Improve psychological well being

5 steps to mental wellbeing

Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.


Coronavirus advice

Get advice about coronavirus and looking after your mental wellbeing:

  • Every Mind Matters: how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home
  • Mind: Coronavirus and your wellbeing

1. Connect with other people

Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:

  • help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
  • give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
  • provide emotional support and allow you to support others

There are lots of things you could try to help build stronger and closer relationships:


  • if possible, take time each day to be with your family, for example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together

  • arrange a day out with friends you have not seen for a while

  • try switching off the TV to talk or play a game with your children, friends or family

  • have lunch with a colleague

  • visit a friend or family member who needs support or company

  • volunteer at a local school, hospital or community group. Find out how to volunteer on the GOV.UK website

  • make the most of technology to stay in touch with friends and family. Video-chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful, especially if you live far apart

2. Be physically active

Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • raising your self-esteem
  • helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
  • causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood

Find out more about getting active


  • find free activities to help you get fit

  • if you have a disability or long-term health condition, find out about getting active with a disability

  • start running with our couch to 5k podcasts

  • find out how to start swimming, cycling or dancing

  • find out about getting started with exercise


Learn new skills

Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
  • helping you to build a sense of purpose
  • helping you to connect with others

Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.

Some of the things you could try include:


  • try learning to cook something new. Find out about healthy eating and cooking tips

  • try taking on a new responsibility at work, such as mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills

  • work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger. There are lots of free video tutorials online

  • consider signing up for a course at a local college. You could try learning a new language or a practical skill such as plumbing

  • try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint

4. Give to others

Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
  • giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
  • helping you connect with other people

It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community.

Some examples of the things you could try include:

  • saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you
  • asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer
  • spending time with friends or relatives who need support or company
  • offering to help someone you know with DIY or a work project
  • volunteering in your community, such as helping at a school, hospital or care home

5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.

Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.


The 5 ways to wellbeing were researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation.

The mental health charity Mind also offer more information about the 5 ways to wellbeing.

Page last reviewed: 6 November 2019
Next review due: 6 November 2022

What is psychological well-being (and how can you improve yours)?

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Psychological well-being is when you’re mentally healthy and feel positive overall about your life.  

As more awareness and education is brought into the public conversation about mental health and taking care of yourself, it’s important to understand the role psychological well-being plays in your overall health. People who prioritize their psychological well-being have shown to have decreased physical health risks, rate their happiness higher, and tend to have more meaningful relationships in life (more on that later).

Let’s break down psychological well-being, how it’s different from mental health, and how you can work on your own contentment. 

Table of contents

What is meant by psychological well-being? Is psychological well-being the same as mental health? Why is psychological well-being important? How can we have psychological well-being? How do you achieve psychological well-being? If you’re still struggling, speak to a professional for help Your psychological wellness journey starts now

What is meant by psychological well-being?

When people talk about psychological well-being, they generally mean the health and wellness of the mind. When you are psychologically well, you have positive feelings about yourself, you’re content with your situation in life, and you feel optimistic for the future. 

Is psychological well-being the same as mental health?

Here’s the short answer: nope. While the concepts are similar and are often easily confused, there are some differences between psychological well-being and mental health. 

Having good mental health is only one part of your overall psychological well-being. Mental health focuses more on the state of your mind, whether or not you struggle from mental illness, and how your mind functions day-to-day. 

So, what is psychological well-being then? It’s another step further and refers to how people see their lives and assess their own situations. Psychological well-being is achieved when you’re functioning and feeling well. 

You can have good mental health but not feel good about your life situation, meaning your psychological well-being isn’t quite there. However, if your mental health is suffering, you’re probably missing out on the functioning piece of psychological well-being. 

Why is psychological well-being important?

Psychological well-being carries a lot of weight because it impacts your overall life happiness and contentment. Achieving that level of well-being means you are content with your life and have a positive outlook on both yourself and your overall situation. 

