Are you feeling anxious after being bullied? You’re not alone.

Ditch the Label research revealed that 37% of people surveyed in the Annual Bullying Survey developed social anxiety as a direct result of bullying.

percentage of people feeling anxious after being bullied

Social anxiety can vary from a bit of nervousness around new people to a crippling inability to connect with anyone in a social situation.

It is described as a fear of social situations that involve interactions with other people. Sounds pretty scary on the surface, but the good news is that it is possible to completely overcome social anxiety with a bit of help and guidance.

For more information on social anxiety, the NHS website has some great information.

It’s no surprise that experiences of bullying can lead to issues such as social anxiety and depression. Bullying is also proven to have negative effects on the self-esteem and confidence of the person experiencing it too which just goes to show how serious the effects of bullying can be.

There are some measures you can take to ease up your anxiety, but this does involve slowly creeping out of your comfort zone at a pace that you are comfortable with, so you have to approach it with an open mind and a will for change. Well, no one said it would be easy, right!? 

Fear not, anxious friends. We at Ditch the Label are here to help you make sure you don’t miss out on another party, football match or day out again!

Relax

We know you’re probably rolling your eyes at this one… easier said than done right!? There’s nothing worse than someone telling you to “relax” or “chill out” when you’re feeling anxious. If only it was that easy!  That’s like telling someone to just change their eye colour or to be taller! Try some of these relaxation techniques for when you feel stress and tension creeping up on you.

If it’s a particular event that’s giving you bad anxiety, think about yourself at the event before you go. Picture yourself there, having a conversation, having a laugh, chatting to people – this will help you to visualise your actions when you’re there.

Look outwards

Often, when we’re anxious we are constantly looking in on ourselves. How we feel, how we look, how we sound, how we appear to other people. We obsess over how we are being perceived so we begin to overthink everything about ourselves… try looking outwards instead. Take in the behaviour of those around you, what they’re saying and doing, how are they standing or what are they doing with their hands? What is the room like or how is the view out the window?

Once you start focussing on other things besides your own worries and insecurities, you’ll start to relax and realise that in new situations, most people are a little awkward too.

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Practise mindfulness

This leads on nicely to this next point – mindfulness! It works wonders for people with anxiety and there are some really simple things you can do to ease up those anxious feelings. …

Mindful breathing: Focus all of your attention on your breathing for one minute. Breath in through your nose, out through your mouth and try to let go of the thoughts which are bugging you. Concentrate on the sensation in your nose and chest as you fill your lungs with air and how it feels when you let it go. Once that minute is over, those worrying thoughts will feel a little less foreboding, guaranteed.

Observation: Spend one minute (or more) focusing on something in your immediate surroundings. Like the wind, some grass or a plant. Take in every detail about it; how it looks, what shape it is, how it feels, how it moves, the colour of it, how it stands or sits… you get the idea. When other thoughts creep into your mind, brush them aside and concentrate solely on your chosen object.

Colouring! Nope, colouring is not just for five-year-olds (true story). The benefits of colouring are endless! Not only does it calm us down when we are stressed, it works as a really handy distraction from worries and anxieties, enhances our focus and concentration, improves motor skills and has therapeutic effects, helping us to get rid of negativity.

Try these out next time you’re feeling particularly anxious or tell us your own mindful techniques in the comments!

Challenge yourself

Try to take daily steps to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Start as small as asking someone for the time and go from there. No one is born fearless, courage is something that you build up as you learn to manage your fear. Check out this article on social anxiety for more tips.

Don’t hide away

No matter how much you want to just hide from the world, try not to lock yourself in your room for days on end. As hard as it seems at this time, its really important that you socialise in real life and get a good balance between on and offline interaction. This can be in the form of joining a team, doing a sports activity or becoming a member of an extracurricular club.

With the internet at our fingertips, it’s really easy to visit digital hangouts and make loads of online mates. This is a great thing in theory, but it’s not doing wonders for our confidence offline with a significant rise in reported loneliness over recent years. It’s pretty ironic that as a society we are more connected than ever, yet we are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic! Don’t forget to come up for air to make some human contact from time to time! The more you do, the more your confidence will grow and your anxiety will subside.

