On Mental Toxicity
Look on the bright side. Stay positive. Keep your head up. Think good thoughts: We’re all familiar with these mind-numbing clichés, right? And we’ve probably all responded to a “Look on the bright side!” with an angry retort. #eyeroll
Here at the S.W. office (as I’m sure has been happening in your office too lately) we’ve been noticing more and more just how much of our headspace is occupied by this sour election season, continuing national tragedies, and an increasingly cruel national discourse marked by bullying and judgment and prejudice.
Recent research by Psychology Today indicates that up to 70% of our “mental chatter” is negative. (70%!) Which, to us, feels about right. And that’s not without consequences. Scientific studies are increasingly pointing to a mind-body connection that links positivity with longevity and overall wellness. One study shows that metastatic breast cancer patients saw longer survival rates with a decrease in depression symptoms. Other research illustrates that chronic stress can debilitate your immune system and, in some cases, contribute to the development of cancer. Even in the world of skincare, conditions like psoriasis have been linked to depression. So we have validation that good thoughts can actually encourage good health.
But there’s a lot more to positive thinking than that.
The simple act of choosing to reduce toxic thoughts and boost happy ones literally saved my family. When I was kid, we lost my brother to a terminal illness. I’ve asked my mom how she and my dad survived (and continue to survive) the loss of Jeff, managing to keep our grieving family from falling apart, and she told me, in earnest, that they just began counting their blessings. She explained that if they had focused on the negative, they actually wouldn’t have been able to carry on. So they focused on the positive and, little by little, life came back.
So I’m a firm believer in the power of positivity. It carried my family through our darkest moment, and it’s for this reason that the rest of the S.W. team and I are calling on you all to join us this month in making a concentrated effort to eliminate toxic thoughts. Even if it’s just for a day, just for a moment, let’s all take the time to count our blessings, look on the bright side, and stay positive against all odds. Let’s be that cliché and become healthier and happier for it.
We know it’s hard, but you’ll have us there with you: Follow along on social media (@swbasicsofbk) and feel free to send us your candid (and hopefully positive!) thoughts over to firstname.lastname@example.org.