Well-being is defined by Dodge et al. (2012) as having “…the psychological, social and physical resources“ needed “to meet a particular psychological, social and/or physical challenge“. Well-being emerges from your thoughts, actions, and experiences — most of which we have control over. In breaking it down further, the NEF (2008) describe 5 ways to a greater well-being, this includes the following:
Humans have desires to belong to something and feel connected to others (Pavey at al. 2011). The lack of connections with others can also have serious ramifications on an individual’s mental health (Hamaker et al. 2015). So, by having and maintaining social connections, people are more likely to feel positive emotions (Vaillant 2008) and improved physical health outcomes (Cole 2013; Holt-Lunstad et al. 2010). Individuals that experience loneliness have a desire and a wish to want to connect with others (Achterbergh et al. 2020; Inagaki et al. 2015). According to Baumer (2013), social media is a great way to connect people through communication. It helps people to interact, share knowledge and develop interests.
Physical activity is beneficial for promoting greater well-being. Exercise has both a positive biological and psychological effect which stimulates healthy brain function and better well-being (Mandolesi et al. 2018; Berger and Tobar 2007). Stessman et al. (2009) also showed that physical activity helps delay cognitive decline and lengthen life span. Furthermore, exercise has been proposed as an alternative therapy for depression (Craft 2005). The study revealed that exercise reduces depression-related symptoms and results in positive life changes. Also, physical activity reduces the chance of fatality by chronic disease (Booth et al. 2014). The WHO (2009) showed that numerous chronic diseases are among the leading risk factors attributing to death. Holder et al. (2009) explain that being active and leisurely helps greatly with mental health especially with the young and youthful. Expanding on this, Holder states how engaging in activities like travelling, increases happiness and in turn well-being.
Another way to improve well-being is by learning. Park and Bischof (2013) suggest learning mentally demanding skills help towards keeping the brain sharp. Learning similarly has the effect of slowing cognitive decline regardless of the skill learned by keeping “mental activity thriving“ (Solan 2016). Also, according to Waller et al. (2018) learning enhances well-being and likewise, adult education learning has a positive impact on mental health and personal well-being (Feinstein and Hammond 2004; Schuller et al. 2002). It also the case that learning new skills, doing new things and gaining new hobbies increases happiness (Holder et al. 2009). This results in better well-being especially for those who suffer from the negative feelings of isolation. Holder et al. (ibid.) also mention that freely picking an activity which makes people happy results in greater enjoyment and increases happiness and in so doing having good well-being lifestyle.
In alleviating the negative mental effects of loneliness, mindfulness training has been “…positively associated with psychological health…“, and as a result “…may bring about positive psychological effects“. (Keng et al. 2011). In defining mindfulness, Kabat-Zinn (1994, p.4) proposes that it “…means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally…“. It was shown by Emmons and McCullough (2003) that being grateful for big or little things regularly, leads to a more positive mood.
Improving well-being can also be achieved by volunteering your time. Chancellor et al. (2018) showed that prosocial behaviours (kind acts towards others) help boost well-being in both giver and receiver. Grant and Sonnentag (2010) offer similar findings but also add that those who lack these behaviours beforehand, benefit the most by practising it. Adding to this, motivation and creativity are greatly enhanced as well by promoting prosocial behaviours (Grant and Berry 2011). Curry et al. (2018) suggest that “…random acts of kindness…“ is another way to improve well-being and also say that “…performing acts of kindness can cause happiness“. This project is not about well-being in detail, but rather looking at the facts and the methods of performing kindness and how it helps to improve one’s well-being. Reflecting on that, it is important information to consider for this project.