The Five Ways to Well-being are a set of evidence-based actions, researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation which promote people’s wellbeing. They are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. These activities are simple things individuals can do in their everyday lives:
Feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need. Social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and can help reduce the risk of mental ill health for people of all ages. With this in mind, try to do something different today – and make a connection.
- Talk to someone instead of sending an email
- Speak to someone new
- Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
- Phone or meet someone you care about for a proper catch up
- Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is also essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being. It doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the added benefit of encouraging social interactions as well as providing some level of exercise.
‘Taking notice’ of the world around you, in the here and now, can directly enhance your wellbeing. Many of us spend so much time thinking about things in the past or worries about the future that we don’t enjoy the moment and the environment around us. Try taking some time every day to savour the moment and the environment around you.
A few ideas:
- Go for a walk and make a conscious effort to notice the landmarks and landscape on your route
- Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
- Go somewhere pleasant for lunch, away from your normal setting, and really savour the environment and the tastes and textures of your food
- Take notice of how people around you are feeling or acting
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Signing up for a night class or pursuing a new interest or hobby is a great way to boost your wellbeing. However, you don’t have to sign up to a formal activity to learn new things. Here are a few more ideas which you could try building in to your regular activities:
- Find out something about your colleagues
- Read the news or a book
- Set up a book club
- Do a crossword or Sudoku
- Research something you’ve always wondered about
- Learn a new word every day
Participation in social and community life – by volunteering for example – is strongly linked with improved wellbeing. Research has shown that carrying out an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.
For further information about the evidence behind the five ways to wellbeing, please click here.