There has never been a greater need for a change in the way we do things.  The Economics Foundation was commissioned by the UK Government’s Foresight project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing to develop a set of evidence-based actions to improve personal wellbeing back in 2008.

The Economics Foundation believe “The concept of wellbeing comprises two main elements: feeling good and functioning well. Feelings of happiness, contentment, enjoyment, curiosity and engagement are characteristic of someone who has a positive experience of their life. Equally important for wellbeing is our functioning in the world. Experiencing positive relationships, having some control over one’s life and having a sense of purpose are all important attributes of wellbeing.”

Although the five ways to wellbeing were identified in 2008, I believe they are still relevant today as we face the many challenges of change.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are:

Connect – With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. At home, work school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be Active – Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Take Notice – Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Keep Learning – Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to grow your own food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

Give – Do something nice for a friend or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is an index of human well-being and environmental impact that was introduced by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in July 2006. The index is weighted to give progressively higher scores to nations with lower ecological footprints. In this index, Costa Rica took the lead 1/140, UK 34/140, France 44/140, Canada 85/140, Australia 104/140 and the USA 108/140. Head to the Happy Planet Index to find out how your country performed.  Although the data is more than ten years old, it is interesting to see how each country performed on the index.

The Happy Index from Lowest to Highest

The Happy Index from Lowest to Highest

Spare Harvest shares the Happy Index World Map

Health and wellbeing in local communities is the reason Spare Harvest exists.  Through getting active in the garden and growing your own food, you contribute to your personal wellbeing.  When you connect with other to share what you have spare, you contribute to the wellbeing of your community.

Signup today and connect with another member.  If there is no-one close, be the first and start a Spare Harvest hub in your community.  Experience the joy of sharing on your way to wellness.