You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. John Bunyan
The efficiencies of the internet are moving us towards a more insular world and it is becoming more difficult to be mindful of helping others. According to the Dalai Lama that is our sole purpose in being here on earth – to share our compassion and help others.
The Pay It Forward movement has been particularly active on Facebook this year. You may have noticed several posts that read:
“To start this year off in a caring way I’m participating in this Pay-It-Forward initiative:
I don’t usually buy into these things, but due to a recent act of generosity I have decided to get involved, this is for real.
The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in”, will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year – anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something home grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise!
There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy.
These five people must make the same offer in their Facebook status and distribute their own joy. Simply copy this text onto your profile (don’t share) so we can form a web of connection and kindness.
Let’s do more nice and loving things for each other in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love-filled year.”
So while our modern world seems to be encouraging selfishness, greed and isolation – Happiness Weekly looks at some ways that you can help others this week without having an agenda of your own. Truly helping others means there’s nothing in it for you – in fact, the person you may help may never be able to repay you and that’s the ultimate aspiration in truly helping others.
The benefits of helping others includes:
- Connecting you to someone in an otherwise very lonely world
- Enhancing someone else’s life
- Making the world a better place to live
Things you can do to help others
- Teach them something new
- Smile and be friendly
- Volunteer for a charity
- Start your own charity
- Make a donation
- Share your knowledge
- Help someone do something – e.g. cross the street, change a flat tyre, get from A to B
- Donate something you don’t use
- Comfort someone
- Buy food for a homeless person
- Listen to someone
- Do a chore for someone
- Send a nice email
- Share your favourite things (movie, song etc) – if you enjoyed it, someone else may too
- Give a loved-one a massage
- Praise someone publicly
- Be patient with someone
- Tutor a child
- Make a care package for someone
- Speak up for someone – sign a petition, write a letter etc.
- Offer to babysit
- Start a charity
- Share what you have
- Find out what’s valuable to someone and get it for them
- Present an opportunity to someone or make them aware of it
- Give transparent feedback to better performance (without being too critical)
- Introduce people to each other, help people network
- Give someone a gift
- Do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return
- Welcome a new neighbour by baking for them
- Use your power to help people around you have a good day
- Only see good in people and treat everyone accordingly
We’re all here together and the only certainty is we have one life and we’re living it now. Help others to be the best they can be where ever you can, because if everyone surrounding you is doing the same, imagine the powerful world we would live in.
Pages that helped inspire this blog:
I think it’s important to get your surroundings as well as yourself into a positive state – meaning surround yourself with positive people, not the kind who are negative and jealous of everything you do. Heidi Klum
Sometimes life can seem full of negatives with an abundance of obstacles and challenges and it can become quite overwhelming. In these situations, a lot of people subconsciously spread the stress and burden into other areas of their lives unnecessarily. For example, after a tough day at work you may return home tired and feeling pressure when you pick a fight with your partner or children because they haven’t done something exactly as you asked. This week, Happiness Weekly looks as how you can avoid the negatives in your life or at least not make them worse.
It’s undeniable that negativity is toxic – whether it’s a person who is negative or a situation in your life that is negative and causing you to respond and feel negative. It’s important to desensitise from the world’s negatives and try to isolate these events, people or areas of your life so they don’t infect the positive areas. It is when we repeatedly fall in the trap of letting one negative that could have been isolated affect every other part of our lives that we become consumed with darkness, loneliness and fall into a rut as all the positive and beautiful things and people around us fall away. By identifying and isolating the negative area or person in ourselves, we are empowered to change what happens to us next.
1. Identify the area that is causing upset, hurt or concern
If you sense darkness is upon you, your instinct is probably right. It may be a misunderstanding with someone that doesn’t feel right or a situation that is bringing you down – whatever it is, it’s important to stop and identify what it is. Once you know what it is, while you are on your own, consider what you will do to fix the situation to ensure you feel better as quickly as possible. Use this negative you wish to avoid to set goals to change your focus, empower yourself to move forward and start achieving the things you want.
2. If they seem bad, they probably are
Unfortunately toxic people do exist and they can be male or female. These are the people who add stress to your life unnecessarily: maybe they’re conniving, they can’t keep confidences, they lie, they backstab, they cheat and ask you to cover for them… it’s best to cut these people from your life right now – delete their number, block them on Facebook, avoid them where ever possible. You don’t need these people in your life and without them you will feel significantly lighter.
3. Make a positive friend or lover
Invite someone into your life who will support you and encourage you to grow. Ensure they have your best intentions at heart. Whenever you’re in doubt, turn to this person and let them shower you with their positive affirmations and offer some solutions and guidance towards your problems. In every situation you always have choices, sometimes when we’re bogged down with negatives we can be blind to see them and it’s these people who can point out the alternatives for us.
