Five Ways to Wellbeing


The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based actions which promote people’s wellbeing. They are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. These activities are simple things individuals can do in their everyday lives.


The Five Ways to Wellbeing were developed by the New Economic Foundation (nef) from evidence gathered in the UK government’s Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing. The Project, published in 2008, drew on state-of-the-art research about mental capital and mental wellbeing through life. It asked nef to develop the Five Ways to Wellbeing to communicate its key findings.

The Five Ways have been used by health organisations, schools and community projects across the UK and around the world to help people take action to improve their wellbeing. They’ve been used in lots of different ways, for example to get people to start thinking about wellbeing, to develop organisational strategy, to measure impact, to assess need, for staff development, and to help people to incorporate more wellbeing-promoting activities into their lives.


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Connecting is about building relationships, both old and new. Strong relationships with other people help you feel good and provide a sense of belonging. Being part of a strong social network helps to keep you healthy.


Connect…with the people around you, with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

Connect with people at home, work, school or in your local community. Think of the relationships you have with these people as the foundations of your life. Invest time in developing them. Building these connections will help support and enrich you every day.


Be active


Be active…Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.


Getting active is great for your mental wellbeing, as well as your physical health. It can help avoid negative thinking, increase your confidence, reduce your stress levels and boost your mood.


Take notice


Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons and birdsong. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.


Taking notice of what is around you – and of what you are thinking and feeling – can help you feel in control, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.


Keep Learning


Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving not one that is a chore. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.


Learning something new can help you increase your self-confidence, feel good and improve your ability to cope with everyday problems. And as you learn you’ll probably notice you’re enjoying life a little bit more too.


Examples of how the 5 Ways to Wellbeing have been turned into action not just words…


  1. Used to inspire a wellbeing garden
  2. Five Ways Festivals
  3. Collection of fairy tale books, written and illustrated by school children in Stockport, with the help of professional children's book artists. So you get the three little pigs who decide to be active by taking up ballet, or the lonely troll who makes friends and connects with others. 10,000 copies of the books are being distributed freely to schools, libraries, community groups
  4. Created 5 ways to wellbeing giant puppets
  5. Themes for assembly
  6. FE college made a DVD to explain the 5 ways to wellbeing to students and then showed in all tutor groups.
  7. Arts organisation worked with six youth groups to provide opportunities for members to connect, take notice, and learn a new skill through the medium of art, i.e. sculpture or portraiture.
  8. A Pride Festival in the North West reworked the Five Ways as Gay Ways to Wellbeing and put them on enormous banners.

Wellbeing: it’s in your pocket


Somerset Public Health team have launched a new app to help people improve their well-being through everyday activities. No rules, no regulations. It’s wellbeing your way.


Taking the renowned Five Ways to Wellbeing developed by the new economics foundation into the digital world, the free app gives anyone with an iOS or Android smartphone the chance to build the Five Ways into their everyday lives whenever and wherever it suits them.


The app is aimed at over 14 year olds. It allows users to select activities based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing and choose times to be reminded about them. Completed activities are logged allowing users to track how many of the Five Ways they have used over the week and reflect on how well they Connect, Take notice, Be active, Keep learning and Give.


Over time, the Five Ways to Wellbeing can help people learn how to maintain high wellbeing.


Download the 'Five Ways to Wellbeing' app