Five Ways to Wellbeing
Throughout your life, you are bombarded with information about how to be physically healthy. Exercise, watch what you eat and make sure you have enough vitamins. This information can help us avoid future physical health problems, such as heart disease and cancer. However, when it comes to mental health, we are not often taught about prevention and living mentally healthy, and instead tend to wait until there is a concrete problem that requires treatment. Whilst treatment for any health problem, physical or mental, is very important, we believe that mental health education is just as important as physical health education. So just like you are advised to eat your vegetables and watch your blood pressure, research by the New Economics Foundation has advice on how to live life mentally healthy: The Five Ways to Wellbeing.
The five ways to wellbeing involve themes of social relationships, physical activity, awareness, learning and giving. A combination of these behaviours can help you improve your well-being and, in some cases, prevent a mental health condition from developing, or providing the tools to help you manage it.
DMYH Wellbeing Dorchester
Our well-being group in Dorchester can help you develop these areas of living mentally healthy. DYMH Wellbeing is a fortnightly peer support group for anyone aged 13-16 that focuses on talking and educating about common mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression, including how to spot, cope with and improve symptoms. Each two-hour session can be attended on a drop-in basis, meaning there’s no commitment, and each person is encouraged to participate as little or as much as they would like. There’s no pressure to talk about or do anything you don’t want to.
Wellbeing Dorchester and Five Ways
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are Connect, be Active, take Notice, Learn and Give. Here’s more information on these steps and how attending our well-being group can help you develop these areas and become more mentally healthy.
It comes as no surprise that lots of research indicates that feeling close to and valued by other people is an important part of living mentally healthy. Our support groups are a great opportunity to connect and meet new people who are also interested in mental health, wellbeing and self-improvement. Other recommended ways to connect include speaking to someone new; putting aside five minutes to find out how someone really is or saving a conversation for when you are face to face.
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety. It can also help you think clearer and concentrate better in school, have more energy, sleep better and help you push yourself. The exercise doesn’t need to be intense; it can involve getting off the bus a stop early before school, using the stairs instead of the lift or stretching out in the morning. Our wellbeing group give the opportunity to explore the topics of exercise and mental health, highlighting how important the body and mind connection is.
Taking notice is about grounding yourself in the moment. Lots of brain power goes towards worrying about what has happened or what is going to happen, with little time to focus on the present. This is also called mindfulness and it’s a skill that can take time to develop, so its fine to begin with a little at a time. Easy methods of doing this include focusing on sensations when you brush your teeth. As you brush your teeth, think about how the bristles feel on your teeth, what the toothpaste tastes like and the noise it makes. That’s just 5 minutes out of your day to begin with, but mindfulness can be extended to your school route by taking notice of the world around you. Such as how the sun shines through spiderwebs or the noise of leaves beneath your feet.
Our well-being group begins with guided relaxation, which will help you learn to calm yourself and take notice. There are also educative workshops on mindfulness to help you learn more about this method.
Learning enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. This shouldn’t just involve what you have to learn at school. Pick up a book about something that interests you or google things you’re curious about whilst you’re on the bus home. Our wellbeing group will enable you to learn more about a range of mental health areas, which are both fascinating and important life knowledge, for yourself and the people you care about.
Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Helping others is very rewarding, can make you more social and gain a greater sense of self-worth. Attending the support group can do this as you become a listening ear for other young people who are struggling. Knowing that you were there for someone who needs it can be indispensable to improving your own mental health.
DMYH Wellbeing occurs every 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at 6-8pm in Dorchester Youth and Community Centre. Feel free to just turn up and try it out!