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May 6, 2009

Wellhouse Futures – grounds for optimism

Wellhouse Housing Association in Easterhouse, Glasgow  has been at the forefront of community led regeneration for the past 15 years.   Housing is their core business but they play a much wider ‘anchor’ role – addressing all sorts of needs as they arise in the community.  Last year they embarked on a ground-breaking project to see if it was possible to ‘teach’ local people to be more optimistic about their lives. The results have been stunning

Wellhouse Futures – Grounds for Optimism

Over the past year Wellhouse Housing Association has under-taken a unique psychology project with a number of local people from the community.

With the assistance of Dr Elaine Duncan, Psychologist from Caledonian University and Research Assistant Cheryl Rees, the project set out to examine if it was possible to ‘teach‘ local people to be more optimistic and if that was the case what would that mean for their day to day lives?

Initially the project measured how people currently felt and it may come as no surprise there were high levels of depression and low levels of life satisfaction.

Throughout the project, participants were asked to carry out simple exercises reflecting on what they were grateful for in their lives and each night to write down three things that made them feel good that day – they could be small such as meeting an old friend or more significant major achievements.

The results were stunning, feelings of depression decreased, sense of well being increased. Perhaps more importantly, not only attitudes but behaviors changed, 7-started work, 2– new career, 2-promoted, 14—new outlook on life etc.

The project was an outstanding success and showed that by doing some simple exercises it can have a huge impact on your life. As a result of this Wellhouse Housing Association and Wellhouse Community Trust are launching Wellhouse Futures.

We live in a society where everyone is looking for a quick fix. We think buying stuff will make us happy. This project shows that relationships, achievements and making a difference are the paths to happiness.

Over the coming months we will spread the positive message – that positive people live longer, have better relationships and more successful careers, so what are you waiting for?

More detailed report