Stop the internal bullying: Five ways we can treat ourselves better
By Master Christopher Rappold I am pleased that over the past 10 years to have been able to contribute to the communities we serve by helping school systems handle bullying in a mindful way. Going back 10 years, it was not uncommon for teachers within the same grade to have different approaches to the same bullying situation. With 97 percent of bullying being psychological, not physical, it is important that every child know exactly how to handle a bullying situation when it occurs. With the correct approach, bullying doesn't have to be a crippling occurrence. Every Personal Best Karate student should be able to define in 10 seconds or less exactly what he or she would do when bullying occurs. There is something very powerful when a strategy can provide that level of clarity. At times internal bullying is overlooked. It is the way we treat ourselves from day to day. If you are human you know the amount of negativity that can pervade your thinking in a single day. Fears, doubts, worries and insecurities can hold us hostage without us even being aware. Any idea how many of these thoughts come into your brain every day? Would you believe that we have between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day and without proper attention as much as 80 percent of them are negative? It's kind of hard to be your Personal Best with this kind of scorecard. So what are some easy daily activities that can be done so you feel like you are swimming with the current and not against it? Become aware: Become more conscious and start to notice when you are having a negative thought is the place to start. Instead of just going with it, take the time to question the thought's merit. Often our thoughts are nothing more than habit patterns that have developed over time, but unfortunately not by design. Replace the negativity: Just like we do our annual spring cleaning, it's probably a good idea to ask yourself what the top three negative influences are in your life. It could be television, the internet, news or some of the people you surround yourself with. By consciously choosing to eliminate the stressors of negativity, you open yourself up for happier triggers throughout your day. Workout: Give yourself the positive feelings that come from a good workout. Science has proven that through exercise you release dopamine and serotonin that chemically change the way you feel. Students know this firsthand, when they come into class feeling stressed and leave feeling calm, relaxed and refocused. Breathe: Breathing alters your physiology in very powerful ways. When you are feeling scared or intimidated, your breathing naturally occurs in the top part of your chest. Feeling relaxed your breathing starts at your stomach and fully oxygenates your whole body. This naturally occurs when we sleep. We can do the same thing for ourselves thoughout the day when we feel the need. Know this and use it. Practice Gratitude: We are all trying to get somewhere but what we have living in this country is pretty extraordinary. If you aren't in the habit, take the time each morning to start the day being thankful for what you have. Make a list of the people in your life you are truly grateful for. Create the habit of speaking with gratitude and expressing it to others. Knowing how to handle outside bullying is vital to feeling safe and secure. One could argue though that the real test of SELF-defense is handling the internal bullying that occurs almost without notice in our head.
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