Few people like being alone, and even fewer want to be lonely. But while relationships are certainly a good thing in general, they don’t always work out the way we want them to—and sometimes our relationships can become draining rather than helping us grow, succeed, and be happy. As such, it’s important to recognize the signs of toxic relationships so that you can avoid them and stay healthy both mentally and physically. Here are some things to consider when thinking about your mental health and how it’s affected by your relationships.
Focused on Others
Staying focused on others is a big part of healthy relationships. We don’t always like to talk about it, but being in a relationship requires being selfless at times. It means putting aside your own needs to make someone else happy. If you find that you are having difficulty focusing on others, try volunteering as a way to help your mindset improve.
Focused on Self
When things don’t go your way, when you feel depressed or stressed out, it’s only natural to want someone there to comfort you. The trouble is that focusing on others will likely increase your stress levels (rather than decrease them). I like to think of it in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Once your basic needs are covered, then self-esteem can be built. The best way to do that is by improving yourself through self-reflection or meditation. These activities help you understand who you are and what makes you happy, which will ultimately make you a better partner. So while reaching out for support from loved ones is great, try not to rely on others too much—instead focus on yourself first!
Problem #1 – You Have the Wrong People in Your Life
Not everyone is a positive influence on your mental health. If you want to live a healthier life, you need to avoid negative relationships or people who bring you down. As important as it is to surround yourself with positive people, it’s also smart to cut ties with toxic individuals.
Problem #2 – Commitment Issues
Insecurity is all too common among people who suffer from mental health issues. No matter how much you love your partner, if you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s hard to allow yourself to be vulnerable. This creates a sense of resentment and anger, which can interfere with your relationship in many ways. For example, you might blame your significant other for things that aren’t their fault or become overly self-critical in front of them.
Problem #3 – No Balance in Life
Relationships can provide valuable social support, but when you’re stuck with only negative people in your life who drain your energy, you’ll only end up more stressed. If you have few close relationships, or if all of them are problematic in some way, your mental health will suffer. You should surround yourself with positive, healthy people who make you laugh—whether that be your family or a small group of friends.
Problem #4 – Not Enough Positive Emotions in Life
First, let’s start with some perspective. The main reason that you’re feeling down is likely because you’re focused on all of your troubles. Instead of thinking about how bad things are, turn your focus to positive emotions. It doesn’t matter if it’s something large or small—what matters is that it makes you happy and gives you hope for a better tomorrow.
Problem #5 – Perfectionism Leads to Procrastination
No one likes to fail, but as humans we can’t always predict outcomes. Sometimes there are forces beyond our control, such as illness or family problems. Whatever your circumstances, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for help from those who love you and respect you. Recognize that you don’t have to be perfect; no one is.
The Solution – Changing your Outlook
We all have things in our lives that stress us out. The difference between someone who is mentally healthy and one who struggles with mental illness is their ability to react to stressors. When something negative happens, do you internalize it or do you let it roll off your back? It may sound simple, but practicing positive thinking will change your outlook on life. This will make you more productive at work, give you better energy levels throughout your day, enhance your relationships at home and improve your overall sense of happiness.
Tips for Changing Your Outlook on Life
Instead of just thinking about how to stop being so sad, think about what you could do differently to make yourself happier. Instead of focusing on how much you hate your job, try looking for ways that you might enjoy it more. Instead of making excuses to avoid seeing friends or family, focus on ways that those relationships can help change your outlook on life.