Five Ways to Wellbeing
Evidence show that good relationships with family, friends, colleagues and the wider community are important for mental wellbeing.
Many of us would like to spend more time with the people who are most important to us but sometimes life just gets in the way of that. We must make time to connect with the people that matter to us. By nurturing these relationships we feel happier and more secure, giving a better sense of purpose.
A 2002 study of 222 students in the US found that the happiest amongst the group had stronger social relationshipsthan those who were less happy.
Some tips to stay connected:
- Make time each day to connect with your family, friends and colleagues. This could include ‘family time’ that is a fixed time to connect each day
- Arrange a day out with friends you may not have connected with recently. Most people connect on social media sites like Facebook but a face to face contact spending your time with your friends is so much more meaningful and beneficial than a “like” or “comment” on Facebook.
- Reduce your screen time when you are in company. Put the phone away, close your laptop, turn off the TV and have a chat.
- Try connecting with someone new today. Talk to the person beside you on the train or in the shop. This conversation may mean even more to the person you connect with than you realise.
- Leave your desk for your lunch and sit with a colleague catching up on non-work matters.
- It can be as simple as a smile at a passer-by.
The most important things in life are the connections you make with others
Being active is great for your physical and mental wellbeing. Evidence proves there is a link between being physically active and good mental wellbeing.
Mental wellbeing means being feeling good about yourself and about the world around you and having the ability to get on with life in the way you want.
Being active doesn’t mean you need to train for a marathon. You need to find physical activity that you enjoy and can fit into your daily/ weekly routine. This may be a daily walk to the shops instead of taking the car, a weekly gardening session, some yoga, swimming or a weekend walk.
Scientists confirm physical activity can help maintain wellbeing and good mental health in a number of ways:
- Physical activity helps with mild depression. Evidence shows it can protect people against the onset of depression and anxiety.
- Physical activity causes a chemical change in the brain which can help change our mood.
- Physical activity brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge – all of which help improve wellbeing.
To get active and keep active you could join a local walking or sports group/club and make new connections while keeping active. There are many fitness apps available to help you get up and out with programmes for all abilities and activities.
It is easy to rush through daily life without stopping to notice much. Paying attention to the present moment – to our own thoughts, feelings and to the world around you can improve your mental wellbeing.
Taking Notice is also called Mindfulness. It is easy to incorporate mindfulness into your life and can be a very powerful tool if learnt and practiced daily.
Mental wellbeing means being feeling good about life and yourself and having the ability to get on with life in the way you want.
Many think about wellbeing in terms of what you have; your income, car, house or job. Evidence shows that what we do and the way we think have the biggest impact on wellbeing.
To Take Notice is to notice the sights, smells, sounds and tastes you experience as well as your thoughts and feelings that occur from one moment to the next.
It’s easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living in our heads. An important part of Taking Notice is to reconnect with our bodies and the sensations they are experiencing. It can be something as simple as the feel of your knife and fork in your hands.
When we become more aware of the present moment we begin to experience afresh many things in the world around us we have been taking for granted.
Professor Willem Kuyken, Prof Clinical Psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.
Most of us have issues we find hard to let go of and mindfulness can help us deal with them more productively. Awareness of this kind also helps us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them better.
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies
Learning new skills is both useful and it can also positively affect our mental wellbeing. Learning means different things to everyone. To some it will be a new qualification and to others it will be learning a new recipe in the kitchen.
Evidence shows that continuing to learn throughout life can help improve and maintain our mental wellbeing.
Mental Wellbeing means feeling good about yourself and the world around you and being able to get on with your life the way you choose.
Learning new ‘things’ can boost your self-confidence, self-esteem, build a sense of purpose and help us connect with others.
In 2004 a study of 145 adults took place. They interviewed about learning throughout life and various aspects of their health and wellbeing. The study found that people who involved themselves in more learning reported feeling higher self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with stress. They also reported more feelings of self-confidence, hope and purpose.
Setting goals and working towards them plays an important part in the way learning influences wellbeing. Many forms of learning involve contact with others which connects us to our communities and peers.
There are so many ways to learn new things without spending any money:
- Look up a new recipe and cook it for yourself, friends or family
- Take on that DIY project you’ve been putting off.
- Take on new responsibilities in work learning how to use a new system or skill
- Take up a new hobby like crocheting or drawing
- Learn a new language… and then travel there to practice your new skill!
- Start a new course in a local college or school
The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you!
Most agree that giving to others is a good idea however giving to others has a knock on effect on ourselves by improving the givers mental wellbeing.
From small acts of kindness to volunteering, giving can give you a sense of purpose, community and connectedness.
Sometimes we think of our wellbeing in terms of what we have; our income, car, home or job. Evidence shows that what we do and the way we think has the biggest impact on mental wellbeing.
Positive mental wellbeing means feeling good about yourself and the world around you and being able to get on with your life.
Helping and supporting others and working with others towards a shared goal is good for our mental wellbeing. A 2003 study in 373 older adults found that some aspect of wellbeing were higher in those who did volunteer projects compared with those who did not.
Scientists have shown that giving to others can stimulate the reward areas in the brain helping to create positive feelings. Helping others also gives a sense of purpose and feelings of self-worth.
Giving comes in many forms… here are a few ideas:
- Show thanks to someone for something they have done for you
- Ask a colleague to join you for lunch or a coffee
- Help a stranger with their bags/ onto the bus/ cross the road
- Offer to help a family member or friend with a DIY project they’ve had on the long finger
- Assist in a work project with a colleague in need
- Contact a local charity and find out what activities they have on in the coming weeks/months and volunteer your time. If you’d like to volunteer with Mental Health Ireland you can do so here.
We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give