Think LSR – Five Ways to Well-being

The Five Ways to Well-being are a set of evidence-based public mental health messages aimed at improving the mental health and well-being of the whole population.

They were developed by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), a British charitable institution that promotes “social, economic and environmental justice”. Since their intro- duction in 2008, the Five Ways to Well-being have been adopted and developed by a wide range of healthcare organisations, mental health charities, community groups and companies across the world.

THE FIVE WAYS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1 CONNECT

There is strong evidence 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 is clear that social relationships are critical for promoting well-being 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 about someone’s job 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 the journey home with them

2 BE ACTIVE

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 does not 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 as providing some level of exercise.

Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:

  • Take the stairs not the lift
  • Go for a walk – how far have you walked if you go once round the upper deck?
  • Walk into work – perhaps with a colleague so you can “connect” as well
  • Organise a work sporting activity
  • Do some easy exercise, like stretching, before you start work in the morning
  • Walk to someone’s work desk instead of telephoning

3 TAKE NOTICE

Reminding yourself to “take notice” can strengthen and broaden your 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-under- standing 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:

  • Watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Have a “clear the clutter” day in your cabin or workspace
  • Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting
  • Take a different route on your journey to or from work
  • Try something new to eat and really think about the new flavours

4 KEEP LEARNING

Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.

The practice of setting goals, in particular in relation to adult learning, has been strongly associated with higher levels of well-being and lifting people out of depression.

So why not learn something new today? Here are a few ideas:

  • Find out something about your colleagues, particularly those from other cultures
  • Enhance your professional knowledge – study towards additional qualifications
  • Read the news or a book
  • Do a crossword or sudoku
  • Research something you have always wondered about – perhaps learn about the next port
  • Improve your language skills – try to learn a new word or phrase every day
  • Try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog or learning to paint

5 GIVE

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy, and 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 well-being.

What can you do for others?

  • Make a colleague a cup of tea or coffee – Help to raise money for a charity
  • Volunteer to assist with charity work
  • Help a colleague with a task
  • Say thank you to someone for something they have done for you

Clearly, not everybody can do all the activities suggested above, but everyone should be able to do at least some of them. They key is not to set goals that are too ambitious: try “a little and often” and, over time, these activities will turn into good habits which will contribute positively to your well-being. We would welcome your feedback on how this works for you!

Peter Chilman, QSE Manager