A Teacher’s Take: The link between Belonging to Something and Happiness

Today’s blog is about the importance of belonging to something. I learnt this after being interviewed by an ex-teacher for a research project they were doing. He asked me ‘what impact does moving to another country  have upon a student’s mental state?’ I explained to him that students can lose self-confidence, feel isolated, lonely, homesick and, in some cases, depressed. He then asked me why they feel this way. The obvious answer I gave was because they miss their home, however, after further discussion I began to think about it more deeply. I came to the conclusion that the students feel this way because they no longer belong to anything.

Regular students who are born here hate getting involved with their school. They love the holidays, they hate homework and they hate doing extra work. Students at my school are the opposite. They find going on holidays to be boring, they want to help the teachers with extra work and they don’t even mind doing homework. I asked myself why? It’s because they feel that the more they get involved with the school then the more they belong to it. They start to recover that lost feeling of belonging. They don’t care how much or how hard the work is at the school. All they care about is that feeling of belonging that the school grants.

Like the air we breathe, belonging is something that we as humans need. From the moment we are born, we are included in a group of people. Whether or not we know it, that inclusiveness is what makes us happy. Being apart of something bigger and feeling like we contribute satisfies us. The moment that we are stripped from that group, we are thrown into a world of confusion and loneliness. Currently, there are people who are in that exact position. Finding something to belong is paramount to our happiness. Like I said in my last post, happiness rarely comes to you. It is something we need to search for. A fantastic step that we can take to improve our happiness is to find something to belong to.

Finding something to belong to does not need to be as hard as it sounds. People shouldn’t think that they need to go out and join some fancy high society club to belong. No! Belonging can mean finding a busy park and walking through that park at the exact time everyday. Eventually you will start to see people you know and straight away that familiar face will provide you with that sense of inclusion. It can even be as simple as buying a cup of coffee from the same place at the exact same time everyday. Eventually you will begin to recognize your barrister and feel included in their world. Another example could mean catching the same train at the same time every morning. Again, you will begin to see familiar faces and feel like you are in the exact same position as them. Personally, I enjoy my walk to work each morning because on that walk I see a friendly neighbor who is exercising and always says hello. I enjoy knowing that we form a small part of each other’s lives. It’s a great feeling.

So another key to finding that happiness is to go out and find something to belong to. There may be some tough moments but I promise if you try and give it time then you will achieve something amazing! I’d love to know what other people belong to. Feel free to leave a comment.

All the best!

Damian

 

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