Wellbeing is a word that continues to pick up momentum, especially following COVID-19. Also noticeable was a shift in the workplace, as employees are now demanding that employers hop on the metaphorical wellness wagon. HR Grapevine reports that 1 in 2 employees are now less interested in office-based perks and instead more interested in health and wellbeing benefits. But what exactly is wellbeing and why is it suddenly one of the leading trends in society?
Wellbeing is defined as:
“How we’re doing as individuals, communities and as a nation, and how sustainable that is for the future. It encompasses the environmental factors that affect us and how we function in society, and the subjective experiences we have throughout our lives.” (What Works Wellbeing, 2023)
Essentially, wellbeing is just a fancy word for if you are doing alright and able to contently go about your daily life.
Wellbeing quickly picked up traction while the world suffered from the pandemic. Isolation, working from home and the virus itself were just some of the causes of decreases in health and overall wellness. Many people realized how important and how they had taken for granted things like exercise, social activities and travel were in their lives. I believe that this revelation has led to the surge in focuses on wellbeing, highlighted by 7 in 10 adults pledging to make healthier lifestyle choices as a direct result of the COVID pandemic (Gov.uk, 2021).
There are many ways that you can improve your wellbeing: exercising, going for walks, relaxation techniques, decreasing the amount of technology, to name a few. But there is one effective and quite unexpected activity that is shown to help improve wellbeing and reduce stress: competition.
Surprised? We were at first. Competition inherently comes with pressure and certain stresses which one would not associate with the relaxation and de-stressing of wellbeing improvement.
However, a study by the ping-pong club, Bounce, showed that 56% of people found sport a good form of stress relief and 62% said competing with their friends helped to blow off steam. Further, 40% said they felt happier and more relaxed after sport games (Mirror, 2023).
Dr. Zoe Williams, a television presenter and doctor, states: “Socialising and getting into the competitive spirit are great for blowing off steam. Playing sports built on focus and concentration will increase cognitive awareness, mental alertness and get your heart rate up and blood pumping, which all have a very positive impact on your mental health.”
While it is certainly dependent on the level and intensity of the competition, the research supports that a few wins and yes, maybe even a few losses, might actually benefit your overall wellbeing.
So, the next time you are feeling down or need a boost, get those competitive juices flowing and challenge a friend to improve your wellbeing!