Day 344

need_to_belong_235

His Holiness The Dalai Lama was in London a few days ago.

He spoke about ‘Action for Happiness’, which is a hot topic these days. It has 10 points with the acronym: GREAT DREAM.

G – Giving / doing things for others

R – Relatedness or connection with people

E – Exercising

A – Appreciating and noticing the world around us.

T – Trying out and keep on learning new things

D – Direction or having goals/something to look forward to.

R – Resilience

E – Emotion – Taking a positive approach

A – Acceptance – Being comfortable with who you are.

M – Meaning – Being a part of something bigger

At least three of these are about having a sense of belonging. The “belongingness hypothesis” states that people have a basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others, and that caring, affectionate bonds from close relationships form a major part of having a sense of wellbeing.

Mental illness is remarkably on the rise, especially in the young. Some of the ways in which we can protect the young is by helping them develop social skills despite technology which is unavoidable in the present times. Creating positive social networks with peers, teachers and neighbours and participation in community, sports and leisure activities lends a sense of self-worth. Positive relationships with immediate and extended family provide a safety net too.

Nomads such as gypsies and travellers have a life expectancy of nearly 10% less than the national average. More than 40% of them have long term illnesses compared with 18% of settled community.

“I don’t like the house I’m in. I am fed up of looking at it. I don’t meet my own people here. I don’t see no one and I don’t mix with the other kids round here well.”

  • An 18 year old Romany gypsy boy.

No belongingness, no wellbeing.

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