Today is anti-bullying week. 20% of students will be bullied by the time they turn eighteen. Bullying is defined as any unwanted behavior by another person or group that creates a power imbalance and is repeated multiple times. It is seen as youth violence and is an adverse childhood experience. Bullying comes in many forms; there is physical bullying that involves tripping or kicking. Verbal bullying involves name-calling. Spreading rumors is considered relational/social bullying. Cyberbullying is harassing someone over technology and lastly damaging someone else’s property. Here are some ways to survive a bully if you end up having one.
Not Giving Them Power
Bullies enjoy controlling others because it gives them what they crave: attention. Ignoring them is the number one strategy to beating one. By not giving them what they want, then they’ll likely get bored with you and move on to someone who will. Simply walking away tall and pretending like they weren’t there is enough. If you see someone else is being bullied, intervene by taking them someplace else and talking to them like they are an old friend. Once everyone stops giving the bully attention, they’ll need to find a different way to get what they want. Only get an adult involved if things are getting out of hand and someone is physically getting injured.
Form A Bully Support Group
Bullies want to isolate their victims to make them feel alone. Another way to fight bullying is to form a support group with your peers. Victims need emotional support. They need someone to put in their head that the bully was wrong. They need someone to tell them they are good enough. Talking can be a good outlet to release fears and frustrations. By expressing these concerns with like-minded peers, you can learn new ways to help solve them in a healthy, productive way. It could also be a venue to help others make friends. If your school doesn’t have one already, talk to your principal with a trusted teacher about setting one up.
Bullies want someone they can manipulate into submission. Make yourself less of a target to them by being strong and confident. It’s important to love yourself no matter what! Practice daily self-affirmations by reminding yourself of all your strengths, talents, and positive qualities. Change any negative thoughts with positive ones. Say kind things to yourself by drawing on your inner strengths. Wear what makes you feel good. Do what you love, no matter how silly people think it is. Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. Exercise 30 minutes a day. Get a gratitude journal to remind yourself of all the positive things you do.
Finding A Hobby
By finding a hobby, you’ll be able to find other like-minded people who can become your friends. They can also counteract any emotional damage caused by a bully. Here are some hobbies that can also improve your mental health. Dancing to your favorite type of music improves your focus and lowers your anxiety level. Art provides you with a creative outlet to express your feelings. Going on long walks reduces your cortisol level, thus lowering your stress. Participating in sports makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger. Joining a book club can expand your knowledge and will introduce you to other books in a genre you enjoy.
What If I’m The Bully
13% of adolescents in a national survey say that they’ve bullied someone in the past. The first step is to acknowledge that your actions hurt people. Talk to someone like a counselor to understand why you insist on bullying people. Find a different outlet to release your stress and anger. Before saying or doing something, think about how that will affect the other person. If you see someone being bullied, don’t join in. No one deserves to be treated like that. Some people bully to gain control of their own lives. Instead, volunteer at your local food bank, or another organization. Bullying is a behavior that is taught to us, so it can easily be changed to a more positive thing.
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