Toxic relationships can have long-lasting effects on both our mental and physical health. Studies show that being in an unhealthy relationship can cause chronic stress, which is usually pervasive enough to spill into all aspects of our lives, most importantly causing our mental health to decline. People in unhealthy relationships are also at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, due to the increase in blood pressure and cortisol levels associated with the stress. And even when one leaves a toxic relationship, effects such as low self-esteem and trust issues can persist.
To help if you happen to be dealing with these issues, we’ve provided a few pointers you can follow to rebuild yourself after a toxic relationship.
Don’t contact your partner
When relationships end, most of us desire closure — or a sense that our pain might find some sort of meaningful resolution. Some of us might seek apologies. Others might seek a change of mind. We want to smooth out that feeling of rejection, and so we look for ways to feel desired. However, most of the time, external forces won’t resolve our problems. The healing we seek has to come from within.
It’s especially important for us to step back and refrain from contacting our former partners. Particularly if we’re doing so in hopes that we’ll be met with apologies or renewed desire. Rejection will only sting worse. Instead of seeking closure in them, we need to re-evaluate our relationships with ourselves. We need to assess how their rejection affected our perception of ourselves and replace our thoughts with beliefs that are more positive and realistic.
Nurture Your Emotions
A culture of toxic positivity has taught us to ignore negative emotions in the name of keeping the peace. Unfortunately, this can lead to disastrous results. Emotions have a purpose; they remind us of how we want to be treated. We get upset when we lose things we value; we get angry when we recognize transgressions committed against us. These emotions aren’t wrong! What’s wrong is when we act on them in ways that are unhealthy for us and the people around us.
We can nurture emotions by talking about them with loved ones. We may journal about our current state of mind in order to better understand what we are feeling and which experiences have caused those feelings. Mindfulness meditation, which involves observing emotions and experiences without judgment, may also help in these situations.
Seek Professional Help
If managing mental health alone is difficult, it’s best to seek the opinion of someone qualified. Fortunately, in this regard, recent years and the advent of online higher education have brought about a surge in people emerging into fields like this one. This means greater availability of mental health caregivers. Professionals who have studied psychology or obtained degrees in human development specifically can apply their deep understanding of the human psyche and behavior to help us determine the best ways to cope. Mental health counselors can lend a non-judgmental listening ear while also providing strategies for managing difficult emotions. If the situation is severe, a psychiatrist can also prescribe medical interventions, such as mental health medications.
Spend time with yourself
Complex and emotionally draining relationships can cause us to have unbalanced perceptions of ourselves. We might believe that another person’s rejection makes us inherently undesirable. We might doubt ourselves. We might judge ourselves harshly for how we cope, for our negative emotions, or for even allowing a toxic relationship to have gone on. It’s important, then, for us to re-establish a positive relationship with ourselves.
We can do this by taking care of ourselves. We can start with simple acts: feeding ourselves with good food, adding exercise to our routines, etc. We can engage in creative hobbies, such as reading, drawing, or even journaling. The bottom line is that if we take the time to get to know what we like and what makes us happy, we can slowly improve our mental health.
Toxic relationships can have long-term effects on our mental well-being. But as long as we show ourselves compassion, we can build ourselves back up.
Written exclusively for mariesgold.com
By Anastacia Jace