7 Toxic Habits That Drain Energy and Hold You Back

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There are several toxic habits we need to quit today. The unhealthy habits we will be talking about today can prevent you from succeeding in life and are enough to drain your energy, making you tired and much less productive in life.

Here are seven toxic habits and how to quit them.

1. Always Trying to Please Others

When you find yourself always trying to please others, it can become draining both physically and mentally. Many of us are guilty of this and have done it at some point, whether it was our parents, teachers, spouse, or boss. When you constantly try to get into everyone’s good graces to make them happy, you ultimately limit your happiness.

Being kind and helpful is good for maintaining relationships, but you don’t want to constantly seek approval. In doing so, you neglect your own needs and can experience chronic stress.

To break this toxic habit:

To break these toxic habits, you must learn your limits and establish clear boundaries with those in your life. Communication is a big part of this.

Relationships should be give and take. If you don’t feel that your relationships are like this, it is time to walk away.

Set healthy boundaries. Make a list of everything you currently do that makes you unhappy. Once you recognize this, you can start being true to yourself without always feeling the need to please everyone else.

2. Being Too Self-Critical

Criticizing yourself and being too judgmental of yourself all the time can prove exhausting. This toxic habit can also create feelings of unworthiness and more negative self talk. How will you become energized and happy with yourself when you can’t see anything positive?

To break this toxic habit:

To break this toxic habit and eliminate negative self talk, start practicing self-compassion and make it a daily habit. Learn how to love yourself and encourage yourself. This way, you can find happiness, celebrate each win, and be kind to yourself when there is a defeat or failure.

Finding personal spirituality is another way to find a sense of peace and balance between your life’s emotional, physical, and social aspects. Personal spirituality can not only help you stop being too self-critical, but it can also enhance personal growth and improve your relationships.

3. Holding Onto Your Anger

Anger can help us feel less vulnerable but holding onto anger doesn’t make the pain go away. It can ultimately consume you as you spiral out of control. It can also make you operate at a much higher stress level, which can affect your physical health and well-being.

In his traditional wisdom, Siddhartha Buddha said, “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

How to break this toxic habit:

Energize yourself by letting go of anger and walking away from toxic people. Take deep breaths, recite a mantra you find comforting and that encourages you to dispel negative emotion, express your frustration and resentment, and defuse your anger with humor.

4. Overthinking and Worrying

When you try to predict the future, you will start overthinking, and this can cause a mountain of worry. You end up expending all the energy you have reserved, trying to control how things will turn out.

Most of the time, the negative things we worry about are beyond our control, so overthinking and worrying proves futile. It makes you feel restless, helpless, anxious, and depressed.

How to break this toxic habit:

Since you can’t achieve anything by overthinking, it is time to quit this bad habit. Recognize that some things are out of your control and instead focus on the things you can control. This helps you reclaim your power and energy.

5. Too Much Social Media

How often do you find yourself jumping onto your social media accounts? Social media has the power to alter our moods and deplete our energy. While some of the information you come across can inspire you and make you smile, you will undoubtedly come across information that can prove depressing.

Seeing people on your feed more successful than you or families on elaborate vacations can make you feel worse about your own situation, drain your energy, and make you feel unhappy with yourself and what you have in your life.

To break this toxic habit:

Stop scrolling. Focus more on yourself rather than your social media accounts. If it doesn’t make you happy or have a positive influence on your life, then it is time to take a break.

If you can’t completely stay off social media like most people today, try focusing only on parts that influence positivity and align with your personal goals.

Stop comparing yourself to others and build more meaningful relationships with those that make you happy. Focus on the little things that make you smile and improve your mental health.

6. Not Getting Adequate Sleep

Looking for more energy? Nothing is better for your body than a good night’s sleep. As you sleep, the body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. This helps your body prepare for a new day. However, many find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, whether it is due to disturbances or sleep deprivation.

Not enough sleep can result in a decline in your mental abilities and put your physical health at significant risk. If it continues, it can have long term effects, including weight gain and other health problems.

How to break this toxic habit:

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend at least seven hours of sleep per night for the best health and well-being. If you have trouble falling asleep, you need to look closely at your sleep patterns to see what you can do.

Avoid drinking coffee before bed and limit electronic use. Instead, it can help to journal and meditate. You can also find something to read or listen to an audiobook or podcast.

Related Reading: Also see our 8 Benefits of Listening to Podcasts to see how else podcasts are helpful.

7. Following an Unhealthy Diet

Another toxic habit you want to quit is following an unhealthy diet. A healthy diet can help you feel your best, improve energy levels, and enhance productivity. If you are tired and need a nap after consuming a meal, you may want to take a second look at what you are eating.

A healthier diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, lean meats, and healthy fats can increase energy naturally. These nutrients do so much more for your body than processed foods and junk that can spike your blood sugar, cause a temporary energy increase, and then a crash.

To break this toxic habit:

To break this bad habit and avoid weight gain, you need to start changing your eating habits. Avoid processed junk food, fill your diet with more nutritious food options, and participate in more physical activity. Make a healthy breakfast a part of your morning routine, and skip fast food.

Toxic Beliefs to Let Go Of

In addition to breaking bad and destructive habits, there are some negative and toxic beliefs you also want to eliminate from your life that can lead to bad relationships, chronic stress, and a negative outlook on ourselves and others.

