Five Ways to Wellbeing

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 maximising 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.

Time and time again, scientific studies have shown us that if we do the following five things listed below, happiness will increase.

  1. Connect
  2. Be Active
  3. Keep learning
  4. Help others
  5. Taking notice

We can all make active and deliberate choices about changing the state in which we find ourselves. We just need to begin. Below are some top tactics for implementing these five things in your life, right now.

1. Connect

Each person you meet is a doorway into another world. Building solid and varied social connections in your life can increase your feelings of happiness and self-worth.

Got 1 minute?

  • Every friend you have started out as ‘someone you didn’t know’. Strike up some chat with someone you’ve often wondered about saying ‘hello!’ to.
  • Message a friend. It doesn’t matter what it says, people appreciate it when you think of them.

Got an hour?

  • Kick back with a friend or family member who needs support or company.
  • Invite someone (a person you usually wouldn’t think to invite) to do something with you and your friends. It’s interesting watching new friends interact with old friends!

Got longer?

  • Got a group of friends you haven’t seen for a while? Organise a get together with them.
  • Take the time to get to know your family. Ask them about their past. They are the best link to your past and usually most likely to stick with you in the future.
  • Want to expand your social network? Meet people who share your interests! Having that one thing in common usually means they will be on your vibe.
  • Meetup is and online platform helps groups of people with shared interests plan events and facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world.

2. Be Active

Let’s not get it twisted – what you do with your body can have a powerful effect on your mental wellbeing. Gym not your vibe? There are loads of ways to stay active whilst enjoying life.

Got 1 minute?

  • Plank for one minute! Doing this for a minute today will reap huge benefits. To see what we mean by a plank, type it into Google.

Got an hour?

  • Need to go somewhere? You can take public transport and arrive feeling stressed and flustered, or you can rock up on a bicycle and arrive feeling fresh and revitalized. Bicycles save us money and keep us fit at the same time.
  • Attend a dance workshop and learn how to dance like a boss.

Got longer?

3. Keep Learning

A comfort zone is a cool place but nothing ever grows there. Step out of the comfort zone. You will learn things you never knew that you never knew.

Got 1 minute?

  • Ask yourself “if money were no issue, what would I want to spend my life doing?” Figuring that out is a good place to start.
  • Go online and check out TED for thousands of short, powerful talks delivered by world’s leading thinkers and doers.  Watch one talk on a topic that interests you.

Got an hour?

  • The best way to stay engaged is to surround yourself with people who share your interest. Joining a club or group will bring your interest to life.

Got longer?

If you want something you have never had, you have to do something you haven’t done before.

  • Princes’ Trust offers training courses and programmes that are free to join. You’ll get one to one support from staff members and mentors, you’ll meet other young people just like you, and they’ll help you with the skills and qualifications that you need to achieve your goals.
  • Futureversity believes all young people have the potential to be extraordinary. They provide free courses and activities for 11-25 year olds to help them develop the skills and self-belief they need to make the most of their lives.

Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. Sure, you might feel awkward in the new environment at first, but great things never came from comfort zones.

4. Help Others

Whether it’s giving a mate a hand, throwing your weight in behind a cause that matters or just supporting other people in some way. Giving is like gold-dust for our mental wellbeing.

Got 1 minute?

  • Be really friendly to a shopkeeper and ask them what they are up to on the weekend.
  • Stop to help someone struggling with their bags up some stairs.
  • Hold the door open for someone.
  • Do a chore for your family.
  • Show appreciation for someone publicly.

Got an hour?

  • Is your friend struggling with something? Lend your ear and then help them take action.
  • Go to a charity shop and donate something you don’t use. Others can put your clutter to good use.

Got longer?

  • Lend your voice to a cause that matters to you.
  • Volunteering in your local community can remind you of your sense of purpose and make you feel happier and more satisfied about life.
  • NCS is a summer programme that offers 15 to 17 year olds the opportunity to try new things. It brings young people together from all different backgrounds in a common purpose and by offering new experiences. It gives them the chance to take on new challenges, learn new skills and meet new people. This helps discover their own talents and realise their potential whilst having fun.
  • Vinspired is the nation’s leading youth volunteering charity. It believes that young people can change the world and provides young people with opportunities to gain new experiences and skills for life by taking action on causes they care about. They have created more than one million volunteering opportunities. So far, over 164,000 young people have used vinspired.com to volunteer with more than 4,400 charities.

5. Take Notice

Happiness is often right in front of your eyes – more than enough to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.

Got 1 minute?

  • Take notice of how you are feeling at this very moment, watch your thoughts and feel the sensations in the body.
  • Try looking at something right you see all the time (whatever in front of you right now!) Look at the detail. See anything you haven’t notice before?

Got an hour?

  • Slow down. Savour the moment, whether you are bouncing around town, munching breakfast or chilling with friends. Remember, the past doesn’t exist anymore and the future hasn’t happened yet. There is only now.
  • Pay attention to how your mates might be feeling, it will help you realise when you need to be there for them. The more you help them, the more likely they are to realise when you need support too.

Got longer?

Training your brain using mindfulness will help you to stay more focused on what is going on around you. Remember, you don’t notice how much you don’t notice until you start noticing the things you have not been noticing!