Five Ways

To Wellbeing

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are simple actions to practice each day to maintain or improve our mental health and wellbeing. The New Economics Foundation developed the set of evidence-based actions in 2008. The project examined research from across the world on proven actions that can help us to feel good and function well.

  • Small improvements in wellbeing can increase our ability to lead a more fulfilling life.
  • Each action in the Five Ways to Wellbeing can make a positive difference to your life.
  • The Five Ways to Wellbeing are free and easy to incorporate into your life.
  • You are probably doing some of these actions already without being aware of it.
  • To get the most from the Five Ways to Wellbeing, try to combine all of them on a daily basis.

What is Wellbeing

  • Wellbeing is feeling good about yourself, the world around you and functioning well in everyday life, most of the time. Being resilient and coping with the normal stresses of life is also an important attribute of wellbeing.
  • There are many things that can influence your wellbeing. These include exercise, diet, sense of belonging, relationships, career, self-care, spirituality, money, where we live, and sense of purpose.
  • Wellbeing is much broader than simply how happy you are. It also includes how satisfied you are with your life, your sense of purpose, and how in control you feel.

Take a moment to read through our examples and see how much time you give to the actions each day. Life can be hectic at times, but taking time to incorporate one or more of the Five Ways to Wellbeing can improve wellbeing.

Connect

Make time each day to Connect. Connect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. By staying connected and nurturing these relationships we feel happier and more secure, giving us a better sense of purpose.

Be Active

Look for ways to be active everyday. Go for a walk or a run. Step outside. Cycle, play a game, garden or dance. Discover a physical acitivity you enjoy which suits your lifestyle and level of mobility and fitness. Research has shown being physically active can improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Take Notice

Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Be Curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Pay attention to the present moment – to your thoughts, feelings and to the world around you.

Keep Learning

Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Cook a new recipe. Take on a new responsibility. Setting yourself a new challenge and learning a new skill will increase your confidence which can improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Give

Giving to others is good for you. Do something nice for someone else. Thank someone. Volunteer your time or join a community group. See yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and create connectedness with the people around you.

Connect

Be Active

Take Notice

Keep Learning

Give

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Connect

Relationships with family, friends, colleagues and the wider community are important for mental wellbeing. Building stronger, wider social connections can help you to feel happier and more secure, and give a greater sense of purpose.

Many of us would like to spend more time with the people who are most important to us but sometimes life can get in the way. When we connect with others regularly we are nurturing these relationships which can help us to feel happier and more secure, giving a better sense of purpose.

Tips to Connect

  • Join a local book club.
  • Join a local sports team.
  • Reconnect with a friend you have not seen in a while.
  • Switch off the TV and play a game with your kids.
  • Volunteer at local hospital, community groups.
  • Plan an event at your work/school that helps people connect.
  • Make time each day to catch up with friends, family or co-workers. This could include ‘family time’ that is a fixed time to connect each day.
  • Arrange a day out with friends you may not have connected with recently.
  • Reduce your screen time when you are in company. Put the phone away, close your laptop, turn off the TV and have a chat.
  • Leave your desk for your lunch and sit with a colleague catching up on non-work matters.
  • It can be as simple as a smile at a passer-by.
  • If you’ve become a bit isolated or don’t know where to start, just begin with something small, try building a better connection with a few people.
  • A large scale review of indicated that the individuals with stronger social relationships had a 50% increased likelihood of survival than those with weaker social relationships.

Connect with people around you, old friends/relatives you haven’t seen in a while, another
student/co-worker you haven’t spoken to before.

Try to link this action with other actions in the Five Ways to Wellbeing, e.g. Connect with others while doing an exercise class (Be Active).

The Most Important Things in Life are the Connections You Make with Others

Tom Ford

The Most Important Things in Life are the Connections You Make with Others

Tom Ford

Be Active

Being active is good for your physical and mental wellbeing. Regular physical activity is associated with a greater sense of wellbeing and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Physical activity can help change the chemicals in our brain which can result in a positive mood change. There is some evidence to suggest that exercise can bring about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge.

Being active doesn’t mean you need to train for a marathon. Find a physical activity that you enjoy and can fit into your daily/weekly routine. Just ten minutes of physical activity a day can make a difference to your mental wellbeing.

Tips for Being Active

  • Instead of driving, walk or cycle to public transport.
  • Take the stairs where you can.
  • Walk throughout the day when possible.
  • Try to stretch throughout the day, especially if you sit a lot.
  • Book an exercise class that you will enjoy.
  • Download a fitness app to motivate you to walk or run.
  • Plan your week on a Sunday, aiming to include more physical activity throughout the week.
  • Join a local walking or sports group/club and make new connections while keeping active.
  • When catching up with friends, meet in a local park/walkway instead of a coffee shop.
  • Set yourself a fitness challenge.

