Being happy and healthy can be extremely difficult when you’re in a toxic environment. A toxic home can be a result of anything from an unhealthy relationship or negative work environment to self-esteem issues or a lack of self
It can sometimes be hard to recognize a toxic home when you’re in one, and even harder to remove yourself from that environment or change it to be positive. So what exactly is a toxic home, 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 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 home, you might be in a toxic environment.
Perhaps you go to work and are verbally abused by your boss. Or maybe your partner has a way of manipulating you at home and that lowers your self-esteem. You could even be creating a toxic environment for yourself at home by not keeping your space tidy, not making time to recycle and respect the planet, or not caring for yourself by sitting down to read a book with a cup of tea every now and then.
Realizing you’re in a toxic environment is the first step to dealing with the problem. The next step is learning why toxic environments are so detrimental to your health.
Why Toxic Environments Are Detrimental
Mental and emotional stresses often result in a physical response. Think of when you feel nervous for something like a job interview or a first date. Your palms might sweat, your heart might beat faster, and your mouth might feel dry. Physical bodily responses like these are often directly linked to a mental or emotional cause.
Physical responses to toxic environments or relationships are no different. According to The Guardian, “bodily responses to relationship conflict can cause long-term damage.” That’s right, your relationships could literally be making you sick. Your overall health, sex life, and risk for drug and alcohol abuse are all on the line when you prolong your exposure to a toxic environment or relationship.
When you feel unsatisfied or hurt by your environment and the behaviors 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.
Psychology Today notes, “many health-conscious people don’t realize that the quality of their relationships can be just as toxic to their health as fast food.” In America, there’s a tendency to treat physical problems as separate from mental ones, but a little digging reveals this to be untrue.
The two are inextricably tied. Placing yourself in a positive and supportive environment is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and wellbeing.
A toxic environment can even be detrimental to your sex life. Not only can the consequences of being in a toxic environment deplete your sex drive, but experiencing mental health issues is one of the top ten causes of erectile dysfunction.
Depression and anxiety are often linked to low sex drive and are also often caused in part by being in a toxic environment or relationship of some kind. It’s clear that toxicity can affect every area of your life — even the bedroom.
Drugs & Alcohol
The stresses of a toxic life can even lead someone to turn to drugs or alcohol to treat emotional, mental, and physical issues resulting from the toxic lifestyle or relationships. These remedies can be highly addictive and can result in a downward spiral in all aspects of your life.
Twenty-two percent of mental health cases have also been associated with substance abuse problems; it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re not putting yourself in an environment or relationship that adds stress and other negativity to your life.
If you constantly subject yourself to toxicity in the form of relationships, behaviors, and environments, the consequences can be dire.
How to Cleanse a Toxic Environment
You know what a toxic environment is and you’ve realized you’re in one — so 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 behavior and dwells in your home, then you’ll have some work to do because toxic behaviors have no place in your life. Toxic behaviors can include negative self-talk, comparing yourself to others, playing the victim, being selfish, and more. If you can work to make your own behaviors more positive and fulfilling, you’ll be rid of your toxicity in no time.
Your toxic environment also might be literally environmental. In that case, you may need to cleanse your home of negative energy. Removing clutter, letting more light inside, using essential oils, rearranging or redecorating, burning sage, 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 levels 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.