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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Rivera

Are You Practicing Your Daily Five? - Simple Habits to Boost Wellbeing!

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

In a world brimming with stress and complexity, the "Five Ways to Wellbeing; are like the famous "five a day" for fruits and vegetables, except these practices are all about booking our mental health and wellbeing.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) offers simple yet powerful ways to enhance our mental health and wellbeing, and they aim to be straightforward, memorable, and convenient to carry with us in our daily lives!

The Five Ways to Wellbeing:

Connect: Cultivate deeper connections with family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours. These relationships provide a valuable support network for your mental health.

Be Active: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. This can be as simple as a brisk walk during your lunch break, gardening, or playing with your children. Exercise is a proven mood booster.

Take Notice: Be more mindful of your surroundings and the present moment. It's about appreciating the beauty in the every day, like the changing seasons or a fleeting moment of serenity.

Keep Learning: Embrace new experiences and knowledge. Whether it's enrolling in a course or taking on new responsibilities at work, learning stimulates your mind and keeps you engaged.

Give: Acts of kindness and generosity can significantly impact your well-being. Show gratitude, lend a helping hand, and invest your time and attention in others.

The Scientific Foundation

These five practices are not mere suggestions; they're grounded in scientific research conducted by 400 scientists into mental capital and wellbeing. These practices aren't just for individuals; employers, schools, and other organisations recognise their value. Many have implemented these principles to foster healthier, happier environments.

For instance, the NEF has developed "wellbeing @work," a tool for employers to promote the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Companies may offer incentives like gym memberships to support employee health. These measures aim to not only improve personal wellbeing but also boost productivity in the workplace.

A Geographical Aspect

It's important to acknowledge that our choices don't solely determine our wellbeing. The place where we live significantly influences our health. As Stuckler and Basu (2013) suggest, life expectancy can be predicted by our postal code. Our social environment plays a substantial role in our wellbeing, and regional variations in life satisfaction highlight this fact.

Personal Observations and Commitment

To understand the practical impact of the Five Ways to Wellbeing, I conducted a one-week experiment, diligently applying these principles in my daily life. The results were promising:

  • Connecting: I noticed that consciously connecting with those around me, even in small ways, deepened my relationships and made me feel more supported.

  • Taking Notice: Being more mindful of my surroundings enhanced my appreciation for life's simple pleasures.

  • Learning: My increased focus on learning improved my mental stimulation and reduced fatigue.

  • Being Active: Incorporating regular physical activity into my routine boosted my energy levels and overall mood.

  • Giving: Daily acts of kindness had a positive ripple effect on my own sense of well-being.

The Value of the Dynamic Model of Wellbeing

The Dynamic Model of Wellbeing serves as a powerful visual tool for individuals to understand the link between external circumstances and personal identity. This model can empower individuals to make behavioural changes, fostering resilience and creativity in the face of challenges. It's a framework that complements the Five Ways to Wellbeing, providing practical insights into improving one's life.

Realities and Limitations

While the Five Ways to Wellbeing are valuable, they might not be a panacea for everyone. Harsh external circumstances, such as poverty, can significantly hinder one's ability to adopt these practices. Addressing such complex issues requires more than simple lifestyle changes. However, these practices can still help build resilience and a positive mindset, which can be crucial in seeking long-term solutions.


The Five Ways to Wellbeing are not just a set of principles but a roadmap to a healthier, happier life. Supported by scientific research, these practices offer simplicity and effectiveness. Employers, communities, and individuals can harness their power to foster mental health and productivity. While they may not solve all of life's challenges, they can provide hope, encourage positive change, and help us navigate the complexities of modern living. In a world where wellbeing is a shared responsibility, these five simple habits remind us that improving our lives starts with small, intentional steps.

The Dynamic Model of Wellbeing (reference) illustrates this well, as it provides a visual tool for distinguishing a link between situations and personal identity.


Mahony, S. (2011) 'What a difference five ways make', The NEF Blog, 23 May [Online]. Available at (Accessed 1 Nov 2018). [TA1]

Overell, S., Mills, T., Roberts, S., Lekhi, R. and Blaug, R. Provocation Paper 7: The employment relationship and the quality of work (2010) published by The Good Work Commission/The Work Foundation p. 12–18.

Roberts, G., Bora, R., Hoerning, E., Ley, A. and Long, M. 'Five ways to wellbeing: how do you get the message across? A report for Devon Partnership NHS Trust: Clinical Cabinet' Devon Partnership NHS Trust (2013) [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 1 Nov 2018).

The Open University. (2018a). Learning Guide 1: Health and wellbeing matters. In: K118 Perspectives in health and social care. 3rd ed. Milton Keynes: The Open University. 7-38.

The Open University. (2014b). Learning Guide 2[TA2] : Health and wellbeing in place. In: K118 Perspectives in health and social care. 3rd ed. Milton Keynes: The Open University.43-73.

The Open University. (2014c). Learning Guide 3: Health and wellbeing and work. In: K118 Perspectives in health and social care. 3rd ed. Milton Keynes: The Open University. 78-108.

 [Video 1.1] Renee. Poverty is a miserable state [Online].

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