Applying these five simple steps have been found to support and enhance our wellbeing on a daily basis. They have been researched and developed by the New Economic Foundation (NEF) and are:
Feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and contributes to our wellbeing. Try to do something different and make a connection:
- Talk to someone instead of sending a text or email
- Speak to someone new
- Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
- Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
2. 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 need to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.
Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:
- Take the stairs not the lift
- Go for a walk at lunchtime – go with a friend or colleague so you can ‘connect’ as well
- Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey
- Organise or go to a sporting activity – don’t forget your Ffit card!
- Have a kick-about in a local park
- Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, when you get up
3. Take notice
Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden 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 and motivations.
Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:
- Get a plant for your workspace or home
- Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
- Take notice of how your family, friends or colleagues are feeling or acting
- Take a different route on regular journeys
- Take a walk in nature so you can take notice of the plants, trees or wildlife – you are keeping active and may even learn something new.
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 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:
- Find out something about your friends, class mates or colleagues
- Sign up for a class or learn a new sport to also keep active
- 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 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.