Five simple steps that anyone can take to improve their wellbeing are: connect with others, be physically active, pay attention and be mindful of your self and surroundings, keep learning and spend time helping others.Summary by The World of Work Project
Wellbeing can be defined as a state of feeling healthy and happy. As a concept, it brings together both physical and mental wellness and has connotations of peacefulness, contentedness, harmony, connectedness and a lack of negativity or disruption.
Here, we focus on five simple steps that anyone can take to improve their wellbeing. If you’re looking for more you can do, you might also like the GREAT DREAM personal happiness model (which we have yet to write about).
Humans are fundamentally social beings. Building and improving relationships, spending time with others and feeling close to and valued by people generally helps our wellbeing. Even small or brief human connections can be helpful.
To improve your sense of connectedness you might want to talk to someone instead of sending an email, speak to someone new, ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you, put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is or give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.
2. Be active
Physical activity is great for both physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise helps to keep the body in good working order and it also releases endorphins that create a sense of happiness and which reduce stress.
To improve your physical activity you might take the stairs not the lift, go for a walk at lunchtime, get off the bus early and walk the final part of your journey, do some sports in a local park, do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before you leave for work in the morning or decided to walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing.
3. Take notice
It’s all too easy to be caught up in your thoughts and feel too busy to appreciate the things that are all around us. Finding a way to be more aware, present and “in the moment” has been shown to reduce stress and to improve appreciation and wellbeing.
Things you could do to help you take notice include getting a plant for your workspace, learning some breathing exercises, practicing mindfulness, having a clean up day at work, setting aside time to appreciate the moment, taking a new route to or from work or visiting a new place for lunch.
4. Keep learning
Learning new things and developing new skills and abilities is an investment in yourself and it feels good. Increasing your ability can help to increase your sense of self worth and status and it helps to improve self-esteem and wellbeing.
Things you could do to help you learn and develop further include joining your colleagues in activities they might be undertaking, signing up for a class, reading the news or a new book, setting up a book-club, doing crosswords of Sudoku, researching things you’ve always wondered about or even simple things like learning a new word each day.
5. Give, and help others
Giving and contributing towards others is rewarding on many levels. Doing so helps individuals feel both capable and valued, and doing so also often results in gratitude and thanks, which are both powerful forms of social recognition. All of these factors help to improve wellbeing.
Things you could do to to help others more include becoming a volunteer at a local charity, helping out at your child’s school, donating to charity, becoming a mentor or “buddy” in the workplace, support local community activities, volunteering to support a local religious group or becoming a befriender.
The World of Work Project View
Wellbeing is hugely important and these steps, while simple, can be powerful. If you feel your wellbeing isn’t what it should be, we recommend that you try some of these simple activities as a starting point and see if you feel your wellbeing improve. If you are serious worried about wellbeing though, we recommend seeking professional support.
Sources and further reading
Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.
Most of the original work on which this post is based, comes from a collaboration between two UK charities, the New Economics Foundation and MIND. You can read more about their work here.
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