The Big Five

Activities that improve our mental health everyday

You might have heard of the saying 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away', but what are we doing each day to look after our mental health? 

Studies have shown that people who do certain activities regularly tend to have better mental health than those who don’t do these things. MindSpot has been conducting research to identify the five types of activities we can do daily to improve and maintain our psychological health. This research has proven that doing these activities regularly can help us to thrive, and bounce back from challenges that come our way.  

What are The Big Five?

The Big Five are five groups of activities that cover a range of actions we can include in our routines.

Meaningful activities
  • Actions which give us a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction 
  • Can be small things; listening to music, watching a favourite show 
Healthy thinking
  • Having realistic thoughts about ourselves, the world, and the future.  
  • Keeping perspective 
  • Treating ourselves with kindness and respect, even in the difficult times 
Goals and plans
  • Having a goal or a plan can not only keep us motivated and energised, it also gives us something to look forward to  
  • Stops us from dwelling on past problems 
Healthy routines
  • The routines and tasks we do automatically, like going to sleep, and waking up at the same time, which set us up for the day 
Social connections
  • Staying connected to our family, friends or tribe 
  • Regular contact with people we love and value helps us to feel validated, part of a community, and reminds us we belong 

The Big Five self-assessment sheet can help us be more mindful and aware of how often we're including these activities into our routines. It also includes suggestions and examples as ideas we can use to do these activities more frequently.

The development of an early version of The Big Five was partly funded by the Mental Wheels Foundation. We thank the Mental Wheels Foundation team for their generous support.

Looking for more support?

We recommend you consult with your GP, who can discuss local support or treatment options with you. They can prepare a Mental Health Care Plan, which will enable you to access treatment services with a psychologist or psychiatrist through Medicare, or a referral to local Community Mental Health Services. Your GP can also provide a physical check-up, if you haven’t had one recently. Your physical health can affect your emotional wellbeing.

If you don’t have one already, you can find a GP in your local area at Beyond Blue.

Another option is online treatment. MindSpot offers free online and telephone delivered treatments which help people manage their symptoms stress, anxiety, low mood and depression.