The Five Ways Project
Since I began writing this blog I’ve encountered many great people via social media. Some of whom I’ve also met in the ‘real-world’ and some of whom have remained as virtual contacts, But whichever camp they are in, I can honestly say that communicating with them has enhanced my life. I recently made contact on Twitter with the account for the Five Ways Project who were looking for people to give a little voluntary help here and there.
As many of you listeners will know, I have recently graduated from university. In order to support myself I’m now setting up a business offering editorial services. But I’m very fortunate in that I don’t need to work full-time thus am able to give some time elsewhere. To that end I’ve been helping out a bit at the Richard Jefferies Museum and have volunteered some help to the Five Ways Project (search for Five Ways Project on Twitter) using my capabilities with the English language. So by now you might be wondering what The Five Ways Project is all about – fear not listeners! Belinda Platt who is part of the project, has written a lovely guest post to tell us all more about it. First here’s some context from Belinda about herself in her own words:
‘ I have Bipolar and OCD and have suffered with an eating disorder. How does this relate to the 5 Ways and Swindon, you ask? Swindon was the home of my recovery. Swindon was the home of hope. Swindon was the home of Me.
In 2011 I was referred to TWIGS (Therapeutic Work In Gardening Swindon) in Cheney Manor, where I took part in the Arts and Crafts activities. I was terrible but I tried my best. It was there that I learned of the Five Ways to Wellbeing. It wasn’t in our everyday programme but it was always there in the background. Suddenly – for me – things seemed a lot clearer. I looked at which of the five I had in my life at that time.
I had always felt something was missing in my life – but could never put my finger on it – I just never felt “whole”. I scored extremely low out of the five. So I decided I’d try this out – “Give it a chance” I said to myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Well I’m here to tell you the BEST happened.
This is what I’m hoping to tell people through the Project. And at the same time give back to that much-maligned town I love: SWINDON. As well as putting all our efforts into helping the Swindon community, we are going to use purely local Swindon businesses, volunteers, organisations to create it. We have website designers, printers, distributors all from our very own town. It is by Swindon, for Swindon, with Swindon at its very heart.
We want Swindon to become the HUB OF WELLBEING. People look at us all and go: this is what we want to be. They visit and they feel our community spirit, the town’s own wellbeing.
We want Swindon to be happy and healthy. It deserves to be, and so do you.’
At this point I should say that, as a previous sufferer of depression, I’ve some personal experience of what this is all about and when I came to Swindon I was able to access mental health services that were simply unavailable to me back in Derbyshire. Similarly when my mother developed Alzheimer’s disease the help she got here in Swindon was fantastic. All of which, combined with complicated pragmatic reasons, is a big part of why I feel so strongly about Swindon. That and the fact that it has lots of great facilities and public art of course! 🙂
So now to Belinda’s post about the project itself – much of it is common sense really – and I’m certainly doing the ‘keep learning’ bit but it never hurts to be made to consciously think of these things I feel. So thank you Belinda for this and very best wishes for the success of the project.
The Five Ways Project – a new initiative for Swindon
‘How happy are you? Really? Why do you think that? Happiness is such a tricky subject – and means different things to different people. For one it might be family – to others their health – to others a big bar of Dairy Milk!
Well, we have just started a new initiative for Swindon called “The Five Ways Project” and I’m here to tell you what WE feel is the route to happiness and, more importantly, personal well-being.
Wellbeing is defined as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.”
In 2008, a group called the New Economics Foundation devised their theory of the Five Ways to Well-being. In case you haven’t heard of them, these are five methods that the NEF say all intertwine to create a happy and healthy wellbeing: CONNECT, TAKE NOTICE, GIVE, KEEP LEARNING and BE ACTIVE.
Connect with those around you – family, friends, even strangers. Build on your relationships with people, create new ones.
Take Notice of everything around you – your surroundings, a scent of a flower, the way the sunshine hits the grass.
Give – to others, to yourself – money to your favourite charity, time to another person – perhaps that elderly lady who lives across the hall from you that no-one ever visits – listen to her, talk to her, be with her.
Be Active – this is obvious – your body is extremely important for your wellbeing – physical and mental health should be, and are, equals. Many see physically active people as “healthy” – yes they are and it’s extremely necessary – but ARE they healthy? Wholly?
Keep Learning – as just mentioned we are constantly told to keep fit physically and that is correct – well your brain is just as important as your heart – they are linked as people say – it needs exercise – go to that evening class – read a book you’ve not heard of before – go to a cookery demonstration – the world is full of things we don’t know (despite many people thinking they DO!!)
I asked above whether you would think a physically healthy person – someone who eats the right number of calories, goes to the gym 3 times a week, is the right weight for their height – has a healthy well-being?
We feel not so – we believe well-being is a combination of all five different factors.
That physically healthy person – have you seen them away from that “exercise regime”. Do they have friends? Maybe they’re extremely lonely people behind closed doors. Do they ever give their time to someone else? Or are they completely self-involved – have the “Me, Me, Me” syndrome? Yes their heart may be fit and working to the best of its ability – but that doesn’t necessarily make them have a healthy well-being.
We say ALL the aforementioned five qualities should be present to feel truly balanced, healthy and well.’
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