Fear of rejection

Something which makes a lot of people anxious is a fear of rejection.  Really, whats the worst that can happen if you do get rejected?! Chances are, not much!

The more we worry about what other people think of us the more we end up suppressing our true selves, and that’s no fun at all! The best way to feel confident is to say “f*** what other people” think, embrace your weirdness and just do you 🙃

Join the Ditch the Label community and start a conversation –  no judgement, no wrong answer, no wrong questions!

join the ditch the label community, mobile, phone, screenshot

Are you being bullied?

“Just ignore it”, is what most people are told when they’re being bullied, or maybe “they’re only jealous” – but what use is that when you’re hurting and it’s making you feel bad about yourself? “Tell a teacher” is sometimes good advice but what happens when your teachers don’t do anything? What if you’ve already told a teacher and it just got worse?

If you’re being bullied then you’re not the only one. In fact, almost half of us, have at some point been bullied. As a leading global youth charity, we’re here to help you overcome bullying once and for all.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back…

Top 10 tips for dealing with bullying

1. Understand the bullying

Bullying is a learnt behaviour. There are several reasons why people bully others; more often than not, bullying can be a coping mechanism for people who are going through a stressful or traumatic situation and it may also be learnt from abuse or prejudice-based attitudes at home. Often people who bully others have at some point been bullied themselves or are currently being bullied.

Other reasons for bullying can include issues such as jealousy and insecurity – we know this because we work directly with people who bully so we can help them understand and overcome their negative behaviours. If you are being bullied, please know that you are NOT the problem.

If you are bullying somebody else, please speak up about it – get help on our Community here.

2. If you feel safe enough: speak to the person who is bullying you

Have you ever said something to a friend and upset them by accident? Chances are, it has probably happened loads of times. It’s a similar thing with bullying as the definition, by default is subjective – meaning that everybody has a different threshold of what they consider to be bullying. Sometimes, the person who is bullying you may genuinely have no idea that it is affecting you.

Equally, they are probably going through a difficult time themselves and will relate to how you’re feeling. This is why we have found that speaking to the person who is bullying you can be really effective. If this is something you’d consider, read this first.

3. Never go through it in silence

When you’re going through a stressful or difficult situation, it can clog your mind and fog your vision. This leads to people becoming distracted, stressed and unproductive. Bullying is something that affects so many people’s lives, but many people will never report it through embarrassment, fear or a lack of faith in support systems.

It is incredibly important that you go through the appropriate reporting channels by firstly telling a teacher/parent/guardian/learning mentor or another responsible adult. You can also contact us for advice and support. Even if you don’t want to report it, speak to somebody and don’t feel like you have to go through it alone because you don’t.

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4. Is it a crime?

Bullying is a behaviour but some forms of bullying may also be a criminal offence. If somebody physically or sexually attacks you, steals from you or uses prejudice language or hate speech towards you (such as homophobia and racism) or shares your private information or intimate images online – these are all key signs that you should probably report it to the Police.

5. Don’t see yourself as the problem

The reason people experience bullying is not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes. The person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you.

6. Deal with stress

When you are going through a stressful situation, it can be difficult to deal with it objectively if you keep it all to yourself. The stress navigates towards the front of your mind and builds up into a completely avoidable chain of negative emotions. It is therefore incredibly important to tell somebody that you trust; it doesn’t even have to be an adult, it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. You deserve the help and support to get through this.

We have a really simple exercise available on our website called Stress Reprogramming which you can do either alone or with somebody else in around 30 minutes. The exercise will help you see stress differently and come up with a way forward.

7. Even though you may want to, don’t isolate yourself

Depriving yourself of any sort of support certainly isn’t going to resolve the issue or help you handle the bullying. We know it may feel like the best thing to do at the time, but it will only make things worse by silencing you and reducing your self-esteem. Often people who are bullied will understandably see themselves as victims, but it’s important that you look beyond that and don’t let the bullying dictate who you are. Talk about it to somebody at Ditch the Label.

