Extensive research by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) has shown that there are 5 key ways to improve our mental health and wellbeing. Like the 5-a-day fruit and vegetables that are good for our physical health, below are the 5-a-day things that are good for our mental health.
You can use this as a useful guide for our own mental health and for the children and young people you live and work with.
With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
3. Be active...
Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
4. Take notice...
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Taken from: Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project (2008). Final Project report. The Government Office for Science, London.
Fife Council, Emotional wellbeing:
Getting it Right for Every Child, Emotional Health & Mental Wellbeing:
NHS Inform, Five steps to mental wellbeing: