The pressures of modern life mean people are more stressed than ever before; juggling careers, health, family, finance and everything in between can take its toll if we don’t find ways to manage our stress and prioritise our wellbeing.
Whether you’re navigating through a difficult time or simply trying to keep daily stresses from clouding your outlook on life, we’ve got the simple tips and tricks you need to increase your feeling of wellbeing and stay positive whatever life throws at you.
Wellbeing vs happiness
Mental wellbeing is about more than just happiness. Overall wellbeing involves both the mind and body, and a deep sense of wellbeing is not just about happiness but about living in a way that’s good for us and good for others.
A sense of wellbeing isn’t about eliminating all the bad things from our lives and only focusing on the things that are good and easy, but rather finding some balance and having the resilience to cope with unusual or difficult situations when they arise.
Many of the things we think will improve our wellbeing – wealth, more possessions, or expensive holidays – don’t actually lead to lasting improvements on our lives. Despite Britain being richer than ever before, evidence from census and population studies show we don’t feel any happier than we did 50 years ago despite increases in wealth and access to new goods and technologies.
In the last 20 years, extensive research has helped psychologists narrow down a list of five key factors that help promote a real, lasting sense of mental wellbeing in our lives. Here’s what to do:
- Find a connection – Loneliness is especially challenging for us as we age and our families move away or friends die. Connecting with other people is essential for our sense of wellbeing, whether it’s friends, family, community members or colleagues. Time spent developing meaningful relationships contributes to a deeper sense of wellbeing.
- Stay active – Staying active doesn’t need to mean a rigorous workout routine. Take a walk, spend some time in your garden, go swimming or take up tennis with a friend. Finding an activity you like will make it easier to make it part of your life.
- Spark your curiosity – Learning new skills is a way for us to feel capable, gain a sense of achievement and build confidence. Stay curious and look for new opportunities to learn as you go through life – it’s never to late to learn an instrument, try a new hobby or master a new technique.
- Give back – Giving of ourselves to others helps us feel part of a community and feel our lives have meaning. Giving back can be as simple as sharing a smile with a stranger, opening a door, saying thank you or sharing a kind word with a friend. Volunteering is a great way to combine giving back with a social element and often leads us to learn something new as well. Are there any causes close to your heart you could get involved with?
- Be mindful – Mindfulness is an important buzzword but also a great way to improve your sense of wellbeing. At its heart, it’s all about living in the present moment and appreciating what’s around you right now. Being aware of how you feel and think can help you appreciate the good things in your life and bounce back after challenging experiences. If you’re interested in mindfulness you can learn more about how to incorporate it into your everyday.
Curious about your own wellbeing? Find out how happy you are using the NHS Wellbeing Self-assessment.
What can you do to increase your sense of wellbeing?