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8. Look after your health

We’re not going to go into the whole endorphin thing because you’ve probably heard it before – but seriously, eating a good, clean diet and exercising can really improve your physical and mental health and reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity, helping you break down difficult situations, making them much easier to deal with. Other things you can try include meditation, yoga, cooking, long walks, running and swimming.

We ALL have mental health, but why is it that everybody focuses more heavily on physical than mental? The fact of the matter is: we all have ups and downs and statistically, 1 in 4 of us will experience some sort of mental health complication such as depression or anxiety. It is completely okay to speak up about these issues and it is important that you seek emotional and mental health support from your GP, a therapist or counsellor. We have more advice on issues you may be facing available here.

9. Seek role models

When you’re going through your teen years, sometimes it can all seem like a bit of a black hole. It’s made even worse if you’re struggling with your identity or being bullied.

This is why it is important to seek out positive role models to show you that plenty of people have been where you are right now and have managed to overcome it. Read more stories and inspiring blogs here.

10. Lean on us

We are a leading global youth charity and we are here for you when you need us the most. If you need any help or guidance, join the community to chat anonymously with a digital mentor, or discuss what’s on your mind with others who’ve been there before!

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Are you dealing with cyberbullying?

If you are being cyberbullied, read our top 9 tips on overcoming cyberbullying for advice on what to do and how to deal with it.

Do you feel low on confidence and self-esteem today? There are 10 simple ways to help you increase your self-esteem and build confidence in yourself.

  1. Challenge bad thoughts about yourself
  2. Take care of yourself
  3. Be sure to relax
  4. Set goals for yourself
  5. Help somebody else out
  6. Take a different perspective
  7. Try new things
  8. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good
  9. Accept yourself
  10. Keep visual reminders of things that make you feel good

What is the meaning of self-esteem?

Each and every one of us have self-esteem. Self-esteem is made up of the thoughts we have about ourselves and plays a role in almost everything we do.

Having healthy self-esteem is really important as it helps you make positive choices in your everyday life, gives you the courage to be your own person, have good relationships and helps you deal with difficult situations.

Did you know that 87% of those who have been bullied felt it had a negative effect on their self-esteem…

Low self-esteem can have harmful effects on your mental health, your decisions about your appearance and ultimately, your future.

It’s not easy to like every part of the way you look, but getting stuck on negatives can really bring down your self-esteem.

Other effects of low self-esteem include:

  • You avoid difficult situations
  • Sensitive to criticism
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • You are reluctant to trust yourself

It’s important to believe, deep down that you can change. Change doesn’t necessarily happen easily or quickly, but it can happen.

lion king, gif, change is good, not easy

Here are our top tips and the best ways to build and improve your self-esteem.

1. Challenge bad thoughts about yourself

Replace them with more positive thoughts which celebrate things you’re good at. You can do this by writing down a list of at least three things you do well.

Remember this list when you start feeling low, this will help bring yourself back to reality.

2. Take care of yourself

Eating well and exercising boosts endorphins, the body’s natural opiates, which make you feel good on the inside and stimulates a more positive mood.

When you exercise, you’ll ease stress and feel better about yourself. Having a cheesy dance in your bedroom, or going for a jog around the block are great ways to boost your self-esteem.

3. Relax

The constant feeling of stress can play a huge role in low self-esteem. It makes you feel negative thoughts more often, it reduces your confidence and you’ll probably feel too tired to exercise, be social or do a lot of the things you love.

Reducing your stress by taking time out to do something you find relaxing is a great starting point to making yourself feel better.

This can be anything from taking a bath, meditation, gaming, indoor dancing, singing… you name it; if it works for you, it works!

4. Set goals

Take the time every day to think about what you’d like to achieve. Then set yourself realistic goals for each day and keep track of your progress by writing down all your accomplishments.

This can be as simple as finishing off a piece of work or tidying up (and we all know how challenging this can be!)

You’ll feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when you’ve ticked off everything on your list for the day.

The trick is to not get bogged down by the list; some days you won’t manage to get it all done and that’s OK too! We all have off days, maybe make a shorter list for the next day and see how you get on?

5. Help someone out

This can be a friend, family member or even a classmate who is struggling with their work or having a tough time at school. You could give them some advice or just be there to listen to a problem.

