Personal wellbeing

Wellbeing is the one of the strongest determinants of an individual’s health: it fundamentally affects behaviour, social cohesion, social inclusion and prosperity.

In 2008, the New Economics Foundation (nef) was commissioned by the UK Government’s Foresight project on mental capital and wellbeing to review the inter-disciplinary work of over 400 scientists from across the world. The aim was to identify a set of evidence-based actions to improve wellbeing, which individuals would be encouraged to build into their daily lives. They came up with a list of 'Five Ways to Wellbeing':

  1. Connect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
  2. Be active. Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness. 
  3. Take notice. Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters.
  4. Keep learning. Try something new. Rediscover an 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.
  5. Give. Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

People connecting  Being active            Taking notice         Keep learning   Giving 

Life satisfaction estimates - key findings for the Lancashire-14 area

Average reported ratings of personal well-being at the UK level have deteriorated across all indicators in the year ending March 2021, continuing a trend that was seen across most indicators in the previous period, but even more sharply, and which notably takes place entirely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The most recent annual declines in personal well-being in the UK were the greatest seen since the start of measuring personal well-being for life satisfaction (0.27 point decline), anxiety (0.26 point increase), happiness (0.17 point decline) and feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile (0.15 point decline).

For the Lancashire-12 area (7.64 (with -0.13 and +0.12 confidence intervals)), the average mean life satisfaction rating in 2020/21 was statistically higher than the UK rating (7.39 (with -0.02 and +0.01 confidence intervals)). Since 2011/12, the only other time the Lancashire-12 area has had a rating that was significantly different to the UK was in 2015/16. In this year, the average life satisfaction rating for the Lancashire-12 area (7.45 (+/- 0.13)) was significantly lower than the UK rating (7.65 (+/- 0.01)).

The average mean life satisfaction rating for the Lancashire-12 area peaked in 2017/18 at 7.8 (ignoring the confidence intervals). The Lancashire-12 rating has declined over the last three years, by 0.16 points (ignoring the confidence intervals). Owing to the wide confidence intervals, the Lancashire-12 decreases are not statistically significant, however they have reduced by smaller amount than the UK estimate, that has seen a fall of 0.32 points over just two years.   

Wyre (7.99 (with -0.28 and +0.27 confidence intervals)), Ribble Valley (7.88 (with -0.40 and +0.41 confidence intervals)) and Preston (7.89 (with -0.45 and +0.46 confidence intervals)) were the only three Lancashire-14 areas to have average mean life satisfaction ratings that were statistically significantly higher than the UK and England ratings in 2020/21. Blackpool (7.16 (+/- 0.17)) was the only Lancashire-14 area to have an average mean life satisfaction rating that was statistically significantly lower than the UK or England ratings in 2020/21. Owing to the wide and overlapping confidence intervals, none of the remaining ten Lancashire-14 areas had average life satisfaction ratings that were statistically different to the UK rating or the England rating.

Wyre (7.99 (with -0.28 and +0.27 confidence intervals)), Ribble Valley (7.88 (with -0.40 and +0.41 confidence intervals)), Preston (7.89 (with -0.45 and +0.46 confidence intervals)), Lancaster (7.74 (+/- 0.38)) and Chorley (7.9 (with -0.54 and +0.53 confidence intervals)) have average mean life satisfaction ratings that were statistically significantly higher than the estimate for Blackpool (7.16 (+/- 0.17)). 

The Measures of National Well-being dashboard summarises changes for each of the 41 individual indicators at the UK level over time.

Priorities and recommendations

The Mental Health and Wellbeing JSNA (2012) makes the following recommendations around wellbeing:

  • Adopt the Living Well approach across local communities. The principle of this approach is that there will be no lasting reduction in inequalities unless we create the conditions across local communities that support wellbeing and enable people to live well.
  • This includes the 'Year of Health and Wellbeing', which will be extended to '2020 - a decade of health and wellbeing' by which partners agree to:
    • commit to taking active to improve the health and wellbeing of staff and customers;
    • commit to adopting and integrating the five ways to wellbeing into their organisations and services they provide; and 
    • commit to using the 2011/2020 logo and website address on all future publicity materials and communications. 

Further analysis

Life satisfaction personal well-being estimates, 2020/21 (PDF 685 KB) 

Page updated December 2021