4. Be true to yourself
When everything is getting you down, focus on the things you can do and the goals you can achieve, don’t assume things you don’t know. Separate yourself from the negatives by accepting them and isolating them in that space. My thought patterns tend to go “Ahhh, that’s bad – but at least I have this or that!” Focus on what you do have and be grateful for that.
5. Watch your communication with others
Don’t give anyone ammunition against you. Watch how you treat others and always communicate with kindness. Verbal communication such as tone and choice of words combined with non-verbal communication such as body language and the way we do things are a key component for this. If you don’t want to upset anyone, be careful what you say and how you do things – if it’s not kind, then don’t speak or act.
6. Do something nice for yourself
After a hard day in the office, do something nice for yourself. Self-soothing exercises will ensure you feel valued and will also help you unwind from spreading any negativity for others. Be strong in your direction, know your values and goals and go forward with confidence. If your nice to yourself, inwards, generally you will also be nice to others, outwards.
7. Go forward with acceptance and confidence
When someone treats you unfairly – accept that you have no control over what they have said or done, but go forward with confidence in what you are doing and the goals you have set for yourself. Realise there is more ahead in your life plan than the current scenario and keep on your path, don’t let others and their circumstances throw you off.
8. Assess your options and take control
We always have choices. When something negative happens or someone is negative to us, we can either take control of the situation and change it or we can assess our options and change ourselves or our circumstances to move us away from the negativity. It’s important to acknowledge that we always have some level of control that we can empower ourselves with.
How do you avoid the negatives in your life?
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Arthur Ward
Some people get awkward when it comes to saying thank you. It may be that you don’t know how to approach the person, you may feel your gratitude will come across as insincere, or maybe you’re just one of those people who is too busy to acknowledge others. There’s no time like the present to turn over a new leaf! This week, Happiness Weekly looks at how you can say thank you and sincerely show your gratitude to someone.
How to say thank you
Choosing the words can be as challenging as finding the best method to say thank you. Let’s keep it simple – don’t think too deeply on it. The key to thanking someone is to say it at the time of the event or as close to it as possible.
Say what they have done: “Thank you for…”
Then tell them why: “You helped me to…” this will show them you have put thought into it, you have seen the results of what they have done and this will also make the person feel rewarded for helping you – and encourage them to help you again!
Now you can work out the most appropriate way to say it to the person:
A lot of people don’t say thank you out loud. Maybe it’s because they forgot to say thank you, maybe because they don’t think of it or maybe because they don’t realise the impact the person has had. Don’t be one of these people! Stop for a moment and show the person some gratitude by thanking them for what they have done.
Send an email or text
Often we think about our friends and something they have done for us, but when living in such a fast-paced world, we struggle to get around to acknowledging out loud what they have done for us. It only takes a moment while you are at your desk at work or playing with your telephone to send that person an email or text to thank them for what they have done for you.
Write a letter
It’s not often that we receive hand-written letters these days. Take some time to get some nice notepaper and write a beautiful thank you letter. Then take the time to buy a stamp, find out the person’s address and post it to them in the mail. This shows that time and care has been taken to show your gratitude. By going the extra mile, you are showing the person their importance to you.
Write a card
Whether you make it (by hand or on the computer) or buy it, giving a card to say thank you to someone is recommended when someone has gone the extra mile. They can then keep this card and refer back to it. Last year I sent a card to all my close friends, just simply thanking them for being a friend – it brought me a lot closer to many of them.
Get creative! You don’t have to say it or write it, you could simply draw them a picture illustrating your gratitude. It could just be a stick figure picture of you giving them a flower … or a bunch of flowers. Sometimes, it’s the thought that counts and something as simple as this could go a long way!
If the person has really gone above and beyond, you could show your gratitude by buying them a present. It could be something as simple as a coffee, to flowers or chocolates, to a lunch or something bigger like a gift certificate or present. The beauty of giving is that it shows that thought and time has gone into it.
Send an E-Card
There are hundreds of e-cards on the internet that you can choose from. Have a look through them – some come with animation and sound – select one that’s appropriate for your friend and simply email it over. It’s a little more effort than just a standard written email.
Write on their wall
If you both have Facebook, why not say it loudly? Write a message on their wall. Or if you’re truly grateful and want the world to know, why not say it in a status update, tag them in it and say what they have helped you achieve. This will then be visible to all their friends and all your friends!
Return the favour
Do something for them. You may even make them a cake. Keep an eye out for any way that you can help them in the immediate future and return the favour as best you can. Sometimes we can only help in little ways, but what appears small to us may be big for other people.
How have you showed someone your gratitude lately?
For more tips on how to show your gratitude, check out the following blogs:
An interview with Sarah Webb, founder of Happiness Weekly
What is Happiness Weekly?
