Five ways to wellbeing

Five simple actions can help you build on your strengths and increase your resilience to what life throws your way.

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What are the five ways to wellbeing?

The ‘five ways to wellbeing’ are a proven way of boosting your mental health and wellbeing. Developed through research, these simple actions can be taken by anyone.

Connect with other people

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.

Keep learning

Try something new: rediscover an old interest; sign up for a course; take on new responsibilities; find a hobby.

Learning new things is fun, and can make you feel more confident.

Be active

Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Do some gardening. Dance.

Moving makes you feel good. Find something you enjoy and that suits your lifestyle.

Visit our Moving pages for some ideas.

Take notice

Be curious.

Savour the small moments in your life, whether when walking to work, eating a meal or talking to friends.

Reflecting on the world around you and how you are feeling will really help you appreciate what matters to you.

Give to others

Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group.

Seeing yourself, and your happiness, as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and help you create deeper connections with the people around you.

Read the evidence

The five ways to wellbeing were developed by experts at the New Economics Foundation.

Their report explains why and how they did this.

Download (pdf)

Pleasure or happiness?

To understand how to feel your best, we first need to unpick two distinctive states – pleasure and happiness.

Most of us think that the key to happiness is maximizing our personal pleasure and minimising pain. But there is a difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure does not necessarily lead to happiness.

Pleasure is always temporary. It is can be experienced through consuming things such as eating food or buying clothes or the latest gadgets. The problem is, when our consumption of it is over, the pleasure immediately disappears. When the sensation dies, the impulse comes into the brain, “Give me more pleasure!” but when we can’t get more, we are left where we started.

Happiness is a deeper and more rewarding state.

The difference between happiness and pleasure is that we can act directly in order to achieve instant pleasure but happiness can only be experienced as a by-product of living skilfully.

If we want to be happy, we have to live life well, and we need to act right - 5 ways to wellbeing are the evidenced based actions that lead to happiness.