The previous two articles have explored what bullying is and then offered three simple steps to draw a line in the sand on bullying. To help you to take a new direction forward, where you respect and love yourself anew. In this final article we will look at 3 more steps to enable you to generate your own light and let it shine back out into the world around you.
Step 1 – Breath – take a breath and stop – then slide into balanced breathing
Breathing is key when you become aware of feelings stressed take your attention to your breathing: breathe in slowly and deeply, ensuring your abdomen is soft, allowing your in breath to lower the diaphragm, so the abdomen pushes out. Then take a really long breath out, being aware of the feel and sound of your breath as it releases all tension and negativity with it. Do that again. Then fall into an even, yet deep breathing pattern of 6 seconds in and 6 seconds out which will begin to reduce the effect of cortisol (one of your stress hormones) so that you can decide more wisely and compassionately how you want to respond.
This works even more powerfully if you also consciously imagine a strong positive emotion (which you physically feel) into the area around your heart as you do your rhythmic breathing (consider feeling gratitude, appreciation or compassion as you breath). Notice how your system settles.
This style of coherent breathing has huge health benefits when introduced as a daily habit. So if you are serious about minimising the impact of bullying on your health, adopt this today. A few minutes (as few as 3 minutes) has effects that lasts for hours. Commit to adopt periods of rhythmic breathing from today.
Step 2 – Gratitude Diary – What I am grateful for about me
Current research supports the use of a Gratitude Diary as one of the most effective ways to manage stress and depression (commonly associated with bullying). Now, I understand when you are being bullied you may find it harder to express gratitude – but there is always something to be grateful for. It might be going home at the end of the day. It might be someone you barely know smiling at you in the corridor, it might be seeing the sun shine through a window. I hope that the impact of the tools I have shared in these articles have already started to help you so that you can be grateful for new habits which make a difference. Just the process of doing gratitude changes your brain structure and function.
So – treat yourself to a cheap diary, one with a space to write in each day. And every day at the end of the day write down 3 things you are grateful for that day. Of course you can go beyond 3 and you will find over time you find even more to be grateful for and your mood or emotional state begins to shift. Be grateful for that too!
Step 3 – Seek support
My final words to you. It’s OK to seek help. I perceive it to be a strength and sign of wisdom to seek help when being bullied. All too frequently people feel that being bullied is a sign they are weak, or they start to even believe they deserve it in some way. No. It is not OK. You are not the problem. Using the tools outlined here, begin to manage your state so that you can talk it through with someone who can help you take action appropriately (for example a counsellor, coach, conciliator or human resource professional). Find a way to let it go and put it completely in your past.
Finally – talk it through with a friend, someone who can hold the space for you and hug you (a 20 second hug releases the feel good hormone oxytocin), giving you the strength to say “Enough is Enough”. If you are alone when you need a hug placing the palm of your hand against your heart so you can feel your heart beat for 20 seconds also releases oxytocin – so that is great emotional first aid when you are alone. And it’s even more powerful if you talk lovingly to yourself while you are doing it – appreciating all that you are.
The steps are not meant to be sequential – rather they can be used in response to what you most need at that moment. What is key though is that you put them into action – it is only by appreciating they are important and then taking action you will build the new neural pathways to create a different future.
If you have been bullied in the past – trust yourself, love yourself and make the decision today to proclaim to the world – “I am more than enough – this stops HERE and NOW”. Let the true you shine out again, showing the world just how special you are – because you deserve the very best.