How Toxic Relationships  Affect Your Mental and  Physical Well-Being

We live in a health-conscious world these days. There is a lot of hype around eating the proper diet, practicing self-care, exercising, and a whole host of other things we do to keep our bodies, mentally and physically, in top shape. But there is one thing that goes vastly overlooked—even by those most attuned to their body’s needs. It’s our relationships. 

It is rare to hear people talk about a toxic relationship and how it is affecting their health. But they should be. Toxic relationships can have a huge

negative impact on our well-being, causing stress, anxiety, depression, and can even result in medical problems. In fact, a long-term study showed that those in a toxic relationship were are a higher risk for heart problems, including fatal heart attacks than those who weren’t.

Are You In a Toxic Relationship?

Toxic relationships can take many forms, whether it’s with a friend, partner, parent, child, sibling, or coworker. These harmful relationships can come in many varieties and it might be hard to identify at first. 

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if your relationship is a toxic one: 

• Do you feel content or even energized when you’re with the person? Or do you feel drained and unfulfilled? 

• Do you feel physically and emotionally safe with this person? Do you ever feel threatened or endangered? 

• After spending time with this person, do you feel better or worse about yourself? 

• Is your relationship defined by trust, security, and contentment? Or is it defined by drama and anger? 

• Do you feel there is equal “give and take,” or do you feel like you are always giving and the other person is always taking? 

• Do you feel like you need to change around this person to make them happy? Or are they happy with who you naturally are? 

Every relationship will have some conflict and won’t always be easy, but healthy, nontoxic relationships are centered around mutual sharing, respect, and compassion. 

Toxic relationships, however, are centered around jealousy, control, selfishness, negativity, and an abuse of power. 

You Don’t Need to Stay in a Toxic  Relationship

No one ever wants to subject themselves to a bad relationship. But it can be hard to identify just how toxic your relationship is, and it can be even harder to let it go. 

Why? Because we try to avoid conflict. Most of us would rather subject ourselves to something uncomfortable than deal with the confrontation of stopping it. 

But you deserve better You should never sacrifice yourself for someone who is not serving your needs. Every healthy relationship requires effort from both parties, and the end result of that effort should be felt by both parties. You shouldn’t be straining to change yourself, watch what you say, and constantly live in fear that something might set the other person off.

Toxic Relationships Take a Toll on  Your Health

Being in a constant state of stress and anxiety severely impacts your mental and physical health. Clarissa Silva a behavioral scientist and relationship coach states that “Settling for a toxic relationship creates a false sense of intimacy, hope, trust, and disillusionment in the relationship. Over time and because these feelings are often unexpressed, [ a toxic relationship] can result in creating anxiety, and/or depression, which can manifest themselves as other chronic illnesses further down the line.” 

When you experience high levels of stress on a consistent basis this does several things to your brain and your body. 

The most common ways prolonged stress manifests is through headaches, poor sleep, upset stomach, and skin issues. Stressed people often have shoulder, neck and back pain. 

This physical manifestation of muscle pain is a direct result of what happens in our brain when we are under stress. 

Prolonged stress alters the effectiveness of cortisol, which regulates the inflammatory response because it decreases tissue sensitivity to the hormone. Pain is regulated by the nervous system, pain signals enter your

brain and your brain tries to block those signals. But when you’re stressed your brain’s ability to filter those signals is affected, and pain can increase. This can lead to chronic pain. The link between toxic relationships and physical and mental health problems are very real. But there is hope. If you think you might be in a toxic relationship, start by answering the questions above and begin the process of changing your mindset and saying goodbye to your toxic counterpart. You deserve to be treated with respect and compassion.

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