The Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project (http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/bispartners/foresight/docs/mental-capital/mentalcapitalwellbeingexecsum.pdf) aimed to, amongst other things, ‘identify the wellbeing equivalent of “five fruit and vegetables a day”.’ Based on an extensive review of the evidence they came up with:
1. Connect… with the people around you.
2. Be active… find a physical activity you enjoy that suits your level of mobility and fitness… and do it!
3. Take notice… be curious. Savour each moment. Reflect on your experiences to help you appreciate what really matters to you.
4. Keep learning… try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Set a challenge you enjoy achieving.
5. Give … practice intentional acts of kindness. Show gratitude.
Nice. These truths about how to live a good life are fairly obvious. It interests me how often I need to be reminded of them if I am to actually do them.
I would also add a sixth ‘serving’ – without this one, the others are pretty meaningless:
6. Develop Psychological Flexibility:
The ability to contact the present moment
fully and without defence
as a conscious human being
engaged in life as it is – not as your mind says it is –
and, based on what the situation affords,
changing or persisting in behaviour
in the service of chosen values (Steve Hayes)
The evidence for the association between psychological flexibility and emotional well being is becoming pretty compelling.
Rachel Collis is Australian, and has been working in the area of supporting people to create rich and meaningful lives for over 20 years. On adviceonlifeandlove.blogspot.com she provides suggestions about building well-being based on current research in psychology, coaching and personal development.