#Wellbeing series: Five Ways to Wellbeing – A guide to improving your mental wellbeing

Five Ways to Wellbeing – A guide to improving your mental wellbeing

Buzz Manchester Health & Wellbeing Service

What is mental Wellbeing?

Mental wellbeing is dictated by how good a person feels about themselves and how they live their lives. If a person has a positive outlook on this, they are generally satisfied with their lives and are more relaxed, able to think clearly, have a fulfilling social life and be optimistic about their future. They also tend to have higher resilience when dealing with bad times and can cope more successfully.

Building mental wellbeing and resilience creates positive health outcomes for a happier and healthier life. It also reduces the risk of developing poor mental health.

The five ways to improve our mental wellbeing

  1. Be active.

Even 10-15 min of physical activity per day can greatly improve your mental wellbeing. You don’t need to do anything too intense like going to the gym; you can go for a walk, do some housework or gardening; yoga and dancing are also excellent forms of exercise. It is more important to find something you enjoy to do it regularly without forcing yourself.

  1. Connect

Try to keep connected to the people in your life like family, friends, colleagues etc. Becoming isolated will hurt your wellbeing, so it is worth spending time and effort building up your connections.

  1. Give

Doing something nice for someone else gives a very positive feeling of accomplishment and helps build these social connections. You do not need to make extravagant acts of goodwill; sometimes, smiling at your neighbour and wishing them a good day can make you feel better.

  1. Keep learning.

Trying to learn something new or picking up an old hobby is good exercise for your mind. You can learn whatever you like; it doesn’t need to be a new subject or language; it can be something simple like learning how to cook a new meal. New information keeps your brain stimulated and less likely to focus on negative thoughts.

  1. Take notice.

To take notice is to “be present in the here and now”. Be aware of what is happening around you and pause, even for a couple of minutes, to spend some time in silence and slow down time to reflect on your thoughts and emotions.

Putting it into practice

When trying to change our behaviour and routines is important to keep practising and make a conscious attempt to stick to them. The 5 steps to wellbeing are a good way to achieve that without feeling too overwhelmed and still give you enough flexibility to adjust to your schedule. As you develop your strengths and resources, you will also be more resilient and able to deal with challenges when they arise.

When trying new things, taking the first step can feel scary, and this fear can prevent you from doing the things you enjoy. If you a struggling with taking the first step, try making a list with the following questions and answer them honestly. Having an opportunity to plan your actions, account for what may go wrong and prepare how to overcome this can help you overcome this fear:

  1. What will I do first? 
  2. When will I do it?
  3. What might stop me from doing it, and how will I overcome this?
  4. Is what I plan to do:
  • Useful for understanding or changing what I do?
  • Measurable, so that I will know that I’ve done it?
  • Realistic, practical and achievable?
  1. How could be using the ‘five ways’ positively impact my personal and professional life?
  2. What will prompt me to use each of the ‘five ways?
  3.  Is there anyone I’d like to ask to support me or share this with?

For the full guide, access: https://d1jw0l0b625fbx.cloudfront.net/docs/Five-Ways-to-Wellbeing-December-2016.pdf 

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