In light of Mental Health Awareness Week, Mind, the mental health awareness charity, highlight the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’. These are a set of pillars which are key to improving our mental health. Modelled by the New Economics Foundation, it is suggested that you, as an individual, can improve your mental health and wellbeing by integrating these activities into your daily life.
Connection is about relating to one and other and feeling understood. Speak to the people in your life, be it friends, family, colleagues or neighbours. Build new connections and expand your circle – this could be at work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Developing these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Engaging in regular physical activity is known to go hand in hand with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. You don’t need to be a fitness fanatic to boost your wellness through physical activity. Simply step outside or exercise your green fingers. Walk or run, cycle or dance. Exercise releases hormones that make you feel good. Most importantly, being active is about discovering a physical activity you enjoy that suits your mobility and fitness.
Take stock of your surroundings, be curious, catch sight of the beautiful. Being in a state of ‘mindfulness’ has been shown to be associated with a positive mental state. Savour the moment, whether you’re walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be present to your feelings and environment. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
Learning something new is good for your brain. Trying something different, rediscovering an old interest or signing up for that course you’ve always wanted to do can also improve confidence and widen our skillset. Take on a new responsibility at work, do some arts and crafts or pick up an untried recipe. The challenge and enjoyment of learning new things gives a sense of fulfilment that is second to none.
Giving encapsulates many things – from showing goodwill and generosity of spirit to giving presents and giving up our time. Why not do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. You could volunteer your time with a charity or join an online community to give and receive support in equal measure. The key to giving is to look outwards, as well as inwards. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.