There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.
Social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.
With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection.
- Talk to someone instead of sending an email or text
- Strike up a conversation and speak to someone new, even if it’s just in the lift, at the bus stop or in the supermarket
- Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is – really listen
- Call that friend/family member that you never seem to get around to
2. Be active
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being.
It doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.
So, today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:
- Take the stairs not the lift
- Go for a walk at lunchtime , even if it’s for 5 min, get away from your desk/work space
- Walk or cycle into work
- Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work
- Have a kick-about in a local park with family /friends
- Take the dog for that evening stroll, if you don’t have a pet that likes a lead, take yourself for a short stroll – leave your phone at home and ‘Take Notice’ as you walk
- Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing
3. Take notice
Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness, it’s another way of being mindful. Self-awareness can enhance your self-understanding and allow you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.
Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:
- Notice the little things; the colour of the sky, the rain drops on the window, the smell of that morning coffee or the freshly cut grass
- Notice sounds; tune into the sounds around you, just for a moment, what can you hear?
- Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day – be it your desk/room/garage/that draw you store all that stuff in – clearing out can help us de-clutter our minds
- Take notice of others words/body language and actions
- Take a different route on your journey to or from work – look at different things
- Visit a new place for lunch – try that other sandwich
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.
Why not learn something new today? Here are a few ideas:
- Find out something about your colleagues
- Do the paper’s crossword each day
- Read the news or a book
- Look up one fact a day: For example: ‘Dreamt’ is the only the English word ending in MT….bet you didn’t know that before reading this – you’re trying to think of another now
- Research something you’ve always wondered about
- Learn a new word
It’s better to give than to receive, right? Well, giving is usually the path to receiving and therefore it’s about connecting and participation with others. Research tells us that many people who have a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.
Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.
- Open the door for someone
- Say please and thank you
- Give someone a compliment
- Help someone with their shopping to the car/hold the lift/help the mum with the buggy
- Ask someone if you can help