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The five ways to wellbeing

Five tried and tested ways to feel better right now.

There is good evidence that five specific things can make a big difference to someone’s sense of wellbeing. They’re called the Five Ways To Wellbeing.

The Five Ways are valuable in their own right. They'll improve your health and wellbeing. But it is also likely that if you're feeling good about yourself, you will find it easier to make the other changes in your life that will improve your physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are:


Feeling close to, and valued by, other people. Some ideas to help feel more connected:

  • Talk to someone rather than texting or emailing
  • Talk to someone new 
  • Ask someone something about themselves that you don’t know
  • Offer someone a lift or suggest you travel together
  • Contact someone you have not spoken to for over a year
  • Join a club or group

Be Active 

Taking part in regular physical activity

  • Take stairs, not the lift
  • Get off the train or bus a stop earlier or park the car further away
  • Do stretching exercises
  • Do an activity (eg. cycling or swimming) that you have not tried for a while
  • Combine being active with connecting: sport, walking, gardening

Take Notice

Being aware of what is taking place in the present.

  • Look up at the sky rather than down at the pavement
  • Take a different route on a familiar journey
  • Go somewhere new for lunch
  • Spend time in parks, forests and at the seaside


Continuing to learn throughout life

  • Sign up for a class
  • Read a book
  • Do some puzzles
  • Research something you are curious about (eg. your family tree)
  • Take up a language or a musical instrument
  • Learn some practical skills (eg. how to fix your bike)


Participating in social and community life.

  • Volunteer for a charity or community group
  • Visit an elderly relative or neighbour
  • Do someone a favour
  • Smile and say thanks

If you want an easy way to remember the five ways, try CAN DO: C(onnect), A(ctive), N(otice) and D(iscover) and O(ffer). Works for me.

But how do I use them?

Dozens of ways but if you want a simple place to start, try the CAN DO Challenge and/or you can our Man MOT For the Mind manual. Full of good ideas and useful tools to monitor your progress.

The Five Ways were developed by the New Economics Foundation.

Date published 19/05/20
Date of last review 19/05/20
Date of next review 19/05/23


The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. Especially during a major pandemic like Covid-19. So we’re asking.

Men appear more likely to get Covid-19 and far, far more likely to die from it. The Men's Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action on this from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently we're the only UK charity doing this - please help us.

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