Happiness Weekly is a blog that promotes self-awareness and personal development to not only better yourself, but also to create an impact on others around you. It’s designed to encourage proactive problem solving that respects the rights and wellbeing of others, while being mindful of how everyday dilemmas can be turned into a positive experience. Through effective communication you can still achieve what you desire, but also take into account the needs, wants and feelings of others.
When was Happiness Weekly created?
Happiness Weekly was an idea which sprouted in November 2011 and grew into a weekly commitment in 2012. When I initially started Happiness Weekly, it was actually a really difficult time for me. It felt as though the universe was closing the doors on me from all angles: my long-term boyfriend wasn’t as he’d appeared, the people in my life I thought I could count on: abandoned me. It was a very lonely time. I was forced to move back home with my parents, which included giving up my fulltime job (in hindsight this was a bad choice as I loved my job and the people I worked with at the time!). All I really had at the time was my health, and not surprisingly from the stress, that was a little hit-and-miss at the time as well. I actually began posting Happiness Weekly blogs during the eye of the storm on Friday, 25 November 2011, which is why there are long gaps between. I became more regularly committed to the concept in February 2012 and haven’t looked back! Although it was a painful thing to go through, I have not looked back. My life has now completely changed for the better. I am now passionate about enhancing the lives of others – particularly when they’re going through a hard time like mine, and sharing messages of hope and inspiration. I don’t deny that it was challenging to get where I am, but if I wasn’t proactive in the steps I took, then I may be somewhere else – and it’s knowing what steps to take and how to respond to certain situations that can seem the most daunting when you are suffering from a significant amount of personal pain – but can also be the most rewarding.
Why is it called Happiness Weekly?
Each week (generally early in the week) there is a new blog post. That means that each week my readers receive a positive message or learn something that could improve their life in a positive way, which will enhance their happiness and wellbeing. If my post each week is thought-proving enough to start a simple conversation, and raises awareness about various everyday topics and situations, and promotes effective communication, then Happiness Weekly’s goal is achieved.
What are you most passionate about in life?
My biggest passion in life is to combat bullying – in schools, workplaces and just in everyday social situations. I think it’s a highly underrated topic and so much more can be done. I would love to work for an organisation that promotes awareness and proactive solutions to bullying in a way to evict it from schools, homes, workplaces and communities. Ideally I would love to change the system enough so that every individual person bullied has someone reliable to turn to who can also help them to proactively work through their issues in a way that is assertive but doesn’t encourage the aggression to continue. It may sound idealistic, but ultimately I want to have a hand in significantly reducing bullicides across the globe. If every victim has a solution or someone to walk with them through to the solution so they are not alone, and every bully was aware of how their actions and words affect others – there’s a chance bullying could be eliminated.
There’s a lot of personal development stuff out there – what makes you different?
I love people and I talk to them! If someone writes to me or tries to communicate, I will respond as soon as I possibly can. I love inspiring people. I love sharing ideas and having other people share their ideas with me. I encourage ambition, individuality and change. I have clear values and beliefs that are the vein of every article I publish. And I’m practical – not extreme. I believe in trying new things, but don’t look at anything too extreme. I think the course section and awareness calendar information also sets Happiness Weekly apart from other blogs out there.
Where do all the ideas come from for the blogs?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my everyday life and general conversations with people. Many of my friends approach me for advice about various topics. Or I may encounter my own problems (life’s not always smooth sailing!), and that’s what I start researching that topic and ideas to positively solve it and I want to share that with my readers and strengthen their knowledge and positive actions in various areas. We can always learn something! Some of my friends, particularly my partner, will read my blog and know exactly how the idea came about – other ideas are inspired by news items, Facebook discussions, or even just overheard conversations. I’m never short on new material to work on with a great list of ideas for topics to write. I’m looking forward to 2013, as Happiness Weekly will become a lot more strategic and streamlined – and I hope to triple in my readership as I encourage more voices, ideas and sharing of my blogs.
Why do you have an events and awareness day page?
I like to think that Happiness Weekly has potential to become the number one go-to place for information on personal development courses and events. Nothing too extreme – I want anyone to be able to relate without too much explanation or thought. It’s not a religious page. I want to encourage people to come to the page to look for basic awareness days – not only in Australia but across the globe – so I have a particular focus on internationally recognised days. Some national days in America, Canada and even the United Kingdom are also celebrated on the calendar. The more recognition Happiness Weekly can give to these events, courses and awareness days, the more our world has the opportunity to grow and develop in a positive way.
What do you want to achieve with Happiness Weekly?
I work full time in marketing and public relations, but try to dedicate as much of my outside time to Happiness Weekly as possible. Sometimes things may not happen as quickly as they otherwise could (such as writing my eBook!) but they are definitely in the pipeline. There are a lot of exciting plans ahead for Happiness Weekly – so stay tuned!
Where are you based?
