FEELING good and living well for longer is the ultimate life plan. Whether or not we stick to it is a different matter and with the festive season in full swing there aren’t many of us maintaining healthy lifestyles. However, Rochdale Borough Council in conjunction with the NHS has launched a new five-step programme to encourage us to live better and feel happier.

If we feel good we’re in the right frame of mind emotionally to make lifestyle choices that will improve our physical health and mental wellbeing”

“Feeling good is healthy,” said Colin Lambert, leader of Rochdale Borough Council. “When we feel good in ourselves and about our lives we feel happier, more energetic, more motivated and we know that if we feel this way we will live longer and our quality of life will be better. The ‘five ways’ approach treats your mental health and wellbeing as importantly as your physical health.”

The new programme alongside an interactive website invites the public to track their mental and emotional wellbeing through a short questionnaire of fourteen questions. The results of which are plotted against a chart where the maximum of 70 indicates healthy and happy wellbeing and anything below 20 is considered stressed out and dangerously low.

The five steps of the programme encourage the public to take their emotional and mental wellbeing as seriously as their physical health. The five ways; Connect; Be Active; Take Notice; Keep Learning and Give are expected to increase life expectancy by several years if followed correctly.

The Five Ways to WellbeingThe Five Ways to Wellbeing

With statistics announced this week by AXA PPP healthcare detailing that ‘festive burnout’, where many of us are exhausted from work and social commitments over the Christmas period, will leave many of us stressed out come January. One in four people today experience mental distress during their lifetime and this latest programme from Rochdale Borough Council hopes to encourage the public to take matters into their own hands and improve their wellbeing.

Heywood GP Dr Taylor, and also NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group for mental health, said: “Improved wellbeing unlocks your potential. In other words if we feel good we’re in the right frame of mind emotionally to make lifestyle choices that will improve our physical health and mental wellbeing. It’s about creating the right state of mind from which everything else will flow.”

The programme has also been translated into Urdu and Bengali by Warwick University in a bid to recognise the language and cultural needs of Manchester and Rochdale. “It extends the Five Ways to Wellbeing programme for the benefit of so many more people. Rochdale has been a true pioneer in this field,” said Professor Francis Taggart from Warwick University’s Medical School who assisted in the translations.

The scheme is available through Rochdale Borough Council's website.