What is Wellbeing?

Wellbeing refers to “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy” (Mental Health Foundation, 2015). This therefore relates to how we feel and function personally, socially and professionally, which differs person-to-person and can also depend on the situation. Some people will experience more positive wellbeing at work, some feel their best when socialising and others are more comfortable and satisfied at home.

Mind (2023) describe mental wellbeing as not having one set meaning, as they say that the term mental wellbeing might be used to talk about how we feel, how well we are coping or what feels possible. Our mental health influences our mental wellbeing. Those with mental health problems may have poor wellbeing because they are struggling with day-to-day life. However, having a mental health problem doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to have poor wellbeing as you can have good wellbeing whilst living with a mental health problem. This is because mental health, like physical health, constantly changes. We all have mental health and this fluctuates depending on different occurrences and situations. For example, being stressed at work is going to negatively affect wellbeing, and ongoing stress can trigger mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as make existing mental health problems worse.

What affects wellbeing?

There are many different factors affecting wellbeing, including:

  • Financial situation
  • Stressful periods, such as loss of a job and unemployment
  • Bereavement
  • Relationship breakdown

Even in the absence of one of the above, poor wellbeing may still occur e.g. during periods of anxiety, which can be triggered by both positive and negative stressors. It is therefore important to take care of wellbeing. Mind have various tips that may help:

  • Trying to relax to reduce stress
  • Spending time in nature
  • Connecting with others
  • Looking after physical health
  • Improving sleep
  • Enhancing creativity

However, it is important to bear in mind that it is not always easy to look after wellbeing and similarly, what works one time might not work the same in the future. That is why it is important to have various methods and techniques to implement. Equally, Mind suggest it is helpful to:

  • Only try what feels comfortable
  • Give yourself time to figure out what works for you
  • Go at your own pace
  • Take it step by step.

What should I do?

If you are struggling with wellbeing, you should reach out and speak to somebody. This may be a friend, colleague or family member, or may be for professional help, such as a GP, therapist or organisations that can support you (see end of article).

Why is it important?

Wellbeing is important because it affects how we function day-to-day. There are various “dimensions” of wellbeing, which include personal wellbeing, health, relationships, what we do, where we live, personal finance and education and skills (What Works Wellbeing). Therefore, the more we look after and enhance our own wellbeing, we are more likely going to feel healthier and happier, in feel more in control. The NHS advise that mental health and wellbeing can be enhanced by:

  1. Connecting with other people – as good relationships are important for
  • Building a sense of belonging and self-worth
  • Giving people an opportunity to share positive experiences
  • Providing and receiving emotional support
  1. Being physically active – as improving physical health improves mental wellbeing by, for example, having a positive impact on your mood because of the chemical changes in your brain.
  2. Learning new skills, which can:
  • Increase self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Create a sense of purpose
  • Help you connect with others
  1. Giving to others – acts of kindness towards others can:
  • Help you feel a sense of reward
  • Help you connect with others
  1. Being in the present moment – practising mindfulness to help you feel more present, enabling you to better understand your thoughts and feelings.

You can read more about the “Do” and “Don’t’” advice from the NHS here. However, in summary, some things you can try include:

  • Arranging catch-ups with friends and family.
  • Volunteering at a local charity/organisation.
  • Finding an exercise (or combination of exercise) that works for you – e.g. cardio, strength, flexibility, or core training.
  • Learning to cook something new or working on a new project, such as DIY.
  • Taking on another role or responsibility at work.
  • Trying a new hobby – e.g. writing, painting, poetry, sport.
  • Offering to help somebody – e.g. helping a colleague or friend to meet a deadline
  • Small acts of kindness to yourself and others.

Getting Help