Steps to Improve Wellbeing

Though being mentally and physically well, sometimes we need a little extra support to keep well. Evidence suggests there are 5 simple steps to maintain and improve our wellbeing. If we try to build these into your daily life. A small improvement in wellbeing can help to decrease some mental health problems and also help people to flourish.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) on behalf of Foresight, sets out 5 actions or steps to improve personal wellbeing. These five steps are given below:

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Connect with surrounding people: family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors at home, work, school or in the local community. Building these connections will support and enrich one every day.

There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world. Keeping this in mind, we can try the following things to 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.
  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is.
  • Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.

Be Active
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Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise provides good feelings, so we can go for a walk or run, cycle, play a game, garden or dance. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take the stairs, not the lift
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime
  • Walk into work, perhaps with a colleague to ‘connect’ as well
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the final part of the journey to work
  • Organize a work sporting activity
  • Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before leaving for work in the morning
  • Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing.

Take notice
Be observant, look for something beautiful or remark on something unusual. reminding ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness. Savour the moment, whether we are on a bus or in a taxi, eating lunch or talking to friends.

Be aware of the world around heightened awareness as well as enhances self-understanding and allows to make positive choices. So take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Get a plant for workspace
  • Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • Take notice of how colleagues are feeling or acting
  • Take a different route when journeying to or from work
  • Visit a new place for lunch.

Keep learning

Continuous learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and more active life. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression.

So don’t be afraid to try something new, rediscover an old hobby or sign up for a course. Take on a different responsibility, fix a bike, learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favorite food. Set Learning new things will make you more confident, as well as being fun to do.

The practice of setting a challenge or goals, related to adult learning, in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Find out something about your colleagues
  • Sign up for a class
  • Read the news or a book
  • Set up a book club
  • Do a crossword or Sudoku
  • Research something always wondered about
  • Learn a new word.

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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.

So, do something nice for a friend or stranger, thank someone, smile, volunteer your time or consider joining a community group. Look out as well as in. Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and will create connections with the people around you.

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