Does Toxicity Attract Toxicity in Our Personal Lives?

When aspects of our life become toxic why do we allow it to spread and actually invite it in?

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Our environment shapes our behaviour from a very early age.  Babies that are exposed to violence and fear will have different MRI’s of their brain compared to babies growing with good health attachments in a safe environment.  People who only have healthy food in their house will eat healthy, people who are surrounded by chips and chocolate will succumb and consume these foods despite good intentions simply because they are there.  It is the same with the people in our lives.  Who are you surrounded by and are they making your life toxic?  What can you do about it particularly if there are problems either at home or at work?

We have all made the resolutions to eat healthier, be fitter, do more yoga and mindfulness in 2015 but here we are week four and how are most people going?   I have become acutely aware that when one area of my life becomes toxic it is very easy to slip into toxicity in other parts of my life.  Does any of this sound familiar?

You have been eating well, exercising three times a week and trying to get more sleep.  Then someone at work first challenges you and then is passive aggressive and nasty in a meeting.  You feel unsupported and attacked.  You stew on this negativity for the rest of the day.  You alternate between being really angry and annoyed at the person and the rest of the team for remaining silent despite unprofessional and irresponsible behaviour; and the rest of the time you are overly critical of your own role and part to play in the meeting. You may ask ‘Why am I so passive?’  ‘Why didn’t I think to say this or that?’  ‘What is wrong with me that I always attract hostile behaviour from this person?’  By the end of the day you have a headache.  That night is designated ‘gym night’ which you have been organised and already packed your clothes ready to go after work but when you collapse into the car that afternoon it all seems too hard.  You decide not to go to the gym because you have a headache and the day has been too awful.

Then despite having chicken breast and vegetables ready to make a healthy stir fry you pick at chocolate and snacks in the kitchen. You may even have an alcoholic drink or two, why not?  You are stressed and it might help you ‘relax’.  You now feel too tired, drunk and full to make dinner properly but eat a large bowl of cereal at 10pm because you haven’t eaten enough earlier and are now hungry.  You have a good book or maybe even study waiting but the headache, conversations and junk food are now going around and around in your body and ruminating in your head making it impossible to settle or concentrate so instead you watch some rubbish reality show on TV.  Despite not enjoying the show you stay and watch until completion. When you finally go to bed you are annoyed at yourself for:

  • Getting into an argument at work
  • Missing the gym
  • Not eating a proper dinner
  • Drinking alcohol during the week
  • Wasting a night on rubbish TV
  • Not staying with any of your New Year Goals.

And now this is all ruminating over and over in your head and you can’t sleep? Sound familiar?   This is why I have come to realise that toxicity creates toxicity and in actual fact fosters further toxicity.  We have an obligation to ourselves to stop the toxicity cycle. If someone is being rude at work, model exemplary processes and then do something active and appropriate about it.  If you have had a terrible day nurture yourself, not with chocolate and alcohol, but with healthy food and exercise or mindfulness.  If you genuinely have a headache, instead of plonking in front of the TV try a gentle walk by the water or a lovely relaxing bath.  Recently I had a friend tell me that when something awful has happened to her at work or personally she allows herself to retell the story THREE times only.  Because three times allows the opportunity to debrief and gain some insights or ideas on how to manage the issue. She figures that anything more than three times you are simply feeding the problem!

If your car was making a terrible clunking noise you wouldn’t forget to put water in, or put in dirty petrol or give it a further kick.  You would service it, investigate the problem and work at resolving the issue.  We need to have a similar approach to ourselves!

Don’t let the old habits of a toxic lifestyle encouraging an ongoing toxic lifestyle.  If toxicity creeps into your life, clean it up!

As always, take care of yourself, you are important!

Liz x

As always, take care of yourself, you are important!

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