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Here we look at five steps which have been developed and researched by the New Economics Foundation. Their research suggests that if we find ways to tie these into our daily lives, they can improve our overall well-being.

I have taken the information directly from the Mind website, with a few of my own suggestions based on the Mental Health Awareness Week's theme of nature.

Image by Priscilla Du Preez


There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.

It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection.

  • IIf possible, instead of another Zoom meeting, arrange to see someone for a walk

  • Speak to someone new - very easy if there is a dog involved!

  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is or ask about how their weekend was and really listen.

Image by Holly Mandarich


Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being. But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.

Here are a few ideas:​​

  • Walk into work - perhaps with a colleague – so you can ‘connect’ as well

  • Start running with help from the NHS couch to 5k podcasts

  • Try something a bit different like rollerskating, paddleboarding or hula-hooping

The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and not feel forced into doing something because you feel you should. There are so many options out there.

Image by Daniel Öberg


Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness.

Studies have shown that 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.

Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.

Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Get a plant for your workspace

  • Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day

  • Plant something new in your garden or for a windowsill

  • Visit a new place for lunch

  • Step outside, in your driveway, garden or street, and make a note of 1 or 2 things that you've never previously noticed

  • Try focussing more on one everyday activity such as eating, brushing your teeth or doing the dishes, without music or anything else distracting you.

Image by Burst


Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression. The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:​

  • Read about something that interests you - a time in history, the body, the scientific names for plants!

  • Learn an instrument (there are some great apps for this)

  • Set up a book club

  • Sign up for a class you've been meaning to do

  • Do a crossword, Sudoku or jigsaw

  • Research something you’ve always wondered about

  • Learn a new word.

Image by Tim Marshall


Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research. Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.

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.

Some ideas:

  • Pick up an extra item at the supermarket for a local food bank

  • Go for a walking or running challenge and get people to sponsor you

  • Keep a seperate box for charity - every time you clear out a cupboard or sort a drawer, stick items in the box and take it to a charity shop or wait for a bag to drop through the postbox.

Read the report from the New Economics Foundation that the 5 ways to wellbeing are based on. Taken from their site they say:
"The messages identified in this report are intended to have generic appeal, while offering concrete activity-based ideas on how to improve personal well-being. They aim to prompt people into thinking about those things in life which are important to their well-being and perhaps should be prioritised in their day-to-day routines...Rather than encouraging a completely novel set of behaviours, the outcomes of a campaign of this kind are, therefore, more concerned with increasing the time people spend in activities known to enhance wellbeing".

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