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Top 12 Wellbeing Resources of 2014

By Jesús Martín, Researcher and Wellbeing Ambassador

At the beginning of 2014, NOW launched a free online Wellbeing Database, which offers the opportunity to access and share resources about wellbeing, to enable learning and collaboration. The Wellbeing Database continues to grow, and now includes links to a rich and wide variety of videos, reports, research, guides and toolkits. As we start a new year, it can be valuable to reflect upon what we’ve learned from the year just passed, so we have decided to curate some of the most interesting and helpful resources released in 2014, which we featured in our Wellbeing Database. 

We have tried to create a balanced collection of resources, in terms of different categories and varied points of the relevance to the wellbeing agenda. We have also chosen resources which show a variety of approaches: some resources shared are more visual or emotional, whilst others are more cognitive or more active. There are 12 resources in this list in total; three videos, six reports and three guides. We hope you find this a useful list; please feel free to let us know your own suggestions, either in the comments section of this post, by contacting us, or by submitting an entry to the Wellbeing Database directly.

Videos

There have been many inspiring and informative videos released over the past 12 months. The three shared below have been highlighted here due to their power in offering a new vision for economics, which is more closely aligned with wellbeing.

Enough is Enough, by CASSE

Enough is Enough lays out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of economic growth—an economy where the goal is to have enough, and not more. Based on the best-selling book by Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill, the film explores specific strategies to fix the financial system, reduce inequality, create jobs and more.

A Further Adventure in New Economics: Happiness Works, by Nic Marks

Last February, NOW hosted an event with Schumacher College which brought inspiring wellbeing thinker Nic Marks to speak in Totnes, UK. Nic was the founder of the Centre for Wellbeing at the new economics foundation (nef), where he was involved with establishing the well-known Happy Planet Index and the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Now, Nic has started a new venture as founder of Happiness Works, which is focused on designing and building tools to facilitate happier workplaces. This video shares his brilliant talk on Nic’s wide and varied work on wellbeing.

Economy for the Common Good Talk, by Diego Isabel La Moneda

The Economy for the Common Good is a successful grassroots movement, inspired by Christian Felber’s book of the same title. Diego Isabel La Moneda, Coordinator of International Strategy at Economy for the Common Good, spoke about this project in-depth at a talk which NOW co-hosted in collaboration with Schumacher College and the Totnes REconomy Project. Diego’s talk was based on a key question: what would the economy look like if it was focused more on contributing towards the common good, rather than on maximising profits?

Reports

There have been many interesting wellbeing reports this year, and we have picked a selection on the basis of their relevance to the Global Wellbeing Agenda.

State of Global Wellbeing, by Gallup-Healthways

Today, there is a global movement toward the direct measurement and improvement of wellbeing. Amongst the pioneers in this field are Gallup and Healthways, who have been leaders in providing innovative wellbeing measures for the U.S. and many other countries across the globe. This report, State of Global Wellbeing, is the latest milestone in their work.

A Convenient Truth. A Better Society for Us and the Planet, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

A collaboration between the Fabian Society and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has resulted in this new resource from the authors of the best-selling book, The Spirit Level. Wilkinson and Pickett argue that for real improvements in wellbeing, we need a more equal society, which is best achieved by putting democracy at the heart of the economy. Indeed, the authors see the extension of democracy into economic institutions as the next major step in the long project of human emancipation.

Wellbeing and Policy, by the Legatum Institute

As part of a year-long commission, this Wellbeing and Policy report seeks to illustrate the strengths and limitations of wellbeing analysis, and provides original and authoritative guidance on the implications of wellbeing analysis for public policy.

Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement, by Post Carbon Institute

This new movement is a sign of the growing recognition that what are often seen as separate movements—environment, social justice, labour, democracy, indigenous rights—are all deeply interconnected, primarily because the current economic system is a root cause of much that these movements seek to change.

The Value of Arts and Culture to People and Society: An Evidence Review, by Arts Council England

At the Arts Council, when they talk about the value of arts and culture to society, they always start with its intrinsic value: how arts and culture can illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional world. This report shows that this is what it is vital to cherish, and that this is the seed from which wider societal value can bloom.

Sustainable Wellbeing: Concepts, Issues and Educational Practices, by ESBW Press

One of the aims of the Education for Sustainable Wellbeing Research Group at the University of Manitoba (Canada) is to make it possible for education to be a means for human development towards sustainable wellbeing. This e-book compiles the results of their first conference, Educating for Sustainable Wellbeing.

Guides

Gaining a theoretical understanding on wellbeing from communications and research is crucially important, but it is also vital to explore ways to put wellbeing into practice in our own lives. Some of the following guides could help shape actions towards improved wellbeing at personal, community and societal scales:

How to Support your Child’s Wellbeing, by The Children Society

“Parents want their children to be happy and positive about the future. But at times, the huge range of advice from parenting manuals, friends, family and other places can be overwhelming. What makes this guide different is that it’s influenced by the people that really know what they’re talking about – children themselves. It’s based on interviews with thousands of children about what makes them happy with their lives.”

Commissioning for Outcomes and Co-Production: A Practical Guide for Local Authorities, by New Economics Foundation (Julia Slay and Joe Penny)

All local authorities hope to govern in a way that promotes wellbeing and tackles societal problems at their root. This handbook and practical guide is the result of eight years of collaboration between the New Economics Foundation (nef) and local authorities. 

How to Organise a Community Potluck, by the Network of Wellbeing 

This guide describes the Community Potluck events that have been hosted by Network of Wellbeing in Totnes. The aim of this document is to offer information and inspiration to help you to run a similar activity in your own community. Considering the Five Ways to Wellbeing developed by nef, this event offers an opportunity for people to connect by meeting new people in their own community, learn a bit more about each other and about the concept of wellbeing. Guests can explore the theme over conversations, give contributions towards the meal, offer time to help organise the event, be active by going to a new place to do something different, and take notice of what their own community has to offer. So check out this informative guide and find out how you could create a Community Potluck in your own area!

We hope you have found this selection of resources relevant and interesting. Narrowing down this list to just 12 resources was of course a challenge; there were many further resources produced in 2014 which we were unable to include here, but which do feature in our Wellbeing Database. If you’re keen to learn more about wellbeing then you can find many more resources by searching our Wellbeing Database directly. Plus, as mentioned above, please feel free to let us know your own suggestions, either in the comments section of this post, by contacting us, or by submitting an entry to the Wellbeing Database directly.

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