It’s amazing how much our confidence is boosted when we do selfless things – do one thing a week to help someone else without expecting anything in return.

6. Take a different perspective

Look at tricky situations from alternative angles. Try to replace thoughts like ‘why should I bother?’ with ‘I won’t know unless I try’.

By looking at a situation through a more realistic lens you’ll realise that you actually can do what you want – you just need to apply a bit more positivity!

By doing this every time you have a negative thought, you’ll eventually default to this kind of positivity on the regular, and who doesn’t love a go-getter? Sometimes we just need to think and try different things to overcome having low self-esteem.

7. Try new things

Our brains are really good at learning new stuff and the more new stuff you learn, the better you get at learning it and the more likely you find things you can be passionate about.

Everyone needs a creative outlet; music, art, dance, games, sewing, cooking, web design – all you need to do is get on YouTube and find some tutorials. All the information you need is out there – it’s just waiting for you to watch it.

DM us on Instagram the best YouTube tutorial videos and let us know you were inspired by this article!


8. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good

Sometimes our friends don’t make us feel good, and that’s okay. You just need to spend your time with other people who appreciate and care about you more. This doesn’t even need to be your friends, but they could be family members, online friends or neighbours.

And those friends who aren’t helping your mood? Learn whether they are a toxic friend and think about trying to distance yourself from those people who make you feel bad about yourself.

It can be a little tricky at first, but even if they’re the most popular kid in school or the coolest person you know, it’s really not worth hanging out with them if they make you feel rubbish!

If you need help, we’ve written an article with 8 steps to help you break up with a toxic friend.

Strengthen friendships and relationships and you’ll most certainly feel better about things in the long run!

9. Accept yourself

Nobody is perfect. We all have issues and we all have flaws. Learn to accept your ‘flaws’ or imperfections and love them, because they are what make you unique. So, work it honey!

Self-acceptance is the key to feeling confident. When people pay you compliments, simply say ‘thanks’ rather than brushing them aside or countering them with a negative.

10. Keep visual reminders of things that make you feel good

Mementoes are a great way to see all the cool things you’ve been doing. How about making a ‘wall of fame’ in your bedroom with snaps of you and your friends?

We are living in an age where we have a camera in our pocket at all times…take more pictures!

Capture those memorable moments and when you look back at them, you’ll realise how many awesome things you’ve done this year!

Still not sure if you have low self-esteem?

It is completely normal to feel negative about yourself from time to time but if this feeling is long-lasting, then you may have low self-esteem.

Picking up on the signs is important so you can build your confidence back up to where it should be.

Take this easy to finish quiz to find out if you need a bit of a boost:

The link doesn’t work? Try the quiz here: https://www.qzzr.com/c/quiz/410901/hows-your-self-esteem


Need a lil’ boost to your confidence?

Join our community for anonymous answers from our digital mentors or other people going through similar issues as you. Let’s overcoming low self-esteem together!

Or hit us up in the Brag Box on Community and tell us one thing you’re proud of!


Self-Esteem & Confidence FAQs

What are three tips for improving your self-esteem?

Make sure to look after yourself, and find people who make you feel good and happy. Challenge any bad thoughts that come into your head. Understand the things triggering these bad thoughts and make changes to deal with them.

How do I build my confidence?

One of the ways to do this is to stop comparing yourself to other people, especially on social media apps like Instagram. Challenge your internal negative thoughts and try new things. Confidence will build from doing things just as much as learning about them.

What are the signs of low self-esteem?

You avoid difficult situations, you are more sensitive to criticism that normal, you feel more anxiety than normal, you are withdrawing from social situations and you feel reluctant to trust yourself.

Things like self-esteem and confidence take the biggest knock as a result of bullying. We know this from the years of research we have undertaken in our Annual Bullying Survey. We internalise the mean comments and try to rationalise why we might’ve been excluded, singled out and picked on.

Eventually, we come to the conclusion that… “it must be me 😳”

In doing so we convince ourselves that there’s something wrong with us and before you know it…. hey presto! You’ve got yourself a whole bunch of social anxiety, confidence issues and low self-esteem to contend with.