While my thoughts are always internationally focused, and anything I publish should cater to an audience living anywhere in the world, I am based in Sydney, Australia.
What makes you keep writing?
My passion for helping others. I’m extremely self-motivated. People say that these days in job interviews, but I generally am! Hopefully the work I do speaks for itself. Obviously the figures help, seeing my work get out there by the amount of followers, likes and readers I have is really important to me. So please, when you like a blog, share it with friends and family and pass the wisdom along. Happiness is the best gift you can give to someone.
What’s ahead for Happiness Weekly?
SO MUCH!!! I will be working with a graphic designer shortly to get a few things rolled out including a logo for Happiness Weekly and hopefully a new look and feel. I will also be working with a Sydney-based photographer to get some new photos posted up. I am introducing a few new sections including Thank You Thursdays – which encourages my readers to participate in a gratitude challenge each week. It’s a small exercise in mindfulness. I believe that when you live with gratitude, you start to notice little things and are able to find inspiration in even the simplest moments. And on Tuesdays you can receive a positive motivational quote simply by following the Facebook and Twitter pages. I’m also introducing a little blurb every time an awareness day comes up to help promote awareness for these important days. It’s going to be a busy year but I’m looking forward to it!
Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around. Cameron Crowe
Everything we do and every path we find ourselves on is a direct result of a decision or a choice that we have made. In a world where opportunities are everywhere, possibilities are endless and temptation is never far away, it’s almost essential to have an understanding of your goals, values and what you want in life. This week Happiness Weekly investigates the best way to make a decision to ensure you stay on the right path!
Make a roadmap of your life with goals
Each decision we make will move us in a direction, so it’s important to have goals to guide us and move towards. This also helps us measure if the decision was correct for us or not – for example, at a very basic level, if it moves you closer to your goals – that was the right decision for you, but if it moves you further from your goals, you may have made the wrong decision.
Set your boundaries and stick to your values
It’s important to know your boundaries and limits and to stick to your values, this also helps us decide which decision is right for us. Some decisions are simple that can lead us to a higher quality of life such as pursuing higher education, finding a better job, improving your health etc. Remember, you need to be able to live with yourself, so it’s advisable to always be true to yourself.
Try to plan and make proactive rather than reactive decisions. Stick with a decision – such as accepting a better job – for as long as you can before changing again. Don’t put off decisions because tomorrow will never come – when it’s tomorrow it’s today! Once you know what you want, and you’ve set your goals, you can start taking the steps necessary to reach those goals. Decide to be happy, decide to look for the best opportunities, decide to love openly… even these decisions will start moving you to a more positive life journey.
There’s no shame in asking your friends what they would do in the situation before making your decision. In fact, there is a fantastic blog by Tiny Buddah where they headed to a public forum to see how other people come to make their decisions. You can read about it here.
Write it down
Sometimes those more difficult decisions seems easier to tackle when they’re on paper. Try writing yourself a list of the pros and cons of each decision outcome. Think long-term as well as short-term and try to work out which moves you closer to where you want to end up.
Think it through and consider any consequences
Take your time thinking it through. Will you be able to live with yourself tomorrow? Ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? Look yourself in the mirror and talk it through. Consider if you do/do not do ‘x’, how you will feel. No decision is worth suffering embarrassment, shame, uncertainty or regret. Trust your gut – intuition is key in the decision making process. Consider what your grandparents would say if they knew you choice and once you decide which decision you’re going to go with, consider how you’re feeling – if you’re anxious or stressed, it’s probably not the right decision.
Make an informed decision
Gather as much information, facts and evidence as possible to see how the decision will move you on your journey. Identify the alternatives. Evaluate each choice using your values as a guide. If it hurts you or anyone else, don’t do it!
More motivational quotes about Decision Making
Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny. Tyron Edwards
There is no problem unless we choose to make it one, so think carefully before you act. David Marshall
It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. J.K. Rowling
Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. John Maxwell
Do not plant your dreams in the field of indecision, where nothing ever grows but the weeds of “what-if”. Dodinsky
Still looking for more tips about decision making – make sure you read this fantastic blog “Am I making the right decision? 10 tips for confident decision making” by Ruchira Agrawal.
Question of the week: How do you consider your options when making an important decision?
For pleasure has no relish unless we share it. Virginia Woolf
1. You can contact the author (Sarah) easily and you’ll get a response!
One thing Happiness Weekly has is a highly interactive comments feed. If you comment or ask for advice, you will generally receive a response from me quite quickly. Contacting me, Sarah (founder and chief blogger for Happiness Weekly) is easy:
- Find me on Twitter @HappinessWeekly or www.twitter.com/happinessweekly
- Find my page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/happinessweeklypage
- Befriend my profile on Facebook: www.facebook.com/happinessweekly (I generally befriend any legitimate person)
- Email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Comment on my blog – I’ll receive it straight away and will respond if requested.
