Increase a person's sense of wellbeing

A person’s health and wellbeing are significantly impacted by their sense of loneliness and isolation

National and international research demonstrates that experiencing loneliness and isolation in older age carries an equivalent risk to health as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. It has a destructive impact on quality of life. There are also significant links between minimal social interaction and the onset of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. (Campaign to End Loneliness).

Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness. It’s a complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction, and could be described as how you feel about yourself and your life.

What can we do to improve our wellbeing?

Being able to recognise what we can control and influence is a really good place to start. If something is causing us distress, it is all too easy to ignore or avoid it.


Social relationships act as a buffer against mental ill health, across all ages. This is at the heart of Engage Befriending.


Setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing. You could try that class you’ve often thought about, join a book club or do a crossword or sudoku. You might find some new connections through learning too.

Be active

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety. It helps to slow down age-related cognitive decline and promotes wellbeing.  A simple 15 minute walk or regular chair exercises can make a difference.

Take notice

Taking notice means being present in the moment. Find moments of respite from the world and to enjoy your environment – if you go for a walk, take notice of the wind in the trees, buy a plant for your home.


Research into actions for promoting happiness shows that giving to others is associated with an increase in wellbeing as it creates a sense of rewards, feelings of purpose and self-worth and helps you to connect with others. These could be small acts of kindness towards other people – saying thank you to someone who has helped you or asking friends how they are.

The other fundamentals for managing or enhancing your wellbeing are:

  • A good sleep routine can prove very helpful, particular if you have a chaotic schedule
  • A well-balanced diet is not only good for us physically, but can give us a sense of control and achievement
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Talk to someone about your problems
  • Do the things you enjoy – we are designed to feel joy and pleasure, so don’t let this go

Only you can prioritise your wellbeing and it’s not selfish to do so. Making changes can be difficult and feel overwhelming so if you are struggling to make the necessary changes discuss this with a friend or family member or seek help from a professional if needed.