The Wardley Wellbeing Hub is the central area for the ACTNow campaign.
Evidence-based mental health messages aimed at improving mental health
New Economics Foundation (NEF) has identified five ‘ways to wellbeing’. These are:-
- be active
- take notice
- keep learning
The Mental Health Strategic Partnership (this partnership comprises of Mind, Mental Health Foundation, Rethink Mental Illness, Mental Health Providers Forum, Network for Mental Health, Centre for Mental Health and The AFIYA Trust) Building resilient communities report found that social connections were frequently highlighted as one of the most important factors, not only for wellbeing, but also for longer term resilience. Evidence suggests that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.
Here are some suggestions for ways to connect:-
- talk to someone instead of sending an email or text
- speak to someone new
- ask about someone’s week and really listen to what they tell you
- set aside five minutes to find out how someone really is
- thank the people you are grateful to
- give a colleague a lift to work or share a journey home.
For further information on connecting with people, see the Action for happiness website.
The Building resilient communities report also found that that peer support is invaluable in helping people to deal with difficult circumstances, whether that’s unemployment, physical or mental health problems, bereavement or other difficult circumstances.
The Listening Friends telephone helpline is staffed by trained volunteers and provides callers with the opportunity to talk anonymously and in confidence to a pharmacist about any stresses they are facing in their work or home life.
For further information about the Listening Friends service, see the Pharmacist Support website.
Being regularly physically active really can make a huge difference to happiness and wellbeing. It may also help you feel better about your appearance, boost your confidence, improve your self-esteem, energy and sleep as well as reduce your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There are lots of things you can do if you don’t want to join a gym. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your life. You could try:-
- walking to work
- getting off the bus one stop earlier
- taking the stairs rather than the lift.
For further information on the benefits of exercise, including details about various types of exercise, see our Exercise fact sheet.
Take notice (Mindfulness)
According to Mind, being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your wellbeing and savouring the moment can help to reaffirm your life priorities. Taking time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you will also enhance your self-awareness. Some people call this awareness ‘mindfulness’. You could:-
- take a walk in a park
- get a plant for your desk
- get outside during your lunch break
- take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting
- take a different route on your journey to and from work.
For further information on developing awareness, see our Mindfulness fact sheet.
A review of evidence carried out for the Mental Health Foundation’s project, Learning for Life, found that learning gives direction to people’s lives. Attending adult learning can also help people to develop new friendships and increase their social support network. Learning does not have to be formal, activities could include:-
- paying regular visits to galleries and museums
- learning a practical skill, for example, plumbing or cooking
- taking on some extra responsibilities at work, for example, learning to use IT systems or creating reports
- rediscovering an old hobby, for example, sewing, knitting or building model aeroplanes.
For further information on lifelong learning, see the Mental Health Foundation report.
Seeing yourself, and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with people around you. The Building resilient communities report found that the following volunteering activities proved most beneficial in terms of increasing wellbeing:-
- peer support, including self-help groups, peer-led education and advice
- organising and/or participating in environmental projects
- volunteering in health settings, particularly when involved in the direct care and education of patients
- mentoring and teaching programmes
- social support of older people
- providing palliative/hospice care
- organising community activities
- volunteering within a religious community.
Giving just a few hours of your time each week can make a difference to your wellbeing:-
- do something you love
- list the skills you have to offer – it is not just about your professional skills, for example, housekeeping, driving, fundraising and organisational skills are very much in demand
- don’t be afraid to commit – even one hour a week can help
- go digital – there are apps that can help you to help others
- students can get their pharmacy school involved.
For further information about volunteering, see the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) website.