Stay away from toxic thoughts

mental health productivity Jan 10, 2024
Stay away from toxic thoughts

In our modern society, too many people are more than happy to tell you what to think. Whether they tell you to think about conservative views or liberal ideas, the fact remains that any side can be toxic. It's become more relevant than ever to stay away from toxic thoughts. We'll be discussing how to do this today.

The methods we'll be covering are the following:

  • Stop ruminating on the unchangeable
  • Focus on the present
  • Be honest with yourself and others

Get Help if you Need it

Quick disclaimer, this is not meant to be a replacement for professional help. If you're in dire need of assistance, please seek comfort from someone you can trust or a certified professional.

Stop ruminating on the unchangeable

I remember when I used to overthink almost everything. It was horrible. I'd stress over things from the past that I couldn't stop cringing over and worry about things I thought would happen but never did. The result of this way of thinking was a lot of unnecessary stress and time wasted.

In this life, there's only so much that we can directly affect. Only so much we have control over and only so much we can safely manipulate.

Out of everything that we experience, why then do we choose to try and control that which has either already happened or hasn't happened yet?

When we spend energy ruminating on these things, we are wasting it. There's nothing we can do to change the past or predict the future.

The first and arguably most important step to staying away from toxic thoughts is to stop this waste of energy in the first place. So the solution is to change it from a waste to something productive.

Instead of endlessly ruminating, get constructive. Ask yourself what you did right, what you can improve at, and what your goals are for next time.

Right these things down, and then stop stressing over it. Once you have your way forward, there's no reason to be stressed.

If you find yourself still worrying over something after this process, then ask yourself why that thing still worries you and write down your answer. Repeat until you can relax entirely.

The first step to avoiding toxic thoughts is to staunch the flow. The main cause of this flow is needless stressing over the unchangeable.

Focusing on the present eliminates toxic thoughts

When I was in high school, we'd have these dances every so often and it was always the same deal. A bunch of students who were sociable enough would be dancing, while their friends they brought along were on the sidelines being awkward. I would've been another one of those awkward people if I kept overthinking about how others would perceive me.

The vast majority of the time, we stop ourselves from doing things because we're worried about what others might think. In other words, we worry about the consequences.

This mentality where we focus on the consequences of what we want to do leads us to analysis paralysis. Instead of this crippling state, focus more on what's happening right in front of you.

There's a reason why the most popular advice on approaching girls or having difficult conversations focuses on not hesitating. The more you hesitate, the deeper you sink into the mental quicksand.

Instead, you want to focus on the present moment which can be tricky. After all, one moment is all it takes for the present to become the past.

To steer clear of toxic thoughts, you need to take action as soon as possible. Instead of staring at that cute girl or thinking about having that difficult conversation, actually do something.

Take the first step. Start the conversation. It's scary at first because you're worried that the consequences will be worse than they actually are.

However, by taking action like this you will realize two things. First, there will always be consequences no matter what you do. And second, the consequences are never as bad as you think they will be.

By repeatedly taking action instead of allowing the present moment to become part of the past, you are conditioning yourself to avoid adding fuel to the fire of regret.

Be honest even if it hurts, and especially with yourself

I've always subscribed to the saying that honesty is the best policy. By being honest, nothing is left up for interpretation and all the facts from your side of the table are laid bare. Yes, be honest in a way that won't hurt them too much, but at the same time, it benefits nobody to sacrifice yourself.

Oftentimes, we fuck ourselves over by not taking the action we would have wanted to do. As the old saying goes, you either choose the pain of discipline or regret.

Most people these days choose the pain of regret simply because it's a lot easier. However, it comes at the price of a much less enjoyable future.

To avoid making your future harder than it needs to be, make sure you're being honest about what you want, not only to others but to yourself.


When we take action, we often look back at what we did and are glad that we did something rather than upset that we failed. It's normal not to get everything perfect, yet so many still expect to get it on their first try.

The problem that stops most people is they are hiding specific details. When you state things in no uncertain terms, then there's no way for things to be confused.

Toxic thoughts around our actions spring up when we believe that it's better not to cause any trouble. We believe that it's selfish to pursue what we want if it means causing trouble for someone else.

What many miss is that this line of thinking is also selfish. You are preserving what you believe to be peace at the cost of contentment.

Many people don't have the guts to be honest enough with themself about this. They aren't able to admit to themselves why they want something or why something scares them.

The result of this is they can't be honest with others when it matters. They let those important moments slip and they become mired in regret. 

As long as you are unable to admit to yourself these things, you will never have the peace you believe you are preserving unless you pay the price. And that price is never having full contentment.

The solution is simple yet requires you to put in the effort. You must ask yourself why you want this and why you're having such a hard time getting it.

When we face the music, we have the choice of being honest or preserving the peace. As long as you are unable to be honest, you will forever stay in that boat drifting down the stream to nowhere.

toxic thought is a modern plague

The modern world we live in is a place ripe for the spread of toxic mental patterns. Because so many people are connected, it's become easier than ever for one way of thinking to spread to so many around the globe.

To truly keep yourself clean, you need to ensure that what goes into your mind is congruent with what you want for yourself. This is why it's important to be able to admit to yourself what you want.

At the end of the day, toxicity can't be gotten rid of entirely. The best we can do is to free ourselves from it before we free those around us.

- Karl