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Five Ways to Wellbeing

They were created as a result of the New Economics Foundation's (NEF) Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing research report.

NEF conducted a review of the most up-to-date evidence and found that building five actions into day to day lives is important for the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and organisations. 

The five actions are:

CONNECT, Me Whakawhanaunga

  • Become involved in groups; join your local craft, sports, choir, hobby or book club and enjoying singing, sewing, playing a card game, visiting gardens or croquet on the lawn together.
  • Organise a baby photo competition with friends or colleagues – guess who the baby is!
  • Host a potluck dinner, or have a street BBQ, with neighbours or friends/family and bring kai from different cultures.
  • Gather some friends for a DVD evening; ask people to share a film they like.
  • Smile at a stranger – you may be surprised by the smile you get back!
  • Find more opportunities for humour in the home by starting a family joke collection.
  • Connect with the whenua; grab some mates and get into the great outdoors - go on a bush walk, go surfing or mountain bike riding.
  • Take time to read your local newspaper or newsletter – find out what’s going on in your area, such as music or cultural performances, then organise a group outing.
  • Have a family WIFI, TV and text free day and bring out the old board games you have – you may be surprised at how much fun they still are! Contact a friend you have not seen or spoken to for a while and talk, talk, talk!

GIVE, tukua

  • Join or start and develop a neighbourhood Time Bank.
  • Take opportunities to support and advocate for groups, friends, family or neighbours in need.
  • Give a smile away!
  • Organise or promote random acts of kindness days at school, work or when you're out with a group.
  • While driving, stop to let a car into the traffic.
  • Offer to mow the grass verge of your neighbour.
  • Join a community clean up day - could be a local stream, river, beach or park - or a tree planting project with friends or family 
  • If you have fruit trees pop your excess fruit out on the street with a "help yourself" sign. 
  • Donate old toys, books, sports equipment, clothes etc to a local charity.
  • Help with school working bees and fundraisers.
  • Offer to help an older neighbour with their wheelie bins on rubbish/recycling days.
  • Give a compliment – acknowledge what someone in your life has done well.

TAKE NOTICE, me aro tonu

  • Learn useful techniques for becoming more aware of life as it is happening. Stop for a while; take 10 mindful breaths in and out, calming the body and mind, then simply rest where you are noticing everything that is going on around you. This practice incorporates four keys aspects of mindfulness training: Stopping – Calming – Resting – Noticing. Together, these four steps are innately healing. Use an everyday environmental cue (the phone ringing, email alert etc) as a reminder to pause and breathe for three breath cycles, and take notice of the world around you.
  • Learn yoga or meditation, or have a mirimiri (massage) to sooth and relax your body.
  • Be mindful of the first mouthful of food you eat. See if you can really pay attention to all the flavours and textures of the food, the act of chewing and the act of swallowing. During the following meal, see if you can be aware of the first two mouthfuls of food, and so on.
  • Take the opportunity to sit quietly in a busy place like an airport or a mall and notice the interactions between people.
  • Try to get out of your work environment during breaks. Go for a walk into a nearby park, being mindful of your breathing, your footsteps and the environment around you.
  • Climb your maunga, swim in your awa or moana and korero karakia with tangaroa.
  • Spend time gardening or create a green space in your home or office where you could grow a few small plants, such as herbs, on a windowsill.
  • Take notice of the night sky. Be aware of what phase the moon is in and how the visible constellations change throughout the year.
  • Go for a bush walk, try to identify the different animal and plant species you see and photograph them while taking the time to really notice what you are photographing.
  • Practise gratitude; keep a diary by writing down three things for which you are grateful on a daily or weekly basis. Take the time to give a special thank you to people who support you everyday.
  • At the end of the day ask friends, family or colleagues what the best thing was about their day and listen with interest when they respond.
  • Begin meetings with a karakia (prayer) or short reflection (eg, an inspiring quote) followed by a brief silent period, allowing people to breathe mindfully and bring their full attention into the room. End in a similar fashion.

KEEP LEARNING, me ako tonu

  • Learn something you don’t know about the area in which you live by checking out the local notice boards for interesting talks and events.
  • Write your bucket list – then try something you have always wanted to do but never actually done!
  • Start learning a musical instrument. How about the French horn or the harp?
  • Find and try out a new recipe for a meal, cake or dessert.
  • Commit to identifying a new plant every day for a year – in Maori and Latin.
  • Visit the local public library and see what new books, mags and talks they have.
  • Discover the name of the iwi, hapu, maunga and awa of the place you live.
  • Memorise a new word every week. Practice using it among friends and family.
  • Learn another language. E korero ki a koe Maori? Parlez-vous francais? Talar pu islensku?
  • Put your hand up for a new challenge/training in your workplace to broaden your knowledge.
  • Pass on any of the latest research you find that relates to your professional or sector.
  • Get your colleagues to bring their favourite non-fiction book to work for a book swap -learn about a new topic and your colleagues’ interests at the same time.

BE ACTIVE, me kori tonu

  • Bring activity into the everyday, eg. use the stairs instead of the lift, walk to colleagues to talk with them instead of phoning, and get off the bus one stop earlier than your stop.
  • Try a ‘Have A Go day’ with a local sports group. Look out for what’s on offer, as often, free equipment and tuition is provided.
  • Take a family walk after dinner, or a longer one on the weekend. Let family members take turns to choose where to go.
  • Hold a family dance-off with different members picking the music.
  • Organise or participate in walking tours of local places of interest in your community or suburb.
  • Participate in a fun run/walk to raise money for charity.
  • Encourage senior students to put together a Top Town-style event for the junior school with wacky, fun activities that everyone can participate in.
  • Start or join a walking bus for school children.
  • Try tai chi classes for strength, balance and mental wellbeing.
  • Go swimming or water walking groups at your local pool.
  • Join a sports club to be active and meet people at the same time - tennis, bowls, touch rugby, netball, there is so much to choose from!
  • Find out the most popular sport among your colleagues and then organise a match or tournament for staff.

You can introduce any of these actions into your life, any time, and you will begin to feel the benefits. Whakatōkia ngā rautaki māmā nei ki tō ao kia rongo ai koe i ngā painga.
Read the Five Ways to Wellbeing Best Practice Guide, and visit each of our Five Ways to Wellbeing pages to get some ideas on how to begin.

 Start small, work at it – and good luck!

Check out the full article here


www.mentalhealth.org.nz



 

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