What is wellbeing? How do we find wellbeing? These are questions that people have been asking themselves for a long time. Quite recently, there has been a great deal of scientific interest in what ‘wellbeing’ is. What the scientists have found will probably not be a surprise to anyone. Wellbeing, loosely speaking, is our sense of how well our lives are going. We feel our lives are going well when we:
- have a sense of individual vitality
- take part in activities that are meaningful, engaging, and which make us feel competent and in charge of our lives
- have a stock of inner resources that help us to cope when things go wrong and be resilient to changes beyond our immediate control
These are things that require work and investment on our part. There are five things we can begin doing right away, in order to increase our wellbeing and the wellbeing of the people around us.
Our relationships are vital to our wellbeing. We can encourage wellbeing by investing time into the people in our lives, whether they are family, friends, colleagues, or neighbours.
Exercise has been proven to put us in a better mood and lower rates of depression and anxiety. We can all find a physical activity we enjoy that suits our level of mobility or fitness, whether it’s walking, cycling, dancing, running, gardening or any of the other hundreds of ways we can become more active.
We all lead busy lives and often feel as if we haven’t got the time to take it all in. Apparently, if we practice being aware of our sensations we can greatly improve our wellbeing. All it might take is noticing a sunset, relishing a sandwich, or savouring a cup of tea.
Our self-esteem, sense of our own competency, and sense of purpose can all be increased simply by never losing the desire to learn new things. If there’s something you’ve always fancied doing, whether it be learning to cook, or sew, or take photographs, then stop fancying and get doing.
There’s no getting away from it: our brains are hard-wired to enjoy the sensation of helping each other out. If you feel the reward areas of your brain need a good activating then all it takes is the simple act of giving someone a hand.
These tips for wellbeing have been taken from research carried out by the Wellbeing Programme at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). Another factor worth bearing in mind is that a healthy body is more likely to be home to a healthy mind. As well as exercising, we should eat 5 pieces of fruit and vegetable a day, drink more water, drink safe levels of alcohol, and not smoke.