All of us have experience with toxic thoughts and habits. The thing is, toxicity is draining, and it can really impact your ability to have a healthy and fulfilling life.
We might have internalized certain thoughts and beliefs from our childhoods. Or, we might have picked up habits from others and unthinkingly taken them on.
Whatever it is, it's best for all of us to rid our lives of toxicity. In that spirit, let's take a look at eight toxic habits that drain our energy:
1. Focusing On The Past
Being aware of your past is important, but we can't stay there. It's toxic to fixate on the past or to wish you could be back in a different time or place.
Take a set amount of time to think about the past, and then focus on your present at other times. If you spend too much time regretting things, or wondering what could've been different, you end up limiting yourself in the here and now.
2. Pretending Everything Is OK
Pretending everything is just fine is a coping mechanism many of us have learned. It's much easier to say 'it's OK' than to assert yourself and advocate for your needs. The thing is, pretending everything is OK is just kicking the problem further down the road.
Avoid this toxic behavior by practicing honesty. If you find this difficult, then start by being honest with yourself. Try writing in a journal and get used to expressing your feelings.
3. Getting Hung Up On 'Should'
So many of us end up fixating on what we 'should' have done or what we 'could' have been. This toxic behavior is reinforced by TV and movies that show characters reaching success in a straight line.
In real life, things are messy and chaotic. You never know how your life will shake out, and it's a waste of energy to act like you've 'failed' already.
Being alive is an experience, not a test, so get rid of all that shoulda' woulda' coulda'.
Worrying is like putting your umbrella up before it's started to rain. It's a waste of your energy, especially because it doesn't change anything.
Rather than just panicking about something, figure out if there's anything you can actually do.
For example, if you're late for something, then worrying won't prevent that lateness. However, if you're worried about falling behind in class, then make an action plan that can help you.
Don't let worrying become a toxic drain on your precious resources.
5. Resisting Change
If we focus on the past, then it's likely we'll end up resisting change.
It's natural to not want things to change, but listen – change means growth, and change means potential. It sounds scary, but there is so much opportunity in change.
If you look back on your life, it's always been changing, and new chapters have opened up. Avoid the toxic behavior of clinging to your old ways. You never know what's around the corner.
6. Taking Things Personally
Do you ever take something as a personal judgment when really it was just a stupid comment? While this is tempting, often people aren't thinking about you as much as you are, and didn't intend a personal jibe.
In these moments, take a few seconds to breathe and calm down before reacting. Often if you give it a little time, or talk about it with someone else, you'll see that they just weren't thinking at all.
7. Putting Everyone Before Yourself
Some people learn to get through life by looking after other people. Of course, this is a beautiful and important act, but not if it comes at your own expense.
It's good to provide for others and to be there to listen when they need you. But you can't be a rock for your family and friends if you aren't strong yourself.
Taking on everyone else's needs is extremely draining, and also disappointing if it isn't reciprocated.
Practice the art of saying no, and you'll be able to build yourself up too.
8. Focusing On The Negative
No matter how much positivity we have in our lives, we tend to focus on the negative. And thinking about the negative can cause us to seriously spiral. One little comment can become a whirlwind of anxiety.
Take the time to contextualize negativity and put it into perspective. Try to redirect your energy and enjoy the positivity in your life.