Sometimes we are not even aware of these negative assumptions and values—yet they are shaping our lives day by day in unhealthy ways. They hold us back from reaching our potential, and prevent us from finding our happiness.

Here are seven toxic beliefs to let go of right now to move into your greater good.

1. History Always Repeats Itself

It’s understandable to assume that what you have experienced in the past is indicative of what you can expect in the future. It’s data, after all. Recognizing data and interpreting it is one of the basic gifts of human intelligence that helps us not to repeat mistakes. But often, we misinterpret data.

We pull it out of context and allow our emotions to cloud our perception. We don’t expect the good times to repeat themselves, but we expect the worst times to come back again and again like a bad penny.

This is also a toxic belief when it comes to our relationships. How often do you find yourself rehashing the same issues again and again with a girlfriend or boyfriend, a spouse, or a friend?

All too often, it is because we go into encounters expecting history to repeat. So we create a self-fulfilling prophecy, reliving the dramas of our past.

2. I Don’t Fit In Anywhere

How often do you hold back from sharing your gifts because you are convinced that you are just too different to fit in and that nobody wants them? This may be something else where you feel the past will reflect the future.

Maybe somebody didn’t accept you in the past at home or in school or at work. But that doesn’t mean that nobody will accept you now.

You may be different, but it could be that there is a community out there just waiting for you to add your uniqueness. You never know until you try. And if you do, you can be the one to start welcoming others who may feel that they are too different.

3. I Don’t Deserve Happiness

Just as many of us internalize the feeling that we are too different to be loved, some also internalize the belief that we do not deserve to be loved or happy. But if someone has told you that you do not deserve happiness, no matter their reason or who they are… they are wrong.

You are a special, wonderful person who has so much to give to others. If you are true to yourself and live from your heart, you deserve to be loved for who you are.

4. Jealousy Means My Relationship Is Strong

Everyone experiences at least the occasional bout of jealousy—jealousy is the fear we will lose something because of what somebody else has. And for many of us, it has a basis in previous experience.

But our contemporary culture tells us that jealousy is good and a sign that a relationship has a strong core—otherwise, you wouldn’t feel so passionately at the thought of losing someone.

Really, though, jealousy is a toxic belief that draws its fuel not from the strength in a relationship but from our own insecurities and weaknesses. Worse, it can lead to real damage in a relationship.

If you fear losing someone, it is a good idea to ask yourself why. Sometimes there is a real problem in the relationship you need to confront. Other times, you just have to confront the other toxic belief that you are not worthy of being loved. Either way, trust is what makes your relationship strong, not fear of loss.

5. Criticism Is Always Personal

It is hard to take criticism from a loved one or a total stranger. When someone criticizes us, it is easy to find ourselves on the defensive. This is because many of us have the deep-rooted belief that criticism is always personal.

Often, however, criticism has nothing to do with us. Sometimes the people who criticize us are really pointing at their own flaws. In many cases, there is transference going on. Your boss had a bad day, so he tells you you’re a bad employee. Your partner freaks out at something you said or did because her last boyfriend said or did something similar—without your good intentions.

You never know why someone else is really criticizing you or when that person is just going through a rough time. If you can keep from taking it personally, you can keep the situation from spiraling out of control. This also keeps you from constantly questioning your own self-worth!

6. Vulnerability Is a Weakness

This toxic belief stems from the fear that if we show who we truly are and walk out into the world with our hearts open and exposed, we will be attacked, condemned, or even destroyed.

There is such a thing as being too strong, though.

When we refuse to be vulnerable, we cut ourselves off from the possibility of being loved for who we truly are. So long as we keep our walls up, we keep our loved ones out. And when we do that, we can never find true happiness.

7. I’m Alone

When the ground is falling out beneath you, and you feel like you are in free fall, you may also feel like you are all alone in your struggles. Sometimes that is true—sometimes you really are alone.

But often, you are less alone than you feel. You never know who may be able to help you. Sometimes even a stranger can give you exactly what you need to take the next step forward and improve your situation. Don’t isolate yourself further by believing it is impossible! Reach out to others. You may be surprised who reaches back.

Can You Quit All Bad Habits at Once?

If all your bad habits go together, it can be easy to address them at the same time. For example, if quitting smoking is on your agenda along with drinking, these are two bad habits you can drop simultaneously.

However, it is also best to start out small when breaking bad habits and start with one thing at a time to not overwhelm yourself. Start by identifying your triggers and find ways to alter your current environment to encourage healthy habits.

How Long Do Bad Habits Take to Break?

Some outdated research has shown that breaking a bad habit can take between 18 and 254 days. Some believe it takes a minimum of 21 days.

And according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), pleasure-based habits are the hardest to break because these habits cause our brain to release dopamine, the feel-good hormone.

The time it takes comes down to you and what you are willing to do to quit the bad habits. You will undoubtedly encounter setbacks, but what matters is how you get up from these setbacks and move forward.

Break unhealthy habits by replacing them with healthy habits.

When you let go of these toxic beliefs and quit these 7 toxic habits that are holding you back from love and happiness, you can replace them with healthier beliefs and daily habits to help repair the damage to your heart. Then you can move forward into a brighter future!

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Natalie Seale

Natalie Seale is a writer and researcher with an MA, MSc, and PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh. Natalie is an avid reader, a keen traveller, and enjoys cooking and walking with her English Spaniel. Her posts focus on inspiring ideas and tips that help people learn, gro, and inspire others.

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