I recently attended a conference where one of the speakers was Nic Marks of the New Economics Foundation who, a few years ago, came up with the Five Ways of Wellbeing. These are 5 actions that can increase wellbeing or happiness. They have been taken up by governments and other organisations around the world. And they are:
Connect: because social relationships are the strongest part really of happiness and wellbeing
Take notice: noticing what’s going on around us and within us
Keep learning: learning through your life course
Give: volunteering, generosity, altruism are all really good for our own wellbeing as well as other people’s.
It struck me that as members of the Church, we didn’t need the New Economics Foundation to tell us about this.
With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. 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. (New Economics Foundation)
‘Remember you are part of a team that is pulling for you. You are connected by unseen tethers of love to people who pray and pull for you daily, even though those ties are not as visible as the ropes of the mountain climbers. Your teammates even extend into the world beyond. Your ancestors are concerned for you and supporting you. Relatives, teachers in school and in church, and good friends always try to lift. If you ever have acquaintances who are trying to pull you with them on their downward drift, know that these people are not truly your friends at all. Real friends never pull you down; they always lift!’ (Russell M Nelson, New Era, May 1996)
‘In our day it is easy to merely pretend to spend time with others. With the click of a mouse, we can “connect” with thousands of “friends” without ever having to face a single one of them. Technology can be a wonderful thing, and it is very useful when we cannot be near our loved ones. My wife and I live far away from precious family members; we know how that is. However, I believe that we are not headed in the right direction, individually and as a society, when we connect with family or friends mostly by reposting humorous pictures, forwarding trivial things, or linking our loved ones to sites on the Internet. I suppose there is a place for this kind of activity, but how much time are we willing to spend on it? If we fail to give our best personal self and undivided time to those who are truly important to us, one day we will regret it.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2012)
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
David O. McKay said:
Among life’s sweetest blessings is fellowship with men and women whose ideals and aspirations are high and noble. Next to a sense of a kinship with God comes the helpfulness, encouragement, and inspiration of friends. Friendship is a sacred possession. . . . One of the principal reasons which the Lord had for establishing His Church is to give all persons high and low, rich and poor, strong and feeble an opportunity to associate with their fellowmen in an atmosphere of uplifting, religious fellowship. This [association] may be found in Priesthood quorums, Auxiliaries, Sacrament meetings. He who neglects these opportunities, who fails to take advantage of them, to that extent starves his own soul.
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; one that suits your level of mobility and fitness. (New Economics Foundation)
‘…physical fitness is vitally important for effectiveness in the following areas: physical and emotional endurance; good health to assure vitality, vigor, and enthusiasm for your work; the ability to relate favorably with your children and other youth and their energies and ideals; and the ability to live safely and effectively with stress and tension.’ (Clarence Robison, Ensign, September 1972)
“The healthy man, who takes care of his physical being, has strength and vitality; his temple is a fit place for his spirit to reside. … It is necessary, therefore, to care for our physical bodies, and observe the laws of physical health and happiness.” (David O. McKay, “The Whole Man,” Era, vol. 55 (April 1952), p. 221.)
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are on a train, 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. (New Economics Foundation)
‘I am asking that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we “accentuate the positive.” I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, Ensign, April 1986)
‘The miracle of the changing seasons, with the reawakening and rebirth in nature, inspires feelings of love and reverence within us for God’s marvelous, creative handiwork.’ (M Russell Ballard, General Conference, April 1988)
Alma 30:44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
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 cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident, as well as being fun to do.
“We are in the school [of mortality] and keep learning, and we do not expect to cease learning while we live on earth; and when we pass through the veil, we expect still to continue to learn and increase our fund of information. That may appear a strange idea to some; but it is for the plain and simple reason that we are not capacitated to receive all knowledge at once. We must therefore receive a little here and a little there.” (Brigham Young)
‘Every individual has creative capacity. The satisfaction and growth creativity generates is intended for each of us, not just for the most gifted. To “try it” takes courage. ….As you experiment with new things you will discover a great deal about yourself that likely won’t be revealed any other way. “Try it” and you may open up a lifetime of joy and rewarding accomplishment.’ (Richard G Scott, New Era, August 1995)
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 will create connections with the people around you. (New Economics Foundation)
‘One of the sure signs of a person who has accepted the gift of the Savior’s atonement is a willingness to give. The process of cleansing our lives seems to make us more sensitive, more generous, more pleased to share what means so much to us.’ (Henry B Eyring, Ensign, December 1982)
“The Prophet Joseph said at one time that one of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a great sin. There is a great tendency for us in our prayers and in our pleadings with the Lord to ask for additional blessings. But sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. We enjoy so much.” (Ezra Taft Benson, God,Family, Country,Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 199.)
‘If you would find happiness and joy, lose your life in some noble cause. A worthy purpose must be at the center of every worthy life.’ (Jack H Goaslind, General Conference, April 1986)