2. It’s more interactive than any other blog: request a blog or ask for advice
Have a suggestion for a blog? Got a problem you can’t a positive solution to? Contact me through any of the above means and I will do my best to publish an article on it in the near future. It doesn’t matter how whacky or strange your suggestion is, all ideas are welcome. Maybe you’re in a sticky situation and looking for advice on how you can maintain your wellbeing and respect others in certain situations. Personal content will not be shared and all enquiries can be anonymous but I will respond to you as soon as possible.
3. It’s a great source for events and courses
Find the best self-empowering and self-motivating courses lead by inspirational teachers on the Happiness Weekly website. Most of the courses are Australian-based at the moment but I am updating this to give it a stronger global appeal as a lot of my readers are from the United States and the United Kingdom. This page is my way of thanking readers and making it easier to connect people with proactive positive activities around the world. If you have an idea for a course or would like to add something – posting is free, please email email@example.com, with the details and I’ll update the information as soon as possible.
4. Be in the know of all awareness days
Happiness Weekly includes the Internet’s most comprehensive awareness calendar! Most of these dates are celebrated internationally. In 2013 the blogs will become more strategically aligned and meaningful as Happiness Weekly continues to grow. If you know of some more awareness days and dates that aren’t on the calendar – posting is free, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the details and I’ll update the calendar as soon as possible.
5. Regular blog posts – it’s my promise!
One thing Happiness Weekly promises is that you will receive a highly comprehensive blog on a different topic each week. To receive it in your email inbox, please make sure you subscribe to the blog on the homepage, alternatively like my page on Facebook or follow my Twitter feed for regular updates via social media. Blogs are generally posted at the start of the week, so keep an eye out every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to see the latest from Happiness Weekly!
6. Receive weekly inspiring, thought-provoking and motivational quotes
Happiness Weekly releases a positive quote to think about each week via its social media pages: Facebook and Twitter. It is not necessarily related to the blog or any particular topic, but is generally something that everyone can relate to. That’s one of the best things about Happiness Weekly – not only is everyone welcome and everyone can contribute and have their say openly, but everyone is made to feel welcome as they can relate to everything posted.
7. Learn something new
It’s likely that you will learn something new every week – and why not share this knowledge with your friends, family and colleagues! The topics that Happiness Weekly posts about are extremely thoroughly researched to receive the best tips and guidance on each. The advice is proactive and simple for everyone to try. If you think I’ve missed anything or have something to add, please leave a comment. All blog-related comments are welcome on the Happiness Weekly page!
8. Expand your friendship circle with better communication
By sharing the Happiness Weekly website with your friends, it’s not only likely that your communication will improve but you will improve the communication of your friends around you. This will inevitably provide a shift as everyone is able to express their thoughts and feelings clearly and so your friendship circle will naturally develop and grow and you will naturally encourage new people into your life. Happiness Weekly is also a great conversation starter: it contains topics and information that are worthwhile sharing with your new and old friends.
9. Encourage the continuation of Happiness Weekly
The more popular Happiness Weekly becomes, the more likely it will be to continue. While the writing-style may come across as easy to follow, a lot of time and planning goes into the blogs published by Happiness Weekly which is produced by a single person. The purpose of Happiness Weekly is not to raise revenue but to simply give back to the world in a way that promotes happiness and wellbeing – because it’s not hard to be happy, but knowing how to communicate effectively and respecting others is important. If you have enjoyed a blog by Happiness Weekly, you can show your appreciation and support by simply clicking “like” in the comments field.
10. Sharing is all about helping others
Now it’s your chance to give back to the universe and pay it forward. Tell your friends about Happiness Weekly by getting them to check out the website: www.happinessweekly.org! Share some blog posts on your Facebook pages, repost quotes on Facebook or retweet through Twitter. Spread the word to your community and encourage them to pass it on. Help Happiness Weekly grow so we can all live in a happier and healthier world that actively promotes self-awareness, encourages fair and assertive communication and enables everyone to make the best choices they can in their situation.
Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away. Donna Schoenrock
I’ve been actually really very pleased to see how much awareness was raised around bullying, and how deeply it affects everyone. You know, you don’t have to be the loser kid in high school to be bullied. Bullying and being picked on comes in so many different forms. Lady Gaga
The words of a bully can haunt for a lifetime, but a victim’s words – describing their pain – never feels enough. Unknown
More and more suicides caused by bullying, or bullycide incidents, are occurring as the brutality takes to the internet. Amanda Todd (pictured) is the recent poster girl as her story hit international headlines following a cry for help posted on YouTube. She’s not the first to take her life because of bullying and the eerie truth is: she won’t be the last.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, reducing bullying in schools is one of the top social issues consistently important to students across the country. It’s hard to believe that 1 in 10 students that drops out of school, does so because of repeated bullying. Celebrities, such as country singer Taylor Swift, claim to have been bullied at school. Many, including Taylor, write popular songs about their ordeal, and while this may glamorise a very ugly subject, it also raises awareness for a highly under-rated issue.
