library and see what activities are on offer in your area.
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 can give you a boost and doing it with others can help 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 can 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. Start a group. Search on the internet for your local voluntary action service. Explore local timebanks. 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.