NEF was commissioned by the Government’s Foresight project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing to develop a set of evidence-based actions to improve personal wellbeing. In this report, NEF presents the evidence and rationale between each of the actions, drawing on a wealth of psychological and economic literature.

The 2008 Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project aims to analyse the most important drivers of mental capital and wellbeing to develop a long-term vision for maximising mental capital and wellbeing in the UK for the benefits of society and the individual.

The concept of wellbeing comprises two main elements: feeling good and functioning well. Feelings of happiness, contentment, enjoyment, curiosity and engagement are characteristic of someone who has a positive experience of their life. Equally important for wellbeing is our functioning in the world. Experiencing positive relationships, having some control over one’s life and having a sense of purpose are all important attributes of wellbeing.