Five ways to mental wellbeing
Friday, October 9th, 2020 | Uncategorized
Connections, activity, learning, noticing and giving
If you are struggling with low mood, depression or other mental health challenges then please do speak to your doctor. It may be necessary for you to take some medication or see someone who can help you with your difficulties.
It is important for us to realise that we can all do small things that can help our mental health, whether we think we have difficulties or not.
Unfortunately, GP's and other health care professionals often do not have the time to talk to you about these small changes you can make.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the NHS and many other organisations including MIND all agree that incorporating elements of all 5 Ways to Wellbeing in our daily lives will help us feel better both mentally and physically. The 5 Ways to Wellbeing include; connecting with people, being active, learning, noticing and giving. Here are some ideas that might help you understand why it help and what you could do to increase ways of increasing your sense of wellbeing.
Nic Marks from the Happy Planet Index lists the five key factors to a happy and well-balanced life in this five minute video from THNK – School of Creative Leadership.
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.
It's clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against 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 - talk to the person serving you in the supermarket, connect with a friend you haven't seen in a while
- Spend time with nature, pets or animals
- Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them
- Cook someone a lovely meal
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
- Walk into work - perhaps with a colleague - so you can 'connect' as well
- Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work
- Organise a work sporting activity
- Do some 'easy exercise', like stretching, before you leave for work in the morning
- Walk to someone's desk instead of calling or emailing.
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.
'Beauty is everywhere, not everyone sees it' - Confucius
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 home
- Have a 'clear the clutter' day
- Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting
- Take a different route on your journey to or from work
- Visit a new place for lunch.
- Take time to enjoy your meal - savouring every bite.
“Develop a passion for learning, if you do you will never cease to grow” Anthony J D Angelo.
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 older 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 colleagues
- Sign up for a class
- Read the news or a book
- Set up a book club
- Do a crossword or Sudoku
- Research something you've always wondered about
- Learn to cook a new dish
- Take up something you used to do - sewing, model making, drawing, DIY.
Even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word.
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.
- Give a smile, a compliment, encouragement
- Giving a hand, giving way to another care
- Giving your time, a silent wish, a prayer
- Give yourself the gift of connecting, of being active, of noticing
- Giving thanks, being grateful for whatever good is happening in your life.
Sourced from NHS, Royal College of Psychiatry, MIND and Foresight.