Five ways to wellbeing

The following steps have been researched and devloped by the New Economics Foundation and based on information from


There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.

It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

With this in mind, try to encourage your child to do something different today and make a connection.

  • Arrange play dates for younger children
  • Encourage your child to make new friends at school and other social situations
  • Set an example and really listen to your child
  • Have family meals together without any digital device – just family conversation
  • Encourage your child to have empathy with others

Be active

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.

Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being.

But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.

Encourage your child to be more physical? Here are a few ideas:

  • Encourage your child(ren) to join after school clubs involving exercise – team sports are also good for connecting with people
  • Walk with your child(ren) to the shops, don’t take the car
  • Go for a walk or bike ride in the park
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work
  • Organise a family weekend sporting activity e.g. cycling, swimming, walking, skipping
  • Have a kick-about in a local park
  • Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before you go to bed

Take notice

Encourage your child(ren) to ‘take notice’ of their surroundings when out and about. This can strengthen and broaden awareness.

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’.

Heightened awareness also enhances self-understanding.

Encourage your child(ren) to enjoy the moment and the environment around them. Here are a few ideas:

  • On walks to school or the shops talk to your child about the nature you see around you
  • Encourage your child to have chores in the house.
  • Maybe even a ‘clear the clutter’ day in their bedrooms or play rooms (give old toys to charity)
  • Encourage and talk to your children about how their siblings or friends are feeling or acting
  • Take a different route on your journey to or from school
  • Visit a new play ground or park.


Having a positive experience of learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.

The practice of setting short term goals, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

Learning can happen everywhere. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Sign up for tuition classes
  • Encourage your child to find out something new about a member of their family or friend
  • Encourage your child to read non fiction books as well as fiction
  • Join the library with your child(ren)
  • Encourage your child to do puzzles such as crosswords or Sudoku
  • Research something your child has asked you about with your child
  • Introduce new words to your child and explain the meaning
  • Play eye spy or other such games on long journeys.


Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research.

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.

Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.