Learning to be grateful does not have to start with grand gestures. Of course, we do not just wake up one day and feel grateful we are alive. It comes from the smallest things, such as the feeling of being loved by another person, beautiful music, or even a cup of tea. Because of this, one of the best ways to learn gratitude is to make other people, especially those who are in need, feel the same way.
Giving back to the community can take different forms, such as a weekend volunteering. There are a lot of opportunities in the UK, such as volunteering for People’s Kitchen that aims to give homeless people hot meals, clothing and bedding, and other types of support. There are approximately 320,000 in Britain sleeping on the streets, with a 13,000 or 4% increase in 2018. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to have a roof over our head until we see regular people struggle with homelessness.
Most of the time, the things that we usually take for granted are what we should be grateful for. This is the case with education, particularly in the least developed areas of the UK where government services are harder to come by. A lot of nurseries in England are still in dire need of Early Years Teachers, and Save the Children states that this situation deprives children of a fair chance to succeed later on in life. The situation is more or less the same in other parts of the UK. For educated citizens, it’s hard to imagine children in this day and age being deprived of basic rights. But this is the case not only in Britain, but in other developing countries, too. Learning to be grateful therefore requires us to go beyond the limits of our own experiences.
Of course, giving back to the community is not just an ethical obligation, as it is also a personal one. Humans are social creatures, and helping others also make us feel more fulfilled as social beings. In fact, it boosts our emotional wellbeing. As Mandy has previously elucidated here on the blog, having a sound mind and great emotional wellbeing are keys to our overall health.
Once you become aware of how blessed you are, giving back will cease to be an obligation. It becomes an act of sharing your gratitude with others so that they may pay it forward as well.