Do what you can to stay active. Try a new class in the gym, walk instead of getting the bus, garden, dance, or cycle. Choose something you enjoy, and suits your mobility and fitness.

Useful links:

Try to link this action with other actions in the Five Ways to Wellbeing. E.g. Be Active while Learning something new in a new fitness class you have not tried before.

Being active for one hour
is just 4% of your day.

Mental Health Ireland

Being active for one hour is just 4% of your day .

Take Notice

It is easy to rush through daily life without stopping to notice the world around you. Paying attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts, feelings, and to the world around you can improve your mental wellbeing. When you take yourself back into the present moment, it can help you to appreciate the simpler things in life. This can also help to focus your mind on one thing at a time. Self-awareness and knowing what makes you happy, sad, angry or excited are very important to look after yourself during good and not so good times.

Awareness of feelings also helps you to notice signs of stress or anxiety and helps you to prepare better coping mechanisms.

An important part of Taking Notice is to reconnect with your body and the sensations you are experiencing. This can be something as simple as the feel of your knife and fork in your hands.

Tips for Taking Notice

  • Take a mindful walk and notice one thing you have never noticed before.
  • Notice your breath in your body.
  • Spend some time in silence each day to reflect on your thoughts.
  • Mindfulness apps offer guided steps for being mindful throughout the day.
  • Yoga and meditation can create an awareness of the body’s sensations, thoughts and feelings.
  • Relax your shoulders and think about how your body feels right now.
  • Savour a snack or meal, notice how it looks, tastes, smells and feels.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Note 3-5 things you are grateful for every day.
  • Notice the sounds around you.

Try to link this action with other actions in the Five Ways to Wellbeing. For example, take notice when you are walking, or take notice of how the people you connect with are doing. 

When we become more aware of the present moment we begin to experience afresh many things in the world around us we have been taking for granted.

Professor Willem KuykenProf Clinical Psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.

When we become more aware of the present moment we begin to experience afresh many things in the world around us we have been taking for granted.

Professor Willem KuykenProf Clinical Psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.

Keep learning

Learning new skills is useful and can positively affect your mental wellbeing. Learning something new can boost your confidence, self-esteem, and give you a sense of purpose in life

Setting goals and working towards them plays an important part in the way learning influences wellbeing. Many forms of learning involve contact with others which connects us to our communities and peers.

Learning something new does not have to be daunting. Start with something small that interests you. This can be as simple as trying a new recipe. Learning a word from a different language, or discovering a new walking route.

Tips to Keep Learning

  • Look up a new recipe and cook it for yourself. This can be another way to connect with people in your life.
  • Take on a DIY project that you’ve been putting off.
  • Look for new opportunities at work. Learn how to use a new system or skill.
  • Learn something new about someone today.
  • Take up a new creative hobby and spend some time teaching yourself.
  • Discover a new route home.
  • Read a new book about something that interests you.
  • Apps can help you to learn a few words of a new language.
  • Begin a course in a local college or school.

Try to link this action in the Five Ways to Wellbeing. For example, keep learning while connecting with others, ask a friend to join a course with you, try a new fitness class to be active, take notice of how you are progressing at your new skill.

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you!

BB KingAmerican Blues Singer, Electric Guitarist, Songwriter and Record Producer

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you!

BB KingAmerican Blues Singer, Electric Guitarist, Songwriter and Record Producer

Give

Giving is good for others but it can also be good for you.  Giving of your time to others can be helpful and strengthen relationships or build new ones. Any act of kindness, whether small or large, can make you feel happier and more satisfied with life.

Tips for Giving

  • Thank someone for something they have done for you.
  • Ask a colleague to join you for lunch or a coffee.
  • Help a stranger with their bags.
  • Offer to help a family member or friend with a DIY project.
  • Help someone who might be in need.
  • Contact a local charity or Volunteer Ireland for more information about volunteering opportunities in your area.

Did You Know?

A recent report by Volunteer Ireland found that

  • 65% of respondents in the study reported an increase in their self-esteem;
  • 55% reported an increase in their mental health and wellbeing.
  • 81% also found an increase in feeling they were making a useful contribution to the community.

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give

Winston ChurchillFmr. Prime Minister of The U.K.

We make a living by what
we get, we make a life by
what we give

Winston ChurchillFmr. Prime Minister of The U.K.

For Further Support Contact The Samaritans

Samaritans is a unique charity dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection that can lead to suicide. Every six seconds they respond to a call for help. They’re there 24/7, before, during and after a crisis and they make sure there’s always someone there, for anyone who needs someone.