How To Spot And Avoid Toxic Relationships In Our Millennial Society

How To Spot And Avoid Toxic Relationships In Our Millennial Society

We can't help who we love, but we can help ourselves and help the ones we love (see what I did there?).
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One major question people ask when they see loved ones in toxic relationships is: why do you stay? Why not just leave?

I have been both the girl that says out loud, “I would never stay with someone that treated me like that”, and the girl that thought internally, “I know I should leave, but I can’t help but stay.”

Why are unhealthy relationships the hardest to get over? How do your mind and body trick you into staying in a mentally or physically toxic relationship? There are many reasons and answers to these questions…but two major scenarios are usually applicable to all unhealthy relationships

1. The Gas Lighting Pill

The Gas Lighting Pill is a term usually for information or communication between two people that is toxic. You know the expression, "that’s a tough pill to swallow"…but you’re not actually taking medicine…you’re mentally digesting something that affects the way your mind is working either at that moment or forever.

Well, when in a toxic relationship, a major sign of mental abuse and manipulation is when one partner gaslights the other, and this is how it works: The toxic administer of the gaslighting will conjure up a group of false accusations, distortions, lies, minimization, etc. about the other individual and feed them into the argument as either a distraction or defense mechanism. Well, one might say…just don’t believe them.

If someone is telling another person lies that the receiver knows are not true, it’s just as simple as that. Right? Wrong. One thing that gas lighters know to do (either consciously or subconsciously) is to insert one piece of true information (usually something that the receiver is insecure about or something that is a sensitive topic for them) along with the rest of the manipulations in order to throw off the mind of the person that is being gaslighted.

2. Trauma Bonding

Trauma Bonding might sound romantic (and no, this isn’t the kind of bonding Nancy and Jonathan experience when they rescue Will from the upside down…that’s the good (and totally fictional) kind of bonding).

But, the reality of trauma bonding is that it is when one party (or both people in the relationship…this is very possible) is loyalty to the other party even though they are destructive or toxic. Gaslighting is an effective route for narcissists to take when attempting to chain their significant other with trauma bonding.

An atmosphere for trauma bonding involves a lot of intensity, complexity, and inconsistency. Having an interesting and complex conversation in a relationship is important and healthy. But do not confuse intellectualism with narcissistic manipulation.

There will be times when things seem "normal"...but if this "normalcy" is often broken by fits of rage, extreme argumentation, extreme name calling, fights that escalate to the point of major tears, loud voices, and extreme language, then the relationship is experiencing trauma bonding- and it can be one of the toughest relationships to exit.

Ways to tell if you are in a trauma bonded relationship are: if others (friends, family, co-workers) seem disturbed by the activity (abuse, behavior in general, communication) of your partner but you do not, if you feel stuck in the relationship (not moving forward, not moving backward, just stagnant), if you continue to have repetitive, damaging fights and one seems to “win” or there is no constructive outcome, being unable to detach yourself from that person even if you cannot trust them or don’t even really like who they are as a person, and when you try to leave and it affects your mind and psyche in a way that makes you want to numb the pain and go back to them.

With that last point (trying to leave and feeling like it affects your mind in a way that causes you to want to go back to that person) in mind, there is one final note to add in order to instill some hope with those who feel like they are stuck in a merry-go-round of bad, unpromising, toxic, tiring relationships.

Just like people detox their body from junk good, drinking too much, and just plain putting bad stuff in your body, your mind requires this same kind of detox. You might crave that junk food, you might want that cigarette, you might want that drug, you might want to text that ex, you might want to see that ex, you might want to do a lot of things you do not need to do.

But, detox your mind, share with your friends what your mental health goals are, and have them help you stay accountable for your actions and what is good for you.

You might also be helping the other person who was mentally or physically abusive to you by not allowing them to practice or continue the cycle of trauma and toxicity.

Detox your mind, body, and soul, and allow yourself to become a positive person who attracts other positive people in all areas of life- friendships, romantic relationships, work relationships, and familial relationships. Being aware is the first step.

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Meditation: The Good, The Bad, and The Benefits

Is meditation effective? Is it for me? Should I try it? If you want answers to these questions, they are right below.

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The definition of meditation is different for anyone that you ask, but overall, it is used to clear the brain of any negative thoughts and calm the body down. Many people do it before bed to improve sleep or when they wake up to start their day with a positive attitude. Many religions and cultures incorporate meditation in its practices because of the many healing properties it has.

However, even after being proved as beneficial many times, many people still see no point in meditation and many people believe there is no reason to do meditation in a private setting. However, the many benefits of meditation outweigh the negatives and I am here to hopefully persuade you into incorporating this into your daily schedule.

First, meditation reduces stress and controls anxiety. Stress reduction is the reason a lot of people start meditation. mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines. These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking. A type of meditation, called mindful meditation, can reduce the inflammation, which was proved by an 8-week study by ScienceDirect.com.

Research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia.

It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks, proven from that same 8 week study. It also helps control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. One study found that a meditation program reduced anxiety in a group of nurses.

Secondly, meditation promotes emotional health. Some forms of mediation can lead to an improved sense of self and a more positive outlook on life. One study shows that symptoms of depression had decreased in adults when they incorporated meditation into their daily schedule by John Hopkins University researchers.

The inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines that we talked about before can affect mood, which lead to depression. Like we said earlier, these cytokines were reduced due to mediation. As I said before, meditation aims to get rid of negative thoughts in the brain in that period that you are doing it, but when you aren't it helps you recognize those thoughts and get rid of them in a healthy way. Meditation is important in practice, but it helps a lot in your day to day life.

Many people believe that meditation is pointless and there is no tangible evidence that supports the physiological benefits of meditation, however, I know it has changed my life and has made me a lot more of an optimist and I hope that this helped you into trying out meditation and hopefully incorporate it into your life.

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