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Find Another Tribe

There are two kinds of bullying, and you fight them in different ways. Active bullying is when people do something, like yelling or hiding your tools. This is the kind of bullying everyone can see and that you can report to your boss or HR. Passive bullying is when people don’t do something, for example when they invite everybody else to an event. It is hard to report this kind of bullying, but you can still fight back.

The important thing is to have strong relationships outside work. Many people invest most of their time and energy in their jobs, and the people at work become your tribe. We have a deep ancient fear of being excluded from our tribe. In a hunter-gatherer society, exclusion could literally be life-threatening.

If you are the victim of passive bullying at work, join another tribe. It can be your church, an environmental organization, or a sports or crafts club. You do not have to depend on being part of the tribe at work.

To Fight Climate Anxiety, Do Something

You can do something to improve the world. It is important for your physical and mental health that you feel you make a difference.

Climate worries are on everybody’s mind here in Europe as we suffer record temperatures and our rivers dry out. A big survey of young people found 45% saying that their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning. Adults with traumatic experiences like bullying or other abuse often have similar feelings.

You can break this feeling and reclaim your life by doing something to fight the thing you worry about. You don’t need to save the world by yourself, but you need to make an effort. You might save energy by driving less, buying vintage clothes instead of new ones, or volunteering in a climate-related charity. When you wrap up your day before going to bed, remind yourself of a situation where you made your own effort to fight climate change.

There is a very big difference between doing nothing and doing something.

They Can Talk, But You Don’t Have to Listen

Free speech means people can say almost anything. It doesn’t mean you have to listen. Elon Musk has just bought Twitter and wants fewer restrictrions. That will make Twitter an even less welcoming place.

For your mental health and sanity, spend your time on social media in the well behaved corners of the internet. That means moderated groups on places like Facebook and LinkedIn. These groups have human administrators who will react if you report bullying.

Prepare a Stress Response Anchor

Hitting someone is a bad response. At the Oscars ceremony, one of the hosts made a joke about an actor’s wife, and the actor stormed up on stage and slapped the host in front of 15 million TV viewers. No matter how bad or tasteless the joke, physically hitting out is the wrong way to react.

Instead, prepare a stress response in advance. One powerful technique is called “anchoring” where you connect a physical feeling to an emotional state. Sit in your favorite place, listen to your favorite music and think of all the good things that have happened in your life. As you really feel good, press your thumb against your middle finger. Say in your mind “I am anchoring this good feeling in my body.” Do this several times on different days.

When faced with a stressful situation in the future, you can call upon your anchor. Touch your thumb against your middle finger and you will feel the calm you have stored in advance. If you see Will Smith, feel free to pass this tip to him.

Stop Your Technology from Distracting You

To create something, you need focus. I do my journaling on paper because a sheet of paper will not suddenly interrupt you with an unimportant message. When I am in focus mode, I have notification off on my phone and my computer. When writing on the computer, I use the “focus” mode in Word that removes all the menus and covers everything on my screen but the document.

You need to take a moment to figure out how to bend your technology to your will. If you can’t figure out how to disable notifications and noise, have a friend or family member help you.

Single Tasking Day

Today 2/22 is “Single Tasking Day.” That’s a made-up holiday, but there is a serious purpose behind it. We pride ourselves our ability to multi-task, but we are not really good at it. Unless one of the tasks is completely automatic – like walking or breathing – we are not actually multi-tasking. We are just switching our attention between several tasks. And every time we switch, we lose a little (or a lot) of time before we are productive on the new task.

Celebrate Single Tasking Day by selecting one task from your long list of half-finished tasks, and work on that one until it is complete. Every incomplete task takes up space in your mind. Notice how you feel lighter and more in control of your life once you can cross that task completely off your list. #SingleTaskingDay

Report Bullying

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel was found to have bullied staff, violating the ministerial code. The Home Secretary apologized, and the Prime Minister decided his anti-bullying strategy did not extend beyond sending a letter to all ministers reminding them to behave themselves.

If you are bullied in the workplace, you need to speak up to someone. It will be uncomfortable confronting the bully, but in any medium-sized or larger organization, you don’t need to do that. Instead, report the bullying to your HR function, giving details of specific incidents of bullying. If the bullying is in email, print them out, give a paper copy to HR and keep one yourself. Your HR function might decide to confront the bully immediately, or only after receiving multiple reports. But by reporting them, you are no longer a passive victim. And that is an important step in stopping bullying.