What is wellbeing and how do we improve it?

Monday, March 25, 2019

Mental wellbeing is all about your mental state, your ability to cope with everyday life and how you are feeling. Ever-changing, your mental wellbeing, when in a good place, can help you deal with life's stresses, to help you feel confident and to help you feel engaged with what's around you. 

You might have heard of the 5 steps to wellbeing, if not then we're taking a look at each step and how they can help improve your mental health.


This is all about connecting with those around you, developing relationships and building a network. This strengthens our wellbeing as it increases our sense of belonging and self-worth.

Strong relationships mean we have emotional support if times get tough and people to turn to should we need advice. Knowing that we have the option to share our problems enables a feeling of confidence. 

Equally being that support network for someone else helps promote positive mental wellbeing, as people are inherently social creatures, and even introverts get a mental health boost from interactions with close friends or family. 


Being active and exercising. This doesn't have to mean a huge exercise routine; just a daily walk or a yoga session is enough to give your wellbeing a boost.

By using your body you're producing more of the hormone which makes us happy - and in the process, you're becoming more aware of and confident in your body's abilities. According the the NHS, it "brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control, and the ability to rise to a challenge."


The ability to learn new things, whether it's a new language or just a new recipe, allows us to have a limitless source of achievement, and it's a major factor in boosting self-esteem and self-confidence.

It also gives us a sense of purpose, which is extremely important for people who perhaps do not get the same feeling from their day-to-day role, and the physical effects of continued learning on the brain allow us to stay sharp (and smart) well into old age. 


Interestingly, while many of us may associate buying things with happiness, material possessions don't count toward our overall wellbeing - but giving generously might. 

Research has shown that giving and co-operating with others stimulates the reward areas of the brain, and gives us a higher sense of self-worth. Small acts of kindness whether that be:

  • volunteering in your local community
  • giving your time to help a friend/relative move house
  • arrange a day out for someone close to you

can strengthen relationships and give us a sense of real purpose.


Being mindful is an important concept when we talk about wellbeing. It's easy to dwell on the past or worry about the future, but mindfulness means really recognising the present moment, acknowledging how you're feeling without self-judgement or concern.

Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says: "It's easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour".

National mental health charity Mind say mindfulness helps you:

  • become more self-aware
  • feel calmer and less stressed
  • feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
  • cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
  • be kinder towards yourself.

We've recently launched our health and wellbeing strategy HOListic Wellbeing, build around the 5 ways to wellbeing model. The programme involves events and initiatives that will run throughout the year that fit into categories of either connect, active, mindful, learn or give; with the overall aim of improving personal wellbeing.

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