How to Improve your Health & Wellbeing
We seem to live in difficult uncertain times which can have a negative impact on our individual and collective wellbeing.
It can lead to feeling of despair and disempowerment. On top of that the pace of life seems to be increasing along with working hours. The constant need to be connected via social media means it is hard to switch off and recharge our batteries.
But there are small, simple and often free changes that can make a real difference to your everyday life and wellbeing- in turn impacting on the wellbeing of those around you. If you lead others will follow creating a ripple effect of positivity.
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” Nelson Mandela
The Five Ways to Wellbeing framework was developed by the New Economics Foundation as a set of evidence-based actions that promote wellbeing. Based on the latest scientific evidence the simple actions, if taken regularly, can improve wellbeing and enhance quality of life.
Doesn’t seem hard does it? I bet your already incorporate some of those into your everyday life, take a moment to think if you do. Sometimes just recognising the good things we do for ourselves and others can have a positive impact.
Let’s look at some ideas for 5 way to wellbeing:
Connect With friends, family, neighbours. Think about your relationships at home and work, invest time in developing them. It could be a small as a text or really listening to your partner when they are sharing about their day.
Say hello to someone new, every friend started out as a stranger! Find new ways to connect with others- Join a meetup group or start a hobby, if you have a shared interest your half way to a friendship.
“It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us.” – Epicurus
Give Do something for a friend or stranger- a simple thank you or a smile. Try a Random Act of Kindness– pay a coffee on for another customer or help someone carry a heavy bag- small things can make a big difference.
Volunteer for a charity or lend your voice to a cause. Link with your community, it could be a local park clean up, a community get together or support for those more vulnerable.
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Be active You don’t have to spend hours in the gym everyday if that’s not your thing. Go for a walk, get off the bus a stop or two early. Cycle, run or dance- ask a friend to try a new sport together. Or play a game with your children- get them active too.
Find something that makes you feel good, that works for you- the more you enjoy it the more likely you are to continue- make sure it suits your level of mobility and fitness
Take Notice Be curious- it’s easy to be caught up in ourselves and miss the world around us. Notice the changing seasons, the new around you. Be in the moment, in the here and now whether you are on a train or eating your lunch- really be there and savour the moment.
Slow down and notice how you are feeling, connect with your breath and reflect on what is important to you in this moment. Try a Mindfulness practice, there are loads of great Apps and resources if you want to explore more.
Keep Learning Try something new or rediscover an old interest. Learning doesn’t have to be regimented or hard- it can be fun and inspiring. Set yourself a new challenge- it could be a new responsibility at work or learning how to cook a new dish.
Learn an instrument or a language. Sign up for a course or get a friend to share their knowledge. Learning something new increases your confidence and continues to keep the brain active.
“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.”– Albert Einstein
Be trying some of these actions you will improve your wellbeing and physical health. We can all prioritise other things and say we don’t have time, but is there anything more important than leading a happy, healthy and meaningful life?
Be the change you want in the world and start today.
All MHFA courses from Aware Training include how to make the most out of the 5 ways to wellbeing. You can also find more here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/