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The five key ways to improve your wellbeing

Whether you feel worried, tense, sad, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, afraid or anxious, there are five simple and practical things we can do to feel better.

The five ways to wellbeing has been developed by the New Economics Foundation after looking at hundreds of research studies.

They found that those with good mental health were more likely to regularly be active, give back to others somehow, keep learning new information, take notice of their surroundings, and connect with others.

Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.

Feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need.

Connecting with others helps will help you to share how you feel, as well as give and receive emotional support.

There are lots of things you can do to connect with others, even when you are staying at home. Try some of the following:

  • if possible, take time each day to be with your family, for example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together
  • arrange a day out with friends you have not seen for a while
  • try switching off the TV to talk or play a game with your children, friends or family
  • have lunch with a colleague
  • visit a friend or family member who needs support or company
  • volunteer at a local school, hospital or community group
  • make the most of technology to stay in touch with friends and family. Video-chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful, especially if you live far apart

Do not rely on technology or social media alone to build relationships. It's easy to get into the habit of only ever texting, messaging or emailing people.

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

Giving to others creates a sense of reward, a feeling of purpose and self-worth.

Here are a few ways you can give:

  • say thank you to someone for something they have done for you
  • ask friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listen to their answer
  • spend time with friends or relatives who need support or company
  • offer to help someone you know with DIY or a work project
  • volunteer in your community, by helping at a school, hospital or care home, for example
  • surprise someone you live with a homemade gift or cooking
  • reach out to a friend or contact you may not have spoken to for some time

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being.

Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing.

Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Being mindful can help you understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel and how you approach challenges.

Visit the NHS website to read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.

There are some practical ideas you can try to help you to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:

  • have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • keep a diary of what you are doing and how you feel at different times of the day. This can help identify what’s affecting you and what you need to act on
  • during a daily walk or run, take note of your surroundings – this could include what you can hear, see and smell

To help you stick to the present and not worry about the future, you might want to consider limiting the time you spend watching, reading or listening to news.

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

So why not get physical? Book in a regular slot every days to try some of these ideas:

Do not feel that you have to spend hours in a gym. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life.

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

  • try learning to cook something new. Visit the NHS website for more information about healthy eating and cooking tips
  • try taking on a new responsibility at work, such as mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills
  • work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger. There are lots of free video tutorials online
  • consider signing up for a course at a local college. You could try learning a new language or a practical skill such as plumbing
  • try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint

Do not feel you have to learn new qualifications or sit exams if this does not interest you. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life

There is a lot of information here, and it can be easy to be overwhelmed.

The important thing to remember is that improving how you feel is about making small achievable changes over time. So make that first small step - sign a sign a pledge to improve your wellbeing this year.

Once you have signed your pledge, we will email you with motivation, tips and information you easily can put into practice over a number of weeks. That way you can break it down and make small changes over time without being overwhelmed.

This is your year to feel happier and healthier - sign a pledge to improve your wellbeing.

Last updated: 10/08/2022 16:04