What is wellbeing?
Wellbeing is described as a positive state experienced by societies and individuals. It can also be described as the state of being healthy, happy or comfortable.
Wellbeing is a resource for daily life and can be determined by economic, environmental, and social conditions. Individuals who focus and prioritise wellbeing typically result in being generally happy and have a positive outlook on life. A society’s well-being can be determined by the extent to which they are resilient and prepared to transcend challenges.
What are examples of wellbeing?
Wellbeing is having the understanding of the balance between the three key elements of our lives: what we think, do, and experience. For example, when we think positively, we tend to have greater emotional wellbeing. There is many aspects to wellbeing and the many areas in our lives that we can enhance our wellbeing.
The ability to practice relaxation and stress reduction techniques. The tools and skills to boost self-love, be resilient and create emotions that add happiness to our lives.
The ability to develop meaningful relationships and communicate with individuals in an effective and positive way.
The ability to improve the functioning of your body through movement, effective exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle.
The ability to fulfil your values, life purpose and interests in order to live a happy and meaningful professional life.
The ability to actively participate in a thriving and happy environment, community and culture.
Can You Actually Improve Your Wellbeing?
There are many things that can influence your wellbeing. These include diet, exercise, relationships and friendships, sense of belonging, career, self-care, spirituality, money and financial stability, where we live (including climate), and sense of purpose.
Extensive research in moral and social psychology has widely demonstrated the vast benefits of kindness in increasing prosocial behaviour, promoting beneficial community outcomes, enhancing learning in the classroom and that kindness is just overall good for your general wellbeing.
Four science-backed ways to improve your health through kindness
Kindness releases feel-good hormones
Have you ever noticed that when you do something nice for somebody else, it instantly makes you feel better too? This is not just something that happens by chance— these nice gestures create physical changes in the pleasure centres of your brain. Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you feel joyful and content!
Kindness eases anxiety
Anxiety is a universal human experience and is our body’s natural response to stress. While there are several ways to reduce anxiety, such as exercise, a balanced diet and meditation it turns out that being nice to others is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to keep anxiety at bay!
In a study carried out by the University of British Colombia (2013), a group of highly anxious individuals were asked to perform a minimum of six acts of kindness a week. After one month of carrying out acts of kindness, the researchers’ found a significant increase in the participants’, relationship satisfaction, an increase in positive mood and a decrease in social avoidance.
So, the next time you’re feeling a little anxious, look for opportunity to help someone. This could range from opening a door for someone to calling a friend for a chat to lending your time to volunteer for a charity. Even a small gesture can make a huge difference!
Kindness can help you live longer
Loneliness and isolation places you at greater risk of developing heart disease, therefore it is important to maintain a strong network of family and friends. When we are kind to others, we give ourselves the chance of developing strong, meaningful friendships which can increase our life span!
So, go ahead and socialise to expand your network friends, or invest some extra kindness and compassion into the ones you already have.
It reduces stress
Due to our ever-changing and busy day to day lives, we need effective ways to reduce our stress… However, achieving a sense of calm is easier than we think!
Through helping others, we get a chance to step outside of our problems and take a break from the stressors in our own lives, and this kind behaviour can not only increase our resilience, but it also makes us better equipped to handle stressful situations in the future.
Affiliative behaviour is any behaviour that helps us develop relationships with others. According to a study on the effects of prosocial behaviour on stress “Affiliative behaviour may be an important component of coping with stress and indicate that engaging in prosocial behaviour (action intended to help others) might be an effective strategy for reducing the impact of stress on emotional functioning.”