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New Year's Resolutions: Wellbeing

What does "mental wellbeing" mean?

When we talk about mental wellbeing, what we're really talking about is happiness - although it's a little more complicated than that in reality! Rather than the instant happiness or gratification that we get from doing something fun, wellbeing refers to an overall contentedness and confidence in yourself - an objective which can seem difficult to many!

By mindfully maintaining your mental wellbeing, you can increase your resilience to troublesome situations when they occur, which in turn reduces stress levels and the physical effects that come with it. Here we take a look at the ways you can get started.

How to stay healthy

The NHS posits that there are five key steps that can help you to improve your mental wellbeing:

1. Connecting with other people and developing relationships. People are inherently social creatures, and even introverts get a mental health kick from interactions with close friends or family. Meaningful relationships create a sense of belonging and allow us to create a support network - making us feel more comfortable and confident.

2. 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.

3. Learning. 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.

4. Giving.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.

5. Being mindful.This 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. You can learn more about mindfulness here.

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