Get your daily dose of well-being

September 19, 2013 // By: Juliet Michaelson

Working at nef, I’m surrounded by reminders about the Five Ways to Well-being. The colourful postcards with their invitations to Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give are dotted on walls and pinboards across the office.

As a member of nef’s Centre for Well-being, I know they represent some of the best, evidence-based advice about the actions that individuals can take in their own lives to improve their well-being. We developed the Five Ways messages from comprehensive research gathered together in the UK’s Government’s 2008 Foresight Review on Mental Capital and Wellbeing.

And yet, when I really stop and think about it, I do have to wonder whether I’ve done all I can to build them into my life. I find it’s all too easy to rush from one thing to another without remembering to stop and take notice of what’s around me, or take the time to properly stretch my office-bound limbs, even though I know I feel better when something does prompt me into doing at least one of the Five Ways.

Having experienced the benefits of timely reminders about well-being, I was delighted when nef was asked to act as an advisor to a project led by Somerset County Council’s public health team to develop a new smartphone app, launched today.

The new Five Ways to Well-being app, with free to download versions for Android and iPhones, aims to help its users reflect on how much they currently take part in Five Ways to Well-being activities. It also guides them through a process of identifying further activities they’d like to be reminded to do over the next few days or weeks.

App users collect ‘trophies’ for completing activities. They can also use the app to keep reflecting on their progress, get to understand the Five Ways better, and explore how others have found ways to build them in to their daily lives.

The app represents only the latest in a long and growing list of creative uses of the Five Ways to Well-being by a range of organisations in the UK and around the world, including local government bodies, GPs, mental health commissioners, arts practitioners, church groups, community and voluntary organisations, and civil service departments. They’ve been used as direct communication tools in the form of giant posters, frameworks for strategic planning documents, the basis for measurement approaches, and much more.

We think the app is a very welcome new addition to the Five Ways to Well-being family that will help even more people Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. The personal stories included in the app show how a very small initial Five Ways action of the sort we hope the app will encourage – such as striking up a conversation in response to an overheard request for advice or helping a neighbour with their rubbish – can lead to much bigger and lasting changes in people’s lives. We'd love to hear about your experiences!

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Wellbeing

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