5 steps to mental wellbeing
Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
1. Connect with other people
Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:
- help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
- give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
- provide emotional support and allow you to support others
With the people around you such as family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. These people can be 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.
if possible, take time each day to be with your family, for example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together
arrange a day out with friends you have not seen for a while
try switching off the TV to talk or play a game with your children, friends or family
have lunch with a colleague
visit a friend or family member who needs support or company
volunteer, visit our volunteer section for more information on organisations that would love you to help them
make the most of technology to stay in touch with friends and family. Video-chat apps like Zoom and FaceTime are useful, especially if you live far apart.
Do not rely on technology or social media alone to build relationships. It's easy to get into the habit of only ever texting, messaging or emailing people.
2. Be physically active
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
- raising your self-esteem
- helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
- causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood
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.
Do not feel that you have to spend hours in a gym. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life.
3. Learn new skills
Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
- boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
- helping you to build a sense of purpose
- helping you to connect with others
Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.
Some of the things you could try include:
try learning to cook something new. Visit the NHS website to find out about healthy eating and cooking tips
try taking on a new responsibility at work, such as mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills
work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger. There are lots of free video tutorials online
consider signing up for a course at a local college. You could try learning a new language or a practical skill such as plumbing
try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint
do not feel you have to learn new qualifications or sit exams if this does not interest you. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life.
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 will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
4. Give to others
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:
- creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
- giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
- helping you connect with other people
It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community.
Some examples of the things you could try include:
- saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you
- asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer
- spending time with friends or relatives who need support or company
- offering to help someone you know with DIY or a work project
- volunteering in your community, such as helping at a school, hospital or care home
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, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.
Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Visit the NHS website and read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.