How Positive Thinking Benefits Bullying Victims

Learn how optimism can reduce the stress of bullying


It is common knowledge that being bullied can scar victims emotionally leaving them feeling hopeless and vulnerable. Consequently, it is important for targets of bullying to know how to persevere despite the intense pain of the situation. One way to do that is to engage in positive thinking in spite of the negative impact of bullying.

In fact, researchers are finding more and more evidence pointing to the benefits of positive thinking and optimism. For instance, research shows that not only are positive thinkers healthier and less stressed, but they also have a greater overall sense of wellbeing. Additionally, people who think positive thoughts also may experience a number of other benefits including lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress and better coping skills.

Positive thinking often begins with self-talk, which are the unspoken thoughts that run through a person’s head. And when it comes to bullying this is especially important. Many times, victims of bullying will engage in negative self-talk, often repeating the bully’s messages in their head, such as “I’m a loser,” “No one likes me,” and “I am worthless and stupid.” But this is a huge mistake and can lead to depression, hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide.

Instead, victims of bullying should be telling themselves that the messages the bullies are saying are not true and replacing them with more affirming messages like “There is nothing wrong with me,” “I am a good person,” and “I have something to offer the world.” Not only will these statements reaffirm their worth and identity, but they also will benefit in other ways from positive thinking.

Ways Positive Thinking Can Benefit Victims of Bullying

Cope with the stress of bullying. Positive thinking impacts a person’s ability to cope with bullying. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects and messages from bullying, optimistic people tend to cope with the situation in much more productive and positive ways.

For instance, positive thinkers often identify areas where they can use the situation to their advantage such as helping others in similar situations. Another way that positive thinking helps victims of bullying cope with stress is it often prompts them to develop a plan of action for overcoming the bullying and making it stop.

Positive thinkers also are more likely to believe that others will be willing to help them with the bullying situation including teachers and administrators. They have hope that the situation will end instead of seeing the situation as hopeless.

Enhance overall resilience. Resilient people are able to face bullying with strength and resolve. Rather than falling apart, they are able to persevere and overcome the negative impact of bullying. And optimism, or positive thinking, plays a major role in this ability.

People who are able to keep their thoughts positive are much more likely to bounce back from a bullying situation than those who are prone to negative thoughts. They instinctively know that the bullying experience is not the end of the world. They also are able to redirect their thoughts to their goals and plans rather than focusing on the choices of another.

Improves health and wellbeing. Bullying can have devastating consequences including everything from academic struggles and health issues, to depression, eating disorders and thoughts of suicide. But positive thinking can provide a buffer for some of these issues.

People who are optimistic are able to focus more on the things that they can control like their response to bullying or how they are going to address it. Additionally, they avoid ruminating about the things they cannot control such as name-calling, cyberbullying and relational aggression. By doing so, they are able to avoid negative ways of coping with the pain of bullying.

Overall there are many benefits to positive thinking, but it is important to note the importance of keeping it in perspective. For instance, no matter how positive a person is, bad things will happen. People will bully them and make fun of them. But positive thinking can help if the person focuses on tackling challenges in productive way and trying to make the most of bad situations like bullying.

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