The 5 Ways to Wellbeing

7/10/2019 |

What is wellbeing?

Have you heard this lovely fluffy word being banded around a little lately? When we think of wellbeing it might make us think of our health or how we are feeling, but one thing is for sure is if we want to be a Productivity Ninja it’s imperative to be aware of it.

The word wellbeing is associated with our mental health. There is an acceptance that “good” mental health is no longer just the absence of mental illness and we also understand that we can have any diagnosis and have good days and bad days aside from our illness. Understanding the triggers that push us towards those bad days is also another way of ensuring self-growth.

The below continuum from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) aims to illustrate this:

mhfa wellbeing

If we accept mental health and wellbeing is a part of every human being, just like physical health, it’d be useful to know how to enhance it to be our most excellent selves. If we have on-point wellbeing, we are more likely to not overspill our stress bucket when we have a bad day at work.

The UK government’s conversation surrounding mental health has been slow. Therefore, it is no surprise that it was only eleven years ago that the they decided to give us a message on how to look after our basic mental health. ‘The Five Ways to Wellbeing’ was aimed to mirror it’s much better known physical health counterpart ‘The Five a Day’ (which is now Ten!).

The 5 ways:

The 5 ways to wellbeing

Connect: go get deep with another human. Surprisingly we are designed to be around others, loneliness is one of the biggest killers. When we are sociable, we trigger oxytocin (happy hormone) production in the brain.

Keep Learning: try something new, burlesque dancing, a course on the evolution of humpback whales, how to achieve the perfect origami turtle. Whatever it is, using the brain stops you from losing it and learning gives a sense of purpose.

Being Active: activity is proven to increase serotonin, another happy hormone, a chemical that is actually manipulated in anti-depressant medication. However, it is important to find your activity, be that wild swimming, tree climbing or maybe just doing a spot of Marie Kondo around the house.

Giving: now this doesn’t have to be of monetary value – although prosocial spending is shown to benefit us. Giving of any kind to another, particularly those we have a connection with improves life-satisfaction, self-realisation and physical health. You could try practicing this on the tube in London through the gift of a smile.

Taking Notice: taking Notice borrows its principles from mindfulness and meditation. Taking notice is about being observant of your current environment, being in the moment and avoiding distractions like Instagram.

What now?

We know quick fixes make us feel good, but for a limited time. Therefore, after you’ve considered how much of the above you do, look at how you can build more in, even though it may be more time-consuming. For example, going out and ‘connecting’ can seem a pain, but how many times have we gotten home and thought ‘I’m so glad I went’.

If it all feels a bit overwhelming, set yourself a small goal by using the SMART goal principles (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely). It might sound ridiculous, but even penciling in a diary entry to look up local life drawing classes is a goal achieved. Achievement gives us a sense of purpose and a step towards the ultimate aim of becoming the next Leonardo Da Vinci.

If you’re interested in exploring what your current wellbeing is like, try the WEMWEBS (Warwick & Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale). Want to improve your wellbeing at work? Get in touch with us to discuss our attention management workshops.

 

Rebekah Few

NotLostbutFree.com

References:

(1)Lamers, S. M., Westerhof, G. J., Bohlmeijer, E. T., ten Klooster, P. M. and Keyes, C. L. (2011), Evaluating the psychometric properties of the mental health Continuum-Short Form (MHC‐SF). J. Clin. Psychol., 67: 99-110. doi:10.1002/jclp.20741

(2) The Five Ways to Wellbeing (2008), The New Economics Foundation. https://neweconomics.org/2008/10/five-ways-to-wellbeing-the-evidence

(3) Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological Science, 13(1), 81-84. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00415

(4)Young S. N. (2007). How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN, 32(6), 394-9.

(5) Aknin, L. B., Barrington-Leigh, C. P., Dunn, E. W., Helliwell, J. F., Burns, J., Biswas- Diener, R., … & Norton, M. I. (2013). Prosocial spending and

well-being: Cross-cultural evidence for a psychological universal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), 635. doi:10.1037/a0031578

(6) Post, S., & Neimark, J. (2007). Why good things happen to good people: The exciting new research that proves the link between doing good and living a longer, healthier, happier life. New York: Broadway Books.

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