With more and more organisations fighting to combat bullying, there is still little information and support out there for victims that are suffering in silence. The scars from bullying are rarely acknowledged – possibly because past victims don’t want to open those old wounds to discuss and revisit what happened to them. I am absolutely passionate about combatting bullying – in schools and the office. More can be done! It is National Anti-Bullying Week this week (starting today), so Happiness Weekly looks at how YOU can be proactive against bullying and what more we can do.
What does bullying do to a person long-term?
It affects their…
- Self-worth: they’re so used to hearing that they’re a failure and all the things they can’t do that they’re filled with self-doubt. This affects victims for a long time after the bullying stops. It’s exhausting trying to get the energy to find self-worth again! If nothing is done, this self-doubt becomes so ingrained in the victim’s mind that when applying for jobs or going for a promotion, they will tend not to over-extend themselves and will stick to roles they are confident they can do. Not out of laziness, but out of doubt. Doubts they only have because other people put them there.
- Commitments: They will probably avoid any situation where they feel as though they will be harassed, caged-in, anxious, bullied or defeated. This could affect things such as serious relationships and job prospects going forward – because if something that is said is taken the wrong way, that person who was once a victim of bullying will replay the tape in their mind and feel the same emotions they felt at the time of the bullying, can take it a lot more personally than originally intended and will more than likely avoid the situation by leaving the relationship or job – which could ultimately affect their career.
More symptoms published by the Herald Sun are available here or read what victims and bullies say upon reflection here.
*** BE PROACTIVE AGAINST BULLYING ***
Generally adults with power (teachers, parents and managers) will tell victims not to respond or fight back: “just ignore it” – an unproductive response that doesn’t validate their feelings or needs. We all need to start taking responsibility and empowering our youth! Children need to learn assertive communication and be given practical tips for how to overcome the feelings they have after suffering at the hands of bullies. Some more practical solutions and alternatives to the “just ignore it” response, may include:
VICTIM: What you can do before it becomes a problem
- Choose not to be the victim (avoid the bully, don’t play into their hands)
- Seek courses in leadership, conflict management, assertive communication, self-esteem
- Be proactive in shifting your focus from the suffering and feelings of self-worth and guilt
- Find a way to take advantage of the situation – look for the lessons, let it strengthen you
- Speak to the school counsellor, a teacher or year advisor: suggest an afterschool class for victims – if you’re at work, speak to your HR department recommend team building if the bully is in your team and see if you can find a common ground to relate to them
- Tell your parents or a close friend and ask them to take part in an educational program with you
Remember, bullying doesn’t stop in high school – statistics show that workplace bullying and harassment is on the rise. The fact is you can’t change the bully or make them go away, but you can change yourself (choose not to be the victim), take control and ultimately change the result.
BULLY: What you can do before it becomes a problem
- Find out what is causing them to be nasty and need the power associated with bullying
- Fill the void with a healthy alternative such as taking a class: kindness, leadership, anger management, mindfulness programs etc.
- Speak to a counsellor
- Avoid toxic friends and people who support or encourage the behaviour
Bullies need to first realise they have a problem before they can be proactive in seeking the help and guidance they need. A key area to shift the bully’s focus is to concentrating on how they can change for the better and becoming the best person possible.
PARENT: What you can do before it becomes a problem
- Communicate a zero-tolerance for bullying behaviour by applying negative consequences if displayed. Clear, fair and significant consequences may include grounding, repaying stolen money, restoring damage etc.
- Teach your child to control their anger productively
- Teach your child good values and behaviours, tell them that their behaviour affects others
- If you find your child bullying someone, ask them to explain their events before turning them in (this is the best way for them to take responsibility)
If your child is being bullied:
- Keep a diary of any injuries, report physical assaults to the school and police
- Monitor your child’s friendships and whereabouts.
FACTS AND STATISTICS
- One student in every four in Australian schools is affected by bullying, says recent research commissioned by the Federal Government
- An estimated 200 million children and youth around the world are being bullied by their peers, according to the 2007 Kandersteg Declaration Against Bullying in Children and Youth
- According to the Centre for Adolescent Health, kids who are bullied are three times more likely to show depressive symptoms
- Children who were bullied were up to nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts
- Girls who were victims of bullying in their early primary school years were more likely to remain victims as they got older, according to British research
- Girls were much more likely than boys to be victims of both cyber and traditional bullying, says a recent Murdoch Children’s Research Institute study
- Young people who bully have a one in four chance of having a criminal record by the age of 30
- Bullying is the fourth most common reason young people seek help from children’s help services.
