Knowing when you should step away

Being happy and healthy can be extremely difficult when you’re in a toxic environment. A toxic environment can be a result of anything from an unhealthy relationship or negative work environment to self-esteem issues or a lack of self-care. Whatever the cause, toxicity is hard to cope with.

It can sometimes be hard to recognize a toxic environment when you’re in one, and even harder to remove yourself from that environment or change it to be a positive and non-toxic one. So what exactly is a toxic environment, how does it affect your health, and what can you do to fix it?

What Is a Toxic Environment?

A toxic environment is any place or any behavior's that causes harm to your health, happiness, and wellbeing. If you’re around people who make you feel small, insecure, or bad about yourself, you might be in a toxic environment. If you feel a physical weight every time you walk into your place of work, you might be in a toxic environment.

Perhaps you go to work and are verbally abused by your manager. Or maybe your partner has a way of manipulating you that lowers your self-esteem. You could even be creating a toxic environment for yourself at home by not keeping your space tidy, or not caring for yourself by sitting down to read a book with a cup of tea every now and then.

How to Cleanse a Toxic Environment

Once you realize what a toxic environment is and you’ve realized you’re in one — what do you do about it? The answer will depend on your situation and where the root of the problem lies.

If the toxic environment is external, like a bad relationship or workplace, you may be able to remove yourself from the situation, meaning quit the job or break up with the partner, and quickly feel your spirits rise. You deserve better than having to put up with people who don’t make you feel like your best self.

If the toxic environment is being created through your own behaviour, you’ll have some work to do because toxic behaviours have no place in your life. Toxic behaviours can include negative self-talk, comparing yourself to others, playing the victim, being selfish, and more. If you can work to make your own behaviours more positive and fulfilling, you’ll be rid of your toxicity in no time.

When you feel unsatisfied or hurt by your environment and the behaviours of the people in your environment, it’s hard to feel happy and healthy overall. Your mood might dip, along with your energy levels, and you can even develop heart problems and other more serious ailments.

Your toxic environment also might be literally environmental. In that case, you may need to cleanse your home of negative energy. Removing clutter, letting light inside, rearranging or redecorating, and a good cleaning can often make an old, sad space feel new and happy.

It’s clear that toxic environments can be detrimental to your health in areas from your happiness and energy level to your sex life and risk of substance abuse, but if you can recognize a toxic environment for what it is, you can likely get yourself out of it and live a happy, healthy life.

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