Happy March, everyone! After what seems like a winter that’s gone on for about a year, we are at last starting to see signs of Spring, even though at the time of writing this, we’ve had a covering of snow here in Taunton. I was walking through Vivary Park a few days ago, and saw the drifts of crocuses covering some of the grassy areas, and it always lifts my spirits. I’ve also found a really interesting piece of news that came through from Mind, the mental health charity, and I thought you might be interested in it too. Apparently, there’s a Government-funded initiative called the New Economics Foundation, and they’ve come up with five ways to increase your wellbeing. If you’re reading this in print, why not go really old-school and cut it out and pop it on your fridge, or for the more techy-minded reading online, definitely one to save to your phone. Here they are:
Feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need. Social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and can help reduce the risk of 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
Speak to someone new
Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
Phone or meet someone you care about for a proper catch up
Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them
‘Taking notice’ of the world around you, in the here and now, can directly enhance your wellbeing. Many of us spend so much time thinking about things in the past or worries about the future that we don’t enjoy the moment and the environment around us. Try taking some time every day to savour the moment and the environment around you.
A few ideas:
Go for a walk and make a conscious effort to notice the landmarks and landscape on your route
Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
Go somewhere pleasant for lunch, away from your normal setting, and really savour the environment and the tastes and textures of your food
Take notice of how people around you are feeling or acting
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Signing up for a night class or pursuing a new interest or hobby is a great way to boost your wellbeing. However, you don’t have to sign up to a formal activity to learn new things.
Here are a few more ideas which you could try building into your regular activities:
Find out something about your colleagues
Read the news or a book
Set up a book club
Do a crossword or Sudoku
Research something you’ve always wondered about
Learn a new word every day
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is also essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting wellbeing. It doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the added benefit of encouraging social interactions as well as providing some level of exercise. Take notice of how people around you are feeling or acting.
Participation in social and community life – by volunteering for example – is strongly linked with improved wellbeing. Research has shown that carrying out an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing. You could:
Take on a fundraising challenge
Perform an act of kindness
I hope this helps, just a little bit? Perhaps you could let us know what you’d like to have a go at this month, and don’t forget, we at The Sangha House are here to help you with any aspect of your wellbeing. Just head over to www.thesanghahouse.co.uk and hit the chat button, or give us a call on 01823 428156 (there’s your “connect” idea sorted right there!) Have a great month, and we’ll catch up soon.