The following steps have been researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation. Here’s 5 ways that we can all use to help live a mentally healthy life.
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.
- 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
- Give a colleague a lift to work or share a journey home with them
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 a level of exercise.
Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:
- Take the stairs not the lift
- Go for a walk at lunchtime
- Walk to work or school – perhaps with a friend or colleague – so you can ‘connect’ as well
- Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey
- Organise a sporting activity
- Have a kick-about in a local park
- Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before you leave your house
- Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing
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 wellbeing 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 or home
- Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
- Take notice of how your colleagues or friends are feeling or acting
- Take a different route on your regular journey to or from somewhere
- Visit a new place for lunch.
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:
- Find out something about your colleagues, family or friends
- Sign up for an exercise class or hobby
- Read the news or a book
- Set up a book club
- Do a crossword or Sudoku
- Research something you’ve always wondered about
- Learn a new word or language
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.
Here’s some suggestions to help you ‘give’ to others and yourself:
- Do something nice for a friend or stranger via random acts of kindness
- Donate unwanted clutter to a Mind Charity Shop
- Smile – this opens conversations and connects you to others
- Thank someone – we all like to be appreciated
- Join a community group that helps others
- Volunteer your time with us – join our movement here.