5 Ways to Health and Wellbeing Alison Paul Health Promotion Specialist
What is Wellbeing? FEELING GOOD eg feelings of happiness, contentment, enjoyment, curiosity and engagement & FUNCTIONING WELL eg experiencing positive relationships, having some control over one’s life and having a sense of purpose.
How can we feel good rather than less bad? There are lots of factors involved but evidence suggests that What we do and what we think have the biggest impact on our sense of wellbeing.
Background • UK Government’s Foresight Programme and Horizon Scanning Centre used an extensive range of evidence across many disciplines to analyse and develop policy options to address key issues to impact of UK society over the next 10 to 20 years. • 2008 Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project aims to analyse the most important drivers of mental capital and wellbeing in the UK for the benefit of society and the individual.
nef The centre of wellbeing at the New Economics Foundation (nef) – an independent think-and-do-tank – were commissioned for Foresight Programme to developed a set of evidence based actions to improve personal wellbeing. This led to ….
Connect • Social relationships are critical to promote wellbeing and to act as an buffer against mental health. (Foresight Report) • Happy people have stronger social relationships that less happy people. • Social networks promote a sense of belonging and wellbeing. • Therefore, strengthen and broaden relationships whether they are close or superficial, it is good to have a range.
Be Active • Cause or effect? Physical exercise is associated with a greater sense of wellbeing, lower rates of depression and anxiety. Did you know… • ‘Action is central for cognition’ for children • Activity may protect against cognitive decline when older. • There is more research on its way but … Evidence suggests that even small changes in activity levels of sedentary or elderly people will enhance wellbeing!
Be Active (continued) The economic costs of inactivity Statistics are showing that physical inactivity is causing: 10.5% of coronary heart disease 18.7% of colon cancer 17.9% of breast cancer 13.0% of type 2 diabetes 16.9% of premature all cause mortality Estimates suggest this cost PCTs across England in 2009/10 over £940 million. But what about the wider costs to the individual, families, communities, workplaces, sickness absence rates and economy?
Be Active (continued) • Although the impact of physical health programmes at work varies calculations suggest: • If they are 1% effective they may save employers £2,870 – £6,244 • If the programme is 50% effective that saving may be as much as £312,217 • So what impact to incorporating a bit of activity into the working day?
Take Notice • Being more aware of sensations, thoughts and feelings has been shown to lead to a greater sense of wellbeing. • The practice of Mindfulness – “the state of being attentive to and aware of what it taking place in the present” shows evidence of positive mental states, self regulated behaviour and heightened self awareness. • Also evidence suggesting that lasting behavioural change will only be achieved if it is internalised and owned by the individual.
Keep Learning • Learning throughout life enhances self esteem, encourages social interaction and leads to a more active life. • It is linked to reports of life satisfaction, optimism and efficacy, a sense of purpose and hope, competences and social integration. • Teaching goal setting and planning skills increases wellbeing. • The activity of learning is what helps whether it is formal or informal learning.
Give • “helping, sharing, giving and team-oriented behaviours are likely to be associated with an increase sense of self-worth and positive feelings” • Happy feelings associated with active participation in social and community life. • For older people volunteering associated with positive affects and more meaning in life. • Offering support is shown to be associated with reduced mortality rates. • Random acts of kindness make people feel good.
How are we feeling? The first study to measure wellbeing estimated: 14% has a high level of wellbeing ie ‘flourishing’ 14% have very low wellbeing in spite of individuals with a diagnosed mental disorder
nef Well-being is one of most important aspect of our lives, as individuals and as societies. But despite unprecedented economic prosperity in the last 35 years we do not necessarily feel better individually or as communities. Data shows that whilst economic output in the UK has nearly doubled since 1973, levels of happiness have remained flat. Beyond a certain level of income and material stability, more money has a negligible and even negative impact on the quality of our lives.The centre for well-being at nef seeks to understand, measure and influence well-being. In particular we ask the question 'what would policymaking and the economy look like if their main aim were to promote well-being?'
If our collective sense of wellbeing shifted… The impact of a positive shift in the population mental health spectrum. Note the marked reduction of people in the “mental disorder” category.
5 Ways to Wellbeing • Originally designed as guide for individual action/behavioural change. • But the environment can prevent this change. • The principles of 5 Ways can be used in other ways…
Consider it an audit tool/model/guide/ approach • To staff wellbeing policies, office systems and processes • Working patterns eg ‘walk and talk’ • Dealing with customers • Training • Planning services
A Case Study Enjoy and Achieve Connect Be Healthy Be Active Staying Safe Take Notice Economic Wellbeing Keep Learning Make a Positive Contribution Give
Alison Paul 01244 650430 Alison.Paul2@nhs.net