What would you do if you had a child that came home from school and told you that they were being bullied? What advice would you give them to help them deal with this situation, gain confidence in themselves and eradicate this problem in their lives? Most would agree that the traditional thinking involves standing up for yourself, telling someone and not believing the hurtful words they use.
Anxiety is a bully. It can make us feel as humiliated, incapable, weak, talentless, afraid and depressed as the biggest bully in the playground. So the advice that we give to our children to help them deal with a bully is equally as relevant to us dealing with anxiety, no matter what the route cause. So what can we learn from the teachings that our parents gave us?
Stand up for yourself
A bully can only feel good about themselves when the balance of power is truly in their favour. A bully is unlikely, therefore, to target someone who is not easy prey and who will confidently stand up for themselves. Similarly, someone in the grip of anxiety needs to come up with a firm ‘No… I don’t want to be treated like this… I don’t deserve to be treated like this and I will no longer allow it.’
There is a lot of wisdom in this. When we feel good we stand tall, our posture is sturdy, our facial expression powerful and our demeanour self-assured. If our brain makes such a strong neural link between feeling good and a confident poise then we can use that link to our advantage. Just by changing our physical demeanour we can trick our brains into thinking of a situation much more positively. If we look this fierce we are unlikely to be targeted by either the playground bully or the anxiety bully. Stand tall, smile and walk proud.
Use positive self-talk
If someone is trying to make us feel bad about ourselves then we must counter this with confident affirmations of our strengths. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and so if we have a clear picture of who we are it is harder for us to be shaken by anyone who would try to put us down.
It is the golden rule of conquering a bully. Tell someone… build your army… Expose them and their bullying ways. At the end of the day, we all know what it is like to suffer feelings of anxiousness. Anxiety is most powerful when we try to deal with it on our own. By telling someone that we are not OK you can get a fresh pair of eyes on the situation, you can share the burden and work with others who care to find the solution.
Being bullied can be hard and, if we let it, it can consume our lives. With must, therefore, spend as much time in the positive aspects of our lives as well as dealing with the problem. Surround yourself with people, places and things that make you feel good, positive, strong and happy. It is very difficult to feel threatened by a bully when you are surrounded by so much positivity.
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