In addition, psychological well-being has been tied to better physical health. A positive mindset has been linked to decreased risks of cardiovascular diseases or complications. This is likely due to a desire to take care of yourself if you have higher levels of psychological wellness.
Another benefit of psychological well-being is a better social life. If you are content with your life and feel good about yourself, you’re more likely to engage in social activities with others and seek people out for companionship. This benefit is also two-fold, as having close relationships has been found to improve mental health and contribute to a better psychological well-being.

How can we have psychological well-being?

Fortunately, psychological well-being doesn’t need to be ambiguous. Researchers have studied what key components contribute to someone’s psychological well-being. 

A common theory in the psychology space is Carol Ryff’s Six-Factor Model of Psychological Well-Being. Ryff’s philosophy is that psychological well-being isn’t just based on positive emotions—it’s a balanced overview of multiple aspects of life. 

To determine well-being according to Ryff’s model, people are evaluated with a survey focused on the six factors Ryff identified that lead to someone’s psychological well-being. The higher someone scores in each category (from one to six), the more likely they are to have a high level of psychological well-being. Here are the factors: 

  1. Autonomy: Evaluates a person’s independence and reactions to social pressure.

Example: All of Tim’s friends are getting new jobs outside of their hometown to experience a new city and lifestyle, but Tim is content where he’s at and knows staying in his hometown is what’s best for him and his family.

  1. Environmental mastery: Evaluates the level of control a person feels they have over their environment and everyday needs.
    Example: When Lisa had a job with a large corporation, she was feeling burned out by juggling her long working hours and responsibilities at home. Now, Lisa enjoys her work as a freelance graphic designer because she is able to set her own schedule, choose the clients and projects she takes on, and can grow her business at her own pace.
  2. Personal growth: Evaluates if a person has a desire to develop or grow.

Example: Jean enjoys her job as a history teacher because she is constantly learning from her students and their insights into the world. She hopes to one day pursue her Master’s degree and become the head of her school’s history department.

  1. Positive relationships with others: Evaluates the quality of relationships a person has in their life.
    Example: Olivia and Yusef have been married for 15 years and, while it hasn’t been easy, they’re both happy in their marriage. They show respect for one another and continue to prioritize time together to have fun and grow their love. 

  1. Purpose in life: Evaluates the goals and determination a person has.

Example: Holly has wanted to become a lawyer since she was in middle school so she could help advocate on behalf of those who needed her help. Now, after graduating from law school, she’s excited to begin her career at a law firm focused on U.S. immigration. 

  1. Self-acceptance: Evaluates the outlook a person has on themselves
    Example: Thai knows he may not be the wittiest person in his office, but he knows he brings other strengths to the team and is proud of himself for being a hard worker and an open-minded thinker who’s good at brainstorming new ideas.

According to Ryff, how you feel about these six categories will affect your total level of psychological well-being. Focusing on these areas will help you have a better quality of life, improve your mental health, and develop a more positive outlook about your circumstances.

How do you achieve psychological well-being?

To achieve psychological well-being, it’s wise to focus on developing the six focus areas outlined by Ryff. Here are some examples of how you can improve in each of those six categories: 

1. Autonomy 

One of the best ways to build up your autonomy is to improve your confidence in yourself. A confident person is comfortable with the choices they make and doesn’t seek or become easily influenced by the opinions of others. To make yourself more confident, remind yourself of all of the good traits about yourself. Write them down. Don’t be shy—there are tons of great qualities you have that make you who you are.  

Then, find a hobby or outlet that you do only for yourself and make it a priority. It can be easy to be swept up in the needs of others, but having time that’s just for yourself to focus on what you love is critical to building up more autonomy and, ultimately, your psychological well-being. 

2. Environmental mastery

If you feel like you are the creator of your own destiny, that’s a sign you have high environmental mastery in your overall psychological well-being. If you can’t wholeheartedly agree with that statement, consider what aspects in your life feel out of your control. Then, ask yourself if they are things that can even be controlled. 

Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed because things happen without warning, but it’s important to keep in mind there is only so much you can control in your own life. Practice mindfulness to help yourself focus on the present and avoid worrying about things that you don’t have a say in. 

However, there are aspects of your life where you should hold some control, such as your friends, career, or passions. Remind yourself of the goals or dreams you have for your life. If you haven’t pursued them yet, what’s stopping you now? See what goals you can start working toward now and make room for them in your life, even if it means saying no to other things. You only get one chance at life—make sure it’s a life you want to live.

3. Personal growth

A person who values personal growth and challenges themself to learn tends to have psychological well-being because they don’t feel stuck and know they’re working toward becoming a better person. 

Depending on what you decide you’d like to challenge yourself with, there are many different ways you can go after personal growth. You could try to learn a new skill, create a regular exercise routine, learn about different cultures, or work on your patience with others. 

It’s also helpful to write down the focus areas you have for your personal growth and create a life goals list. This list will help you stay on track and remind you what you’re working toward.

4. Positive relationships with others

Having good relationships with others is no doubt a huge indicator of a person’s happiness and overall psychological well-being. To develop positive relationships, find ways to connect with your loved ones you may have fallen out of touch with. You can invite them for coffee or reach out through a simple phone call. If there have been difficulties in the past, work through those issues together and see if you can come to acceptance and forgiveness for any past problems. 

If you’re looking to build new relationships with others, consider opportunities that will put you in contact with new groups of people. For example, you could join a community book club or get a membership at your neighborhood gym. These activities will expose you to new people who could develop into positive and lasting friends.

5. Purpose in life

Find a way to live a life of meaning, and you’ll feel fulfilled and content. Many people find purpose in life by serving others, whether it’s through volunteering or raising children. Others may find their purpose in their career or by discovering new innovations to improve the world. 

No matter what your purpose is, it should motivate you and give you energy to work toward it every day. When you feel like your life has meaning and is part of bettering the world, your psychological well-being will improve.

6. Self-acceptance 

When you are at peace with yourself, it opens the doors for your psychological well-being and overall happiness. You can work on your self-acceptance by being kinder toward yourself. Talk to yourself as if you are one of your closest friends and avoid belittling or bashing on yourself if you don’t succeed at something. 

Another way to move toward self-acceptance is to avoid comparing yourself to others. While easy to do, comparison does nothing except make you feel worse about yourself and your circumstances. No one else is you, and you shouldn’t want to be anyone else. Embrace the qualities that make you unique and try to see yourself through the lens of your loved ones.

If you’re still struggling, speak to a professional for help

For many, achieving psychological well-being isn’t easy and they may need professional assistance to help them work toward wellness. If this is the case for you, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a psychological well-being practitioner. These practitioners are experts in mental health and psychological well-being and can help you find ways to manage anxiety, deal with your emotions, and find contentment in your life.

A common practice that people struggling with mental health can find helpful is meditation. Practicing mindfulness or meditation has also shown to lower physical health risks and improve your quality of life. Speak with your practitioner about what meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being might be beneficial for you.  

Working with a life coach is another option to help you work on your psychological well-being. This person can help you evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, and point you in the right direction to fill certain gaps in your life, such as building relationships with others or having more confidence in yourself. While a life coach is not a substitute for a health practitioner, together the two roles can help you on your psychological well-being journey and keep you moving forward.

Your psychological wellness journey starts now

Prioritizing your psychological well-being is critical for your mental health and overall happiness. 

While you can’t completely flip your mindset and well-being overnight, work on these key focus areas and speak with an expert if you’re struggling. Your wellness is a lifelong journey—don’t wait to take the first step toward psychological well-being.

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15 ways to improve your mental health. Psychotherapist's blog / HB

How to survive the next year without going crazy? Where to lay straws?