- Around the world, more than one in six children are bullied at school, every week. More than one in six employees are bullied at work, and some research suggests that more employees are bullied at work!
- Bullying causes billions of damage to everyone concerned, the target, bully, onlookers, families, school, workplace, employers and the community.
- Bullying causes accumulative layers of primary and secondary injuries. These include physical, psychological, social and identity injuries. It can affect studies, career, relationships and financial wellbeing. It can cause a severe Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, lasting many years.
BEATING THE CYBER BULLIES
What is CYBER BULLYING?
Cyber bullying chases victims onto the Internet – it involves the digital communication (text messages, emails, phone calls, internet chat rooms, instant messages and social media using sights such as Bebo, Facebook and MySpace) to support, deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour.
While it’s fantastic that technology is evolving, unfortunately bullying is evolving with it which means you can be bullied anywhere, any time – even receiving cruel taunts in the privacy of your own bedroom. Studies show that cyber bullying is on the rise, with one third of teenagers in a recent survey having had mean, threatening or embarrassing things said about them online. Stop Cyber Bullying Day is this Wednesday, 14 November 2012.
What can you do to prevent cyber bullying happening to you?
Tell someone you trust: parent, friend, teacher, school counsellor, neighbour etc.
Block the cyber bully: delete your social media account, or simply empower yourself by blocking the cyber bully. Unsure how? Check with your phone or internet service provider or ask Google.
Report it: Report abuse on Facebook/MySpace, alternatively your ISP or phone provider may help provide a log which you can take to your school, university, place of work or even the police.
Keep the evidence: Keep any texts, emails, online conversations or voicemails as evidence which can help track down the bully. If you’re tempted to look at it, keep a log including the time and date it took place to avoid further torturing yourself.
Change your details: Get a new phone number, a new username for the internet, a new email … and ensure only your closest friends get the new information.
Happiness Weekly’s suggested solution to assist victims of cyber bullying and provide an alternative to bullycide
Now that the internet is becoming more popular, and is certainly a place that bullies turn to in order to further insult and humiliate their victims, more can be done right here – online! And I don’t mean more information and more facts…
A quick Google search retrieves information on schoolyard and workplace bullying. Sprinkled with a few stats and facts – suggesting you are not alone. The fact is anyone who is being bullied – for whatever reason – feels alone. No one can take the sting away, but someone can be there to listen and support those in need.
If Happiness Weekly had the capacity to become an anti-bullying organisation, the first thing I would suggest would be an online support group for those being bullied. That’s right – let’s take some of the people off the phones for Lifeline and sit them on a computer to share advice and help these kids (or adults) without them having to speak a word.
And I’m not talking about a lazy forum with a single moderator – I mean a full on page, where people can INDIVIDUALLY talk to a counsellor they choose in a chat session. FOR FREE! The government should support this – with trained professionals. The aim of the idea is to offer 24 hour support, seven days a week, on an international level.
Making a phone call is powerful, but how many kids refuse to talk? Saying it out loud may mean admitting the problem, it may be failure, it may mean kids won’t seek help. Having somewhere online, where kids can set up an appointment with an expert (possibly via text?), join a chat room or even meet them on MSN Messenger, Windows Live or even Skype and just chat it out for an hour or two – feel validated and then put some positive advice into practice could be what leads to a saved nation.
I admit that I am exceptionally passionate about this idea and that stems from having being bullied. The thing is, I didn’t call a helpline for fear someone would overhear the conversation, leading to further embarrassment – and admitting the problem out loud is also unsettling, while it may be the first step to recovery. Our counselling professionals and specialists need to band together to create a safe-haven online and produce some real-time online support – that way victims will always have someone there for them when they need them without the fear of being overheard.
If such a network existed, there would certainly be a reduction in bullicides. Start locally, if a counsellor, or five, from each state got together, we could start with Australia – with the hope of expanding the movement as a global support hub.
What is often overlooked is that bullying not only affects those who are being traumatised, but also those who are watching on. Such a support group could offer real-time advice to school counsellors out of ideas, or people watching victims who won’t defend themselves.
A lot of bullying has taken to Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and they need to stand up and take responsibility as well. Why not employ hackers to shut down access from their IP address – or no hackers, just block the IP address from accessing their site anymore. Bullies will get tired of buying new computers eventually! Nip it in the bud! Don’t block an email account, they can easily start a new one and continue their horrible mission… wipe their IP from having access to your system – ever again! People that bully online are not responsible enough to re-join social networking communities.
What do you think? Would it work? Why or why not?
Information and support is also available from the following websites:
Beyondblue – http://www.beyondblue.org.au
Youth Beyondblue – http://www.youthbeyondblue.com
Info Line 1300 22 4636
Sane 1800 187 263
More organisations that recognise bullying as a major problem:
- Happiness Weekly (there’s more practical and beneficial things to do than bullying!)
