Taking care of our Mental Wellbeing

Everyone faces challenges in life. How big or difficult these challenges are will be different for each of us but we all know what it’s like to feel drained and struggling to cope.

There are steps that we can take to care for our mental wellbeing… by following the ‘five ways to wellbeing’; just think of these as your 5 a day for your mental health; they are simple, accessible and achievable for everyone and choosing to act and engage in the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ will result in living well.

Each of the “Five Ways to Wellbeing” positively enhances wellbeing, when you have these positive experiences you will change how you think and behave, enhancing your mental capital and becoming emotionally more resilient. Below we talk about the ‘five ways’ and each section has some questions to prompt you to think about each ‘way to wellbeing’!

Connect

Building solid and varied social connections in your life can increase your happiness and feelings of self-worth. Each person you meet is a doorway into another world! Strike up a conversation with a stranger, reach out to friends, or connect with people who share your interests! Social media platforms can be a great way to connect with people who share similar interests and friendships are often formed through these mutual interests!

When you connect, does it have a positive impact on your life?

How can you can incorporate positive connections into your life?

Be active

Now… let’s not get this twisted – what you do with your body can have a powerful effect on your mental wellbeing. Gym not your vibe? There are loads of ways to keep active whilst enjoying life. Plank for 1 minute, take the stairs instead of the lift, attend a dance class, or climb a mountain! Our bodies are capable of achieving some amazing feats and when we are active and achieving goals no matter how big or small, the chemicals and endorphins released send us some epic positive vibes!

Exercise makes you feel good and just a small amount has been shown to improve mental wellbeing. The first step is often the hardest, but the more you do, the easier it becomes

What steps could you take to be more active in your life?

Take notice

Happiness is often right in front of your eyes – more than enough to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more. Slow down! Savour the moment, whether you are bouncing around town, eating breakfast or chilling with friends. Remember, the past doesn’t exist anymore and the future hasn’t happened yet. There is only now.

Practice mindfulness!

Mindfulness is a skill that becomes more and more beneficial the more it is practiced!

When can you take notice and reflect on what you experience?

Keep learning

A comfort zone is a cool place but nothing ever grows there. Step out of the comfort zone. You will learn things you never knew you never knew. Take a course, learn to navigate, learn a new skill, or check out Ted Talks for thousands of short powerful talks delivered by world leading thinkers and doers! There is so many people out there to draw inspiration from, to learn from and to grow from.

People gain more satisfaction when learning is in tune with their own core values

The evidence shows that reflecting and being receptive to new learning enhances mental wellbeing – were you aware of this?

What would you be interested in learning?

Give

Whether it’s giving a friend a hand, throwing your weight in behind a cause that matters or just supporting other people in some way. Giving is like gold-dust for out mental wellbeing and it is so achievable!

Hold the door open for someone, be friendly to the shopkeeper, donate unwanted items to a charity shop, lend your voice to a cause that matters, or volunteer in your local community – this can remind you of your sense of purpose and make you feel happier and more satisfied about life.

You could give a smile or volunteer your time but what is important is that you choose to give.

How could you give more to others?

Summary

The ‘Five ways to wellbeing’ have been identified through extensive reviews of research; there is nothing new or surprising in these messages other than knowing that there is substantial evidence to support their value in living well and that small changes can make a big difference. In effect they describe some of the key components of a healthy emotional or social ‘diet’.

All five of these suggestions are free, easily achievable and applicable to anyone’s life regardless of their circumstances. Many of us will, in some measure, already doing some of the ‘Five ways’ some of the time without even being aware of it. Hence this may come across as common sense. However, as we know, common sense is not necessarily common practice and choosing to change our habits can be hard work. 

 

Some final thinking prompts…

What does wellbeing mean to you?

What do you do to promote your own wellbeing?

What small changes can you make to achieve your mental wellbeing 5 a day?

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