__22 Photo:

How to invest in your mental health - but not to fall before the moment of receiving dividends? I've written a list of simple, effortless things that are likely to improve your well-being and mental health. It is not necessary to try to do everything in a row - you can choose what suits you personally. So let's go!

1. Choose what makes you happier

The more happy and pleasant experiences you have in life, the better your general condition will be. Therefore, it is important that in your weekly routine there are enough reasons to feel happy - they, like a gold reserve, increase resistance to stress and life's ups and downs. Everyone has their own list of “happiness throwers”, and it doesn’t matter what exactly is in yours. It is important to remember to make these small choices every day – in family, work, hobbies and everything else.

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2. Listen to body and mind signals

The human body is a unique self-healing and self-purifying system. It has many "sensors" that register unwanted and harmful effects, and many ways to send an alarm signal that something needs to be changed. The only pity is that we rarely hear these signals - as a rule, we have more important goals and objectives. So this point is about mindfulness and intuition. The body is smart, it tries to save us many, many times a day and save something for us. Let's listen, at least sometimes.

3. Be alone

No, this recommendation is not just for introverts. It has been proven that most people feel better after 20-30 minutes of solitude. This is especially true for those whose life is quite turbulent due to the specifics of work, family composition or other external factors. It is very important to give yourself the opportunity to be silent for a while and be alone, without feeling abandoned, but simply relaxing.

4. Be with people

"When you feel bad, you need to go to people, because people are good at delaying." There is only part of the truth in this apt statement. It is possible and necessary to go to people not only when it's bad - but also when it's good, and when in no way, and when somehow. Being close to someone, living something together is a unique healing practice. It is not at all necessary that people be very close (although this may be important to someone). It is enough that they are also ready to meet you halfway and make contact.

5. Hug and touch others

Tactile contact is one of our first ways to communicate with the world and our "secret weapon". Research suggests initiating and accepting 5 to 10 touches and hugs a day to feel good. Of course, these rules do not work for everyone, but only for those who are comfortable with touching themselves (unfortunately, modern culture is rather tactile-phobic, so this can be a problem). Touching and hugging reduce anxiety and stress by stimulating oxytocin production, improve heart function, help send and receive emotional signals, even out the climate in relationships, and much more.

6. Dedicate time to nature

Many people give this trivial recommendation, everyone is tired of it, so I want to clarify it a little and illuminate it from a new angle. It has been proven that the observation of moving natural objects (tree crowns in the wind, flowing water, clouds, etc. ) puts a person into a shallow trance, which is useful for all supporting systems of the body, including mental ones. In addition, the positive effect of fiddling with the earth is known, so people who have house plants or a garden are less prone to stress. Clean air, new impressions and rest for the eyes are also no less useful "acquisitions" from outings into nature, for which, in fact, nothing special is required. So, forward to the pampas!

7. Avoid activities based on negativity

It turns out that people who mock and laugh at others (there is a term for this in English: snark) do not feel better after that. And globally, oddly enough, they often evaluate themselves as unhappy. I think the causal relationship here is this: the need for sarcasm, cruelty and humiliation of others often arises from some kind of dysfunctional personal base. Maybe this is a difficult situation or a difficult period in life, maybe a character set, maybe something else - but the snark, apparently, does not bring relief. Therefore, if you find such a need, it makes sense not to follow her lead.

8. Practice gratitude

Gratitude is like a healing elixir. When we begin to notice the bright things that are happening around us, life blooms with bright colors. Research shows that regularly reflecting and expressing gratitude (to anyone, even your cat or good weather) improves well-being and mood. If you're having a hard time remembering things to say thank you, search the internet for some fun lists on the subject. In such lists there are, for example, gifs with puppies.

9. Reduce the amount of stimulants

Our generation is the most medicalized, stimulated and anesthetized of any previous generation. The pace of life for most of us is such that it seems that without such “crutches” as alcohol, coffee, energy drinks and high-calorie foods, you simply cannot do. In fact, it is possible and often necessary to get by, because the effect of almost all these stimulants is to shock the body, and in the long run this is harmful. Try to change those moments in which you habitually push yourself with something. Well, what if the doctor forbade it to you? Surely they could do it on their own. So maybe you shouldn't wait for the doctor? And then after all, many have a chance to wait.

