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The University of Southampton
Student Disability & WellbeingPart of Student Services

Five Ways to Wellbeing

Wellbeing refers to a state of feeling good and functioning well. Studying at University can be stressful, and under pressure anyone can start to feel less good and function less well.

There are lots of positive things we can do to boost and maintain our wellbeing, and the NHS supports the Five Steps to Wellbeing as ways to encourage positive wellbeing. When you introduce the Five Steps to Wellbeing in your life, remember to start small and build up your motivation and abilities.


Connect with those around you: spend time building up your relationships with friends, partners, fellow students, and neighbours. For new students at university this can be a challenge because you have probably moved away from your friends and family. What are some of the ways you can start to connect with others? Sharing lunch or a coffee and a chat, going out together, visiting a friend or volunteering are all good ways to deepen your connections with other people.

Be active

Activity protects against depression and anxiety. You don't have to go to the gym. A wide range of everyday activities counts as being active. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Do an easily accessible sport such as swimming. Dance is another great way to be active, and so are martial arts and team sports. Why not try the Sport and Wellbeing Team's complimentary Be Active programme? The focus of this weekly scheme is to give all students the opportunity to be active through organised in-person and online sporting activities. You do not need to have a membership to take part and the programme is completely free of charge. The NHS Get Active for mental wellbeing website has more great ideas for you to explore.

Keep Learning

This shouldn't be a problem now you are a student, but sometimes too much routine may limit the range of your experience. Discovering something new may give you a sense of achievement and more confidence. Learn to cook a new dish, play an instrument, or develop a practical skill. Try visiting an art gallery (the John Hansard), going to the theatre (the Nuffield), or a concert (the Turner Sims) - all at Highfield Campus.


Giving or contributing to others not only helps them, but can also have a positive effect on the giver. Small things matter. A smile, a thank you or a kind word can help someone enjoy their day. Some people get a sense of wellbeing through volunteering their time, perhaps in one of the many student societies and clubs at the University, or within the wider community. Giving, whether it's a small act of kindness or a big commitment to others, will help both the recipient and you on the path to wellbeing.

Take notice

Take notice of the present moment - your own thoughts and feelings, your body, and the world around you. Learn how to spend less energy dwelling on the past and the future, and learn instead how to be in the present, without feeling the need to do anything or fix a problem. This is often called mindfulness, and there is strong evidence of its benefits. Mindfulness may help you relax and enjoy life more. Like the other five steps, learning to be more mindful cannot be achieved overnight. It takes time, but it may change your life. The University runs workshops and courses on mindfulness.

NHS - Five Ways guide

The NHS website has more detailed explanation of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and some tips for how to start incorporating them into your daily life.


The Students Union run activities for the student community and is also the point of contact for finding out about hundreds of student-run clubs and societies.

Podcasts for your Wellbeing

The Mental Health Foundation offer free podcasts about lots of wellbeing topics, inclduing some short Mindfulness practices for beginners.

Sport and Wellbeing

Sport and Wellbeing operate a wide range of sports activities on campus and around the city. The team is currently hosting free online and in-person sporting activities through their 'Be Active' programme. 

One You

One You is available through the NHS to help you feel better with free tips, tools and support, that can help you make small, practical changes that fit in with your life.

Student Minds

Student Minds provides a wide range of resources to help improve student wellbeing.

So: Linked

Find out more about volunteering opportunities in and around Southampton.


Mind provide lots of useful information about mental health, as well as advice about support available in your local area.

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