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Keep Learning to Improve Your Wellbeing

Earlier this year the Network of Wellbeing (NOW) launched a free online Wellbeing Database, which offers an opportunity to access and share resources about wellbeing, to enable learning and collaboration. Ultimately, the intention of the Wellbeing Database is to strengthen individual and community wellbeing in practice. The Wellbeing Database continues to grow, and now includes links to a rich and wide variety of videos, reports, research, guides and toolkits. Therefore, we have decided to curate some suggestions of the best resources in different categories in our Wellbeing Database.

We have ten categories in total in our Wellbeing Database, and we would like to share with you some of the best resources we have found in each category. We started this series with a post looking at the best resources available on “Links between Wellbeing and the Environment”. In this post, we will focus on resources in Education and Wellbeing. We have chosen this category as it was World Teacher’s Day earlier this month, and it is of course important to pay  tribute to those teachers in all of our lives who help us to keep learning, and create the foundations for the curiosity, passion and love of learning in us.
Education does not need to start and stop at a certain age; it has been proven that if we keep learning throughout our lives this is good for our overall wellbeing. New Economics Foundation (nef) established the “Five Ways to Wellbeing” as a simple and easy recipe that every person could follow for improving their own personal wellbeing.

One of the Five Ways is keep learning

Learning can take many forms, and suggestions based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing have included the following: Try something new. Rediscover and 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.
As Education is a transversal category which crosses over with many of the the different categories that integrate into the multi-faceted concept of wellbeing. This can include  environment, community, economics, health and more. Below we share suggestions of some videos, reports, research, guides, toolkits and even games available in our Wellbeing Database which can help challenge you to keep learning in a variety of ways.

Documentaries, Videos and Talks

Sometimes education can be about reconnecting with things we have already learnt, but have forgotten. The independent documentary “The Forbidden Education” (Spanish with English subtitles) is a crowdfunded movie that was seen for almost 2 million people during its first week, and it is the sort of film that provides a reminder of things many of us already know about the importance of education, wellbeing, and the environment to society.

It is important to build education from a place that is respectful of the learner, and this is highlighted in the video on, “Wellbeing before learningF Flourishing students, successful schools” by Martin Seligman, one of the founders of Positive Psychology. This talk covers the framework and tool “PERMA” (Positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement) which can help students and schools to flourish. 

There are of course many further amazing and free videos out there on wellbeing and education. For the purpose of the post I’d like to just highlight a few videos which help to provide a visual big picture about how wellbeing can be approached. Firstly, a talk on Happiness and Wellbeing from Nic Marks and Ragnhild Bang Nes which offers many insights for understanding what wellbeing is. Secondly, an animation that provides an accessible introduction to all of the Five Ways to Wellbeing, titled “Take 5: Exploring the 5 ways to wellbeing”. Exploring and learning about different perspectives on wellbeing helps us to broaden our horizons.

Reports, magazines and research

NOW’s Wellbeing Database contains a wide variety of written material where we can learn from; in addition to videos you can also find reports, magazines and research. Many of these resources share different perspectives and visions, but all offer a valuable insight into (some aspect of) wellbeing. It is quite difficult to choose which are best to highlight, but the below list of reports, magazines and research related to Wellbeing and Education which will hopefully peak your curiosity, and from there you can dive deeper according your passion or attention.

Guides, Toolkits and Games

In addition to videos and reports, there are some guides and toolkits in the Wellbeing Database which can help provide step by step advice on learning and wellbeing.

Those who are interesting in learning about Gross National Happiness (GNH) as an inspiring approach to wellbeing may enjoy “A short guide to Gross National Happiness” where the Centre for Bhutan Studies explains how the GNH works.

Those who are interested in youth education may find this guidebook by UNESCO & UNEP helpful “Youth X change. Climate change and lifestyles”. It aims to promote sustainable lifestyles among youth (15-24 years) through education, dialogue, awareness raising and capacity building.

Another interesting guide not only for young people but for adults is “Developing your Ecomind: How to guide” by Frances Moore Lappé. This guide aims to help provide information needed to run workshops or seminars with the idea of changing the way we think to create the world we want, through the Small Planet Institute framework.

It is clear that the environment sustains life and so education on the links between the environment and our own wellbeing is really valuable.  If you would like a way to encourage children to learn about the connection between wellbeing and the environment, you can check out the toolbox: “Games to save the planet: A toolbox of arts-based environmental activities”. These games will help encourage children to learn and reconnect with Nature in a joyful way.

Generally, I’d argue that one of the secrets for a good education is that positive emotions  during learning can make the whole process  easier and more effective. So let’s reconnect with education and remember to play and enjoy as we keep learning.

To search out Wellbeing Database further click here. If you have resources you would like to propose including in our Wellbeing Database then feel free to submit your suggestions here.

This post was written by Jesús Martin, Research Intern and Wellbeing Ambassador.

Image Credits: Image 1 (coloured pencils) photo credit: Alan Cleaver. Image 2: (5 ways to wellbeing): NOW postcard, sharing nef's Five Ways to Wellbeing.

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