Eliminating Toxic Influences

During Mental Health Awareness Month 2020 we are sharing five practical “Tools2Thrive” that everyone can use to bolster their mental health and increase their resiliency in the face of challenging situations. These practical tools include owning your feelings, finding the positive after loss, eliminating toxic influences, creating healthy routines, and supporting & connecting with others.

Certain people and situations in life can trigger us to feel badly about ourselves or engage in destructive behaviors.  Identifying the toxic influences in our lives and taking steps to create boundaries or a new life without them can improve mental and physical health over time.

Manipulation and controlling behaviors are dangerous traits of a toxic person. They may restrict you from talking with friends, family, neighbors, etc. and oftentimes twist your words to make you feel guilty to get their way.

Fact: Toxic friends are common. 84% of women and 75% of men report having a toxic friend at some point.

Think through ways to create healthy boundaries so you can get rid of toxic influences in your life.

  • What is the thing that you need to stop or get out of your life? (i.e. person, behavior, situation)
  • List desirable or healthy traits (i.e. I want someone who encourages me, someone who is patient)
  • List unclear traits (i.e. having fights where we yell, talking over each other)
  • List toxic or unacceptable traits (i.e. hitting each other, cussing at each other, name calling)
  • Confidence Building Questions
    • What can you say to give yourself a pep talk? (i.e. I deserve to have healthy relationships)
    • What can you say to the toxic influence to set boundaries? (i.e. It is not okay for us to do this.)
    • What can you do and say to reinforce your boundaries or create healthy distance? (i.e if you do (this) I am going to leave.)

Mental Health of America has created several handouts regarding practical tools to thrive when faced with difficult situations affecting your mental health. 

CLICK HERE for a PDF with additional information about Eliminating Toxic Influences

To learn more about this topic and other mental health awareness activities, visit Mental Health of America’s website.