- World Kindness Australia
- Enough is Enough
– Human Rights Anti Bullying
- Beat bullying
Please remember Bullying Awareness Week starts today and Anti Bullying Week in the UK follows the week after. Donate to the above organisations, spread word about them to friends and colleagues or be proactive this week against bullying!
Please leave your suggestions for how we could be more proactive against bullying below. Alternatively if you are interested in discussing the topic further or need more direct assistance, contact me and I’ll get back to you! Bullycide is completely preventable. Stop bullying.
To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries. A C Grayling
Most people log onto the internet every day, and yet we still have our ups and downs. Perhaps all you need is some inspiration or a bit of a laugh to give you more energy on certain days … you just need to know where to look. So I have compiled a list of my top 10 favourite (non-cult-like) websites that inspire me and help me stay happy when life feels like it’s getting harder. The best things in life are free – just like your happiness and these fantastic websites!
1. Happiness Weekly (www.happinessweekly.wordpress.com – nothing like a bit of self-promotion!) Read on to get some great tips for how to maintain gain or maintain happiness in different situations. You happiness is something that can be worked on all the time. When you’re happy, the people surrounding you will also be happy.
2. Action for happiness (www.actionforhappiness.org) – you’re not going to be happy without taking action first! This is a fantastic organisation offering many inspiring and insightful messages to move you towards happiness. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date!
3. Oprah Winfrey’s website (www.oprah.com) – check out her blog! Whether she writes it or not, it’s a great way to fill in time and it’s impossible to walk away feeling miserable – it’s like an episode of Oprah in writing!
4. In need of a good laugh? When times are tough and you’ve lost all ability to laugh at yourself – laugh at other people (and their thoughts and creations) by checking out these sites:
5. Motivational wellbeing (www.motivationalwellbeing.com) – if you’re feeling down you may just be in need of a little motivation and this is the place to get it! Check out some great videos, articles, quotes, tips and tricks here – all about motivation!
6. Happy fun corp (www.happyfuncorp.com) – this one is a little different. There’s not a lot to do on the webpage but listen to music (and it suggests dancing?) and read happy thoughts. The part I like most is that readers can contribute and share their own happy thoughts as well.
7. Dramatic reading from a break up (www.youmakemetouchyourhandsforstupidreasons.ytmnd.com) – Just get your heart stomped on in a tragic break up? Finding it impossible to smile? This dramatic reading is bound to make you laugh!
8. Positively positive (www.positivelypositive.com) – this is a fantastic little positive news site with some great quotes. At its core, Positively Positive is about optimism and inspiration. About seeing the possibility within each person—and within each day gifted us. It’s about wisdom and how we lift one another up to richer, more fulfilling lives. It’s about tapping into our true nature and capacity.
9. Optimist World (www.optimistworld.com) – possibly the best and most up-to-date news site I could find. Optimist World brings you positive news which shows the very best of the human spirit and helps to show that good news can help to counteract the bad by reminding us what an amazing world we live in. This website seeks to bring to light those inspirational stories that are often not picked up by the TV channels or newspapers to provide an antidote with good news and positive tales.
10. Positivity blog (www.positivityblog.com) – very similar to Happiness Weekly, this blog gives advice, tips and strategies that you need to succeed with living more consciously, simplifying your life, being happier, creating new habits, improving your self-discipline, reducing procrastination, learning to be mindful, getting into shape, identifying and understanding your blocks, improving your people skills and relationships and increasing your self-esteem and self-confidence.
The only limits on human achievement are self-imposed. Dr. Denis Waitley
We all have them… those days you wake up and you don’t want to get out of bed. When you finally do, nothing feels as though it’s going right. So how do you turn your day around?
The simplest thing can point your feet in the right direction. Don’t stay in bed – get up. Make yourself breakfast. Buy yourself a coffee.
Open the door for someone. Let someone into your lane when driving to work. Text a friend: “hope you have a good day”. Wish someone happy birthday on Facebook.
Meet a positive friend
Organise to see someone in the afternoon/evening who makes you laugh or feel good about yourself.
Do something different
Shake things up – get out of your comfort zone. Read a book instead of a newspaper. Spend time learning something new.
Watch your diet
Carbohydrtes (bread, rice, pasta) make anyone feel heavy and bloated. Greasy/fatty foods won’t make you feel better either. Stick to a salad or something light today. Drink lots of water.
Think about the good things about yourself and focus on what you CAN do today.
Try to get your heart rate up for 20-30 minutes. It will release endorphins to reduce stress and make you feel better about everything.
Get some sunshine
Sit in some sunshine for at least 15 minutes. If there’s no sun, try natural light for an hour. If this fails, find your own sunshine. What makes YOU happy. Do it for a little while to boost your mood.
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