10. Reduce the amount of information

A modern person every day deals with so much new information that his ancestor did not have time to digest even in his entire life. Our brain constantly “overeats”, we need to give it a break. For example, do not use processes that increase the amount of information (news feed, Facebook, etc.) as a means to relax and unwind. And also arrange for yourself an “information detox” in nature or just in solitude. Or... what ways do you have to reduce this flickering stream?

11. Exercise

When you exercise, not only do many good things happen in your body on a physical level, but also substances that affect your well-being and mood are produced. For example, endorphins are a great thing. Indulge in this natural source of pleasure at least once in a while. If life does not allow you to take it seriously, then dance to music two or three tracks a day, this is much better than a complete lack of physical activity.

12. Take a walk

It seems that half of the recommendations will be about the struggle with the peculiarities of the life of a modern person. This point is no exception: most of us gradually settle more and more indoors, whether it be work or home. This is due to the acceleration of the pace of life and the penetration of modern technologies and the Internet into it. Walking, in addition to fresh air (relative to the one in the room), gives the necessary warm-up to the body, rest for tired eyes and time for thoughts or leisurely conversations. 30-40 minutes of walking daily is considered optimal.

13. Allow yourself to feel

It is quite convenient to control and suppress emotions, this method - consciously or not - is used by many. In addition, our culture and mentality is prohibitive in relation to many "undesirable" feelings, which aggravates the situation. But for health, alas, all this is frankly harmful. Therefore, I advertise to everyone the idea of ​​studying my feelings and using them, at least this will be the prevention of psychosomatic symptoms, and maybe something else pleasant will be found.

14. Communicate with animals

It has long been no secret that pet owners are more likely to feel happy than people who live without them. Animals improve the course of heart and vascular diseases, reduce headaches, have a good effect on PMS and other conditions. Of course, this is somewhat subjective, but why do we need objectivity in such a matter as self-awareness? Even if you do not have a furry (or bald, or scaly) friend and there is no way to get one, you can chat with animals in many places. Zoos, parks, animals of friends and acquaintances, farms, stables, nurseries, etc. For the most advanced, there are dog, hippo and dolphin therapy. Try it and you won't regret it!

15. Try something new

You don't have to load yourself up with a new foreign language or buy an unfamiliar product to try (although you can). The essence of this point is that the new stimulates the “correct” brain activity, which is very important for mental well-being. In addition, it has been proven that small portions of new knowledge or experience, obtained regularly, are the prevention of dementia. You can turn this point to your advantage - to study and try something that will bring you practical benefits. For example, reading everyday life hacks, trying new ways to improve your sleep, cooking new meals, doing interesting exercises, etc.

To be continued here. Stay tuned for updates

Text published with permission of the author


Tags: Psychology Relationships Mental health Ekaterina Sigitova

or other mental health problems. It can be your friend, colleague or even yourself…

The mental state is a taboo subject for many of us, but often it is an exhausting daily struggle with a series of failures and a fight with an invisible enemy. And just as there is no one-size-fits-all diagnosis, whether it be major depression or mild nervousness, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment.

Related articles: How to stop procrastinating and start living

However, there are methods that will at least help reduce stress and anxiety, reducing the burden on the psyche. In this article, Shayan Kadir, Personal Growth Coach and Sanctus Masterclass, shares 11 ways you can improve your mental well-being.

1. Enter the flow state

“Flow is the state in which you allow your mind and body to merge into each other. If we do something every day, we can enter this state when we are immersed in our activity with our heads. There are many activities that help you get into the flow state, such as running, meditating, doing art, and even typing on a keyboard. As soon as you find "your" flow, you will feel that time seems to have stopped, and all worries go away. At first it will take practice, you will come closer to this state each time, and in the end the body will do everything for you.