The worst thing about this is that it follows us around for ages and it’s difficult to shake, even after the bullying has ended or been resolved. We’re left feeling low and vulnerable.

So, what can we do about it? The answer is simple but not always so easy to achieve: we can learn to love ourselves.

The experts at Ditch the Label put their heads together to come up with 50 things you can do to give yourself a little boost – try to tick off every single one and we guarantee you’ll start feeling better about yourself.

50 tips to rebuild your confidence

Try some of these out:

  1. Tell yourself that you are enough
  2. Change up your hairstyle
  3. Watch your favourite movie
  4. Talk to that mate that always makes you giggle
  5. Run faster than you’ve ever run before
  6. Make something you’ve never made before
  7. Shout out a window really loud about how amazing you are (we dare you)
  8. Help a mate
  9. Spend time with a puppy
  10. Write a list of all your best qualities
  11. Write a list of all the good things in your life – add to it every day
  12. Do something that you know you’re really good at
  13. Accept a compliment by saying ‘thank you’
  14. Unfollow/block all the things on social media which make you feel worthless
  15. Ask for help more
  16. Build something
  17. Complete a video game
  18. Find a sense of community (*cough hint cough*)
  19. Say yes more to fun/new things
  20. Learn a martial art
  21. Take up a new sport
  22. Literally say nice things to yourself in the mirror (a bit cringe at first, but trust us, it works 😉)
  23. Be kinder to the people closest to you
  24. Read about people who have similar experiences to you
  25. Talk to people who have similar experiences to you
  1. Treat yourself once in a while
  2. Allow yourself to laugh more
  3. Be outside more
  4. Hang out with people who make you feel good
  5. Join a forum (*cough hint cough*)
  6. Understand that the reality is, no one has it easy
  7. Be creative
  8. Practise mindful colouring
  9. Understand that it takes time
  10. Accept who you are and own it
  11. Learn about ways to stand up for yourself
  12. Learn to say no
  13. Hang out with a kitten😍
  14. Discover a new band
  15. Start your own band
  16. Be more honest
  17. Meditate
  18. Be critical of everything you read online
  19. Go shopping
  20. Cook a meal for your family/friends
  21. Join a club
  22. Organise activities for friends/family
  23. Celebrate your achievements no matter how big or small
  24. List the things you love about yourself
  25. List the things you are most grateful for

Got any to add? Stick em’ in Community – we want to hear how you stay fabulous 😍 @DitchtheLabel

The Link between Bullying and Mental Health

The impacts of bullying can affect crucial aspects of everyday life, even after bullying has ended. So, what are the long-term effects? We all know bullying is bad, but are we actually aware of the lasting impacts it can have on the mental health of those who experience it?

According to the most recent Ditch the Label research, those who experienced bullying in the last year say they went on to develop social anxiety, depression and some even experienced suicidal thoughts. Interestingly, the stats on the impacts of cyberbullying were even higher, proving that our lives online are having as much, if not more, of an impact on us than ever…

Of those who experienced bullying in the last year…

Ditch the Label – Annual Bullying Survey 2017

Of those who experienced cyberbullying in the last year…

Ditch the Label – Annual Bullying Survey 2017


Bullying is proven to have a lasting effect on our mental health.

The link is actually not as one-dimensional as you might think. In fact, it’s actually more of a circle. Those with mental health problems are more likely to be bullied, and those who are bullied are more likely to develop a mental health problem… and the cycle continues.


Don’t suffer in silence

We’re here to support anyone going through bullying or relates issues – you are not alone.

Ways to contact a DTL digital mentor:

Email
Sometimes it’s easier to write things down. Send an email here and a digital mentor will reply to you with advice on how to deal with it and other words of wisdom.

Join the Community
Our online community forum is a space where you can anonymously talk about your problem with a digital mentor or other Community users. This is a great way to interact with people who have had similar experiences and maybe even share some advice of your own.

Phone
If you’d rather speak to somebody on the phone, our friendly digital mentors are on hand to answer your calls from 9-5:30 – Monday to Friday, call us on 01273 201129.

Social Media
You can even send us a private message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.