5 Ways to Mental Well-being

1. Connect

Each person you meet is a doorway into another world. Building solid and varied social connections in your life can increase your feelings of happiness and self-worth.

  • Make time every day to spend with your family – ask them about their past. They are the best link to your past and usually most likely to stick with you in the future
  • Arrange to meet up with friends you haven’t seen for a while
  • Speak to someone you’ve often wondered about saying ‘hello’ to.
  • Phone or visit someone instead of texting them
  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is or ask them about their weekend and really listen when they tell you.

2. Be Active

Let’s not get it 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 stay active whilst enjoying life. Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety.

  • Plank for one minute! Doing this for a minute today will reap huge benefits.
  • Need to go somewhere? You can take public transport and arrive feeling stressed and flustered, or you can rock up on a bicycle and arrive feeling fresh and revitalized, Bicycles save us money and keep us fit at the same time.
  • Take the stairs not the lift
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime
  • Walk into school – perhaps with a friend – so you can ‘connect’ as well
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey
  • Go for a kick-about in a local park
  • Do some ‘easy exercise’ like stretching, before you leave for school

3. Take notice

Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you, reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness. Being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.

  • Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • Take notice of how your family, friend or peer is feeling and acting. It will help you realise when you need to be there for them. The more you help them, the more likely they are to realise when you need support too.
  • Take a different route on your journey to school.
  • Take notice of how you are feeling at this very moment, watch your thoughts and feel the sensations in the body
  • Slow down. Savour the moment, whether you are bouncing around town, munching breakfast or chilling with friends. Remember, the past doesn’t exist anymore and the future hasn’t happened yet.

4. Keep Learning

A comfort zone is a cool place but nothing ever grows there. Step out of the comfort zone. Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. Sure, you might feel awkward in the new environment at first, but great things never came from comfort zones.

  • Go online and check out TED for thousands of short, powerful talks delivered by world leading thinkers and doers. Watch one talk on a topic that interests you.
  • Surround yourself with people who share your interest – join a club or group will bring your interest to life
  • Sign up for a class
  • Read the news or a book
  • Do a puzzle like a crossword or Sudoku
  • Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food
  • Visit a gallery or museum and learn about a person or period in history that interests you

5. Give

Whether it’s giving a mate 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 our mental wellbeing. Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.

  • Stop to help someone struggling with their bags up some stairs
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Do a chore for your family
  • Is your friend struggling with something? – listen to them and help them take action
  • Sort through your clothes and items then go to a charity shop and donate something you don’t use
  • Volunteering in your local community can remind you of your sense of purpose and make you feel happier and more satisfied about life
  • Say thank you to someone for something they’ve done for you

The 5 ways to mental wellbeing was produced by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) on behalf of Foresight and the full document can be found here:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/five-ways-to-mental-wellbeing