2. "Will it matter in...?"

“When you're very upset about something, it's easy to lose sight of the longer term. Ask yourself: “Will this matter in a week? In a month? In a year?" Your condition right now may not match how important the problem will be in a while, and these questions will help you look at the situation from a different perspective in order to understand how to respond to it. And if the issue is still important in a year, these questions can change how you act in such a situation.

3. Get back to nature

“The Japanese have a concept of “forest bathing” – it means spending time in nature and walking among the trees. It helps restore the natural balance of our body. Stress, anxiety, global issues, city life, constant activity in social networks - all this causes tension, and a break from such a load, even if it's just time spent in nature, is very beneficial for our physical and mental health.

4. Control your breathing

“Quite often when we get too caught up in our thoughts, stress causes us to lose control, become anxious and even panicky, and a good way to break this is to focus on breathing. Take deep breaths, paying attention to how you breathe, and remain calm so that your worries do not throw you off balance, causing a panic attack. Some triggers appear before an attack - this is rapid breathing, heaviness in the chest, tension in the shoulders and throughout the body. Focus on what feels wrong and ask yourself, "How can I get out of this?"

5. Name your critic

“Most people think we only have one inner voice. In fact, there are at least two such voices contradicting each other, and the next time one of them declares in an internal monologue that you are not good enough, remember that this “critic” is not the only one who has the right to vote. Give him a name and character, and the next time you hear something self-deprecating from him, you will realize that “critic” is not the only thought and you can challenge him.”

6. Move more

“Set aside time for stretching, strength training, cardio, or even brisk walking – it will have a noticeable effect on your mental state. From a biological point of view, we as hunters and gatherers are designed to move - every day we need to go in search of food, and then come back. Therefore, if we sit at the table all day, spending all our energy on the work of the head, we seem to “disconnect” from the body. Take regular breaks to move around - this will have a significant impact on your brain.

Related articles: How to deal with fear and live life to the fullest

7. Talk to people

“Many people are reluctant to talk to family and friends about psychological problems. This will be a difficult but important step, because then you will be able to say what you think - as opposed to the usual "everything is fine" when in fact "everything sucks." Believe it or not, the eternal positivity has its downsides. For example, if you are grieving for someone close, and your motto is to think positively, forget about everything and move on, there will remain a need inside you to release grief. I saw many people who, even a few years later, the tragedy did not live through this grief and still cannot come to their senses. It is very important to allow yourself to experience the full range of emotions. If sometimes you allow yourself to be sad, then sadness passes faster.

8. Help

“Sometimes we get hung up on our problems and don't see what's going on around us, and then the opportunity to help other people allows us to look at the situation from a different perspective. It also releases endorphins, making us feel better. You can do charity work or simply write to someone and see if they need help. What is very simple for ourselves may be very difficult for other people, but you will not know about it if you do not ask. Helping others will give you a deep sense of belonging.”

9. Create

“Make time for activities that strengthen the connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. As people age, they forget what it means to simply enjoy life, play and invent games, as we did in childhood. That's why it's good to find time for creative pursuits, whether it's painting, music, singing, dancing, designing, building, cooking, or decorating. If your mental state leaves much to be desired, creativity will help you find healing by expressing yourself in a new way.”

10. Work on your sleep patterns

“Significant levels of stress and anxiety are associated with not being able to get a good night's sleep. Everything is interconnected: it is very important to adhere to a suitable ritual or a certain time for going to bed and waking up, especially during the week. Set aside all gadgets an hour before bed to help reduce stress levels. Reading or meditating before bed is also a good way to normalize your sleep patterns.”

11. Feel gratitude

“Finally, remember the little things that are good and feel grateful for them – because they are so easy to lose sight of, thinking only about problems, about what is not working and what we need become better. This is how we forget the good things and how lucky we are until we lose what we took for granted. Ask yourself: what are you thankful for? There may be more of these things than you think.

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