Can Mindfulness Cure Bullying


Can Mindfulness Cure Bullying



Can Mindfulness Cure Bullying?



When does teasing or ‘stirring the pot’ become bullying? Is there a difference between being unkind or nasty to someone and bullying them? Does a bully realise they are bullying?


So, what exactly is bullying? The national definition of bullying for Australian schools says: “Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm.  It can involve an individual or group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online and it can be obvious or hidden.”


“Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.”


According to statistics from The Annual Bullying Survey 2014, 45% of young people experience bullying before the age of 18, 26% of those bullied have experienced bullying on a daily basis.


Most schools say they have a zero tolerance to bullying, yet it’s still going on. In the schools’ defence it is difficult to monitor/police bullying when it’s happening outside of school hours or online.


Bullying effects everyone – those that are being bullied, those that witness the bullying and the bully themselves. For the victim and by-stander it can cause sleep problems, feelings of sadness and alienation, increased health problems which can lead to more serious issues of depression and anxiety.


In most cases the bully is driven by their fear of being different, they suffer from low self-esteem, a lack of empathy and in most cases a past experience as a victim of bullying.


Mindfulness can stop the vicious circle of the victim becoming the bully, it helps get to the core of the problem, helping the perpetrator to recognise their behaviour and why they are doing it.


By focusing on the bully and their behaviour we are actually giving them more power, we need to shift our focus from punishing the bully onto how we can build resilience and inner strength in ALL students, yes even that of the bully.


Mindfulness and meditation decreases the impact of bullying.  When a bully sees that their behaviour is no longer having an effect on the intended victim, they often cease the bullying behaviour.


Mindfulness has been shown to reduce the severity of depression and anxiety in children, it helps to build resilience and self-regulate emotions, especially fear and anger. Mindfulness gives them the skills to help cope with stress, therefore building their self-confidence and self-esteem.


Ongoing mindfulness programs help create greater empathy amongst students which is crucial to tackling bullying, people who show empathy are more likely to stand up to bullies and less likely to become the bully.


I believe that by implementing regular mindful practices in the classroom we are helping the youth of today to build resilience and self-confidence which, in turn, helps to build their self-esteem.  Students will have the courage to take a stand against the bully, taking away the misused power.





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2 comments so far

Anne CaugheyPosted on1:58 pm - Aug 5, 2018

Very interesting Gabby.

    GabbyPosted on3:50 pm - Aug 5, 2018

    Thanks Anne, I know schools are busy but if they spent the same amount of time on mindfulness as they do talking about how to punish the bullies our children will be in a much better ‘space’.

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