The Five Ways To Wellbeing
May 18, 2020
Before we explore the five key components of this concept, it’s important to understand what is meant by the term “Wellbeing”. It’s a word that we both see and hear often, but that we don’t always give the necessary attention to.
Simply, wellbeing is defined as the experience of health and happiness. It includes such things as having good mental health, high levels of life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose and an ability to manage stress. But wellbeing can mean different things to different people. Another way of looking at it, is as being challenged academically, socially, or in other areas, but also being equipped with, and knowledge of how to implement, the skills necessary to overcome those challenges. And if at first you were unable to overcome that situation, learning from it, to better outfit yourself the next time you are faced with something similar. This allows us to feel a sense of growth and achievement which is essential to our personal development and happiness.
Take a few minutes to really think about what the word wellbeing means to you as an individual and possibly what areas you could stand to make improvements in.
Know that we have established what it is we are aiming to achieve using these 5 areas, lets begin to explore what those are, why they benefit us and how they can be easily implemented in day-to-day life.
Social relationships fulfil our fundamental needs of feeling valued and close to other people and contribute positively to the functioning of communities. These relationships are crucial for promoting wellbeing and protecting against poor mental health across all ages.
Here are some ideas for how to improve or make new connections:
- Talk to someone directly rather than sending a text or email
- Speak to someone new
- Ask how someone’s day or weekend was and really make an effort to listen to what they have to say
- Give a friend or colleague a lift to or from work or walk with a friend to school
Physical activity is associated with greatly decreased rates of depression and anxiety throughout all ages. Exercise is also essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and maintaining good physical health, which is a key element of wellbeing.
Exercise doesn’t have to be particularly intense in order for you to benefit from it, slower paced activities like walking can also encourage social interactions whilst providing a reasonable level of exercise. Two birds with one stone!
Here are some ideas of activities:
- Take the stairs rather than a lift
- Go for a walk during your lunch
- Walk to work or school
- Get off a bus one stop early and walk the remainder of the journey
- Organise a kick about with friends
- Do some low stress exercise like stretching before you leave for work/school in the morning
Being aware of what is presently happening around you can enhance your wellbeing and taking a moment to appreciate your surroundings (whether that’s people or a particular place) can help to reaffirm priorities.
Heightened awareness also improves self-understanding and allows you to both make positive choices and to recognise more of the positives that happen each day.
Here are some ways to enjoy the moment and the environment around you:
- Get a plant for your desk or workspace
- Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
- Keep a gratitude or positive diary and make a note of any good things that happen to you or that you do for others. No matter how small!
- Visit a new place or take a different route to work/school
Continued learning throughout life is important for everyone. It builds self-esteem, encourages social interaction and often a more active life.
There is evidence that suggests those with the opportunity to participate in educational activities at an older age can help to lift people out of depression or low mood.
Setting goals and then achieving them is strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing, but remember that when you achieve a goal, don’t rush on to the next one. Take a moment to appreciate your achievement, and don’t set unrealistic goals!
Why not learn something new today?
- Have a conversation with a friend or colleague and find out something new about them
- Sign up for a class. There are a lot of free options available online
- Read the news or a good book
- Do a crossword/Sudoku or other puzzle
- Research something you’ve been curious about
- Learn a new word
This is an area that has attracted a lot of attention with regards to wellbeing. Individuals that participate in social and community life are much more likely to rate themselves as being happy.
Research into actions that promote happiness have shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing and contentment.
- Complement a friend or even a stranger
- Donate to a charity; this can be with money or your time
- Take 10 minutes to have a conversation with an elderly neighbour
Over the next few weeks, try to do one thing from each of the 5 areas, and see how it makes you feel. See how it makes those around you feel better too. Although some of the options may not be realistic during the current situation, try to think about how you could work those things in to your routine or how you could engage with them better upon your return to work or education.