Opinion: Identifying and removing toxic relationships can benefit overall health


Shane Buchanan

Opinion: Toxic relationships can hinder mental well-being.

Have you ever gotten on Facebook and felt like the posts you were reading were just a variation of the same thing? A rant about the kids, a reminder there are still bad people in the world, or simply a post describing their most hated politician, and a heavily worded account of why you also shouldn’t like them? What about a friend that constantly one ups you or talks down to you about what seems to be every little thing?

I’m sure you have read plenty of columns, memes, and captions about how much social media and the people you keep closest to you affect your life. In these posts, they never really talk about why toxicity is bad, or how it affects you, just that its bad. As an advocate for mental health, I’m going to use this article as a jumping off point to just how much of an impact toxicity can have on your life and your emotional wellbeing.
Right off the bat, going off of research from Today.com, 84% of women and 75% of men said they have had a toxic friend at some point in their life. For a better perspective, 8/10 people would say they have had a close toxic relationship by the age of 60. These numbers are staggering when you consider the personal affects so much negativity can bring to someone. On top of this, most people don’t realize their friend or partner is toxic for them until the relationship is over. For your own personal analysis, be sure to try and take an un-biased stance of the relationship and think about how you feel when you know you’re about to see individuals.
Referenced above, It is frequently easier said than done to analyze these relationships. Sometimes it is our best friend, our boss, our roommate, our Mother-in-Law, or anyone else we keep close enough to have an effect on our lives and our perception of the world. Toxicity can frequently be found by asking yourself a few questions. does this person make you feel like you need to walk on eggshells when you’re around them? Do you feel like you need to look your best around them so you avoid an insult disguised as a joke? Do you feel tired or down after spending time with this person? Do you feel like they dull your passions or put you down for your beliefs? If the answer to any of these is yes, you might have a toxic relationship in your life.
So, now you know you have a toxic relationship, why does that matter? Healthy relationships have been shown across the world to have positive impacts on us, like boosted mood, lower stress levels, boosted creativity and longer lives. A study conducted in 2007 concludes the same for negative relationships, finding that over the course of 12 years individuals with unhealthy relationships were more likely to develop heart disease later in their life. The study also found that individuals with toxic relationships had decreases in their motivation, outlook on life, and sex drive.
In summary, as a group of intelligent people living amongst one another, removing toxicity from our lives can have incredible affects on our lives. You might feel more empowered to write a book, buy that new shirt, or leave the house without makeup. Live your life for you, and remove anyone that is detrimental to your path. Spread love among one another and share this with your friends!
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