While we all have different circumstances and different likes and dislikes, nef has developed these five ways to well-being. We recreated their 5 ways, because we believe all people fundamentally want to get started on their way to a happier life. These five ways are broad enough for you to find your own style of happiness. We encourage you to think of these 5 principles as the cornerstones of your life; invest time in developing them.
We're currently located in NYC and therefore if you're reading the blog, you're most likely here too! With loads of different people around you, find time to connect with neighbors and strangers. Whether you're at home, work, school or walking around your local community, building on these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Within all the desk-jobs I had, the most cheerful people on the floor were the ones that were staying active. Go for a walk or run. Step outside, even if it's just to pick up your daily coffee. Cycle around the park with your dog. Play a game with your kids. Be proud of that small terrace, and garden some new vegetables or herbs. Dance to the music of the subway! Exercising makes you feel good, but what's most important about this principle is discovering a physical activity that you enjoy and that suits your levels of mobility and fitness.
With our brains constantly working on our never-ending to-do list, it can be hard to even leave a minute or two for our minds to wander. I think the beauty of kids is that they're still curious and learning. I try to make it a mission to find a few minutes every day to just watch the world around me unfold. I might catch sight of something beautiful like the sunset on my way home to Brooklyn. Whether it's something unusual or something as elegant as the changing of seasons, find something to savour. Don't have 3 minutes? Do it while you're walking to work or eating lunch. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
Try something new! Rediscover an old interest of music or painting or whatever it is that you enjoy. Sign up for that course. Bored with your exisiting life? Take on a different responsibility at work. Learn how to cook up a new dish. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things is not only fun, but it will make you more confident.
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone with smile, if you're strapped on cash. Or volunteer an hour or two at a local animal shelter instead of continuing your watch-a-thon of House of Cards. Looking out into the world and offering help is the most important part of looking within. Somehow, you find yourself and your happiness by being a part of a wider community, and that enriches the world.
Let us know in the comments below which one of the five you tried working on today!
About the five ways
The five ways to well-being are a set of evidence-based actions to improve personal well-being. They were developed by the centre for well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) as part of the UK Government’s Foresight project on Wellbeing. You can order Five Ways postcards and download the Five Ways report from the nef website as well read other related research on how well-being can radically inform public policy.
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