An environment where your work, personal relationships, atmosphere disrupt peace in your life, is toxic. Such an environment directly affects your mental health triggering a physical response called stress!
Do you know, a recent study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy USD 1 trillion each year as lost productivity. Ouch!
Imagine, a fresh graduate entering the workspace for the first time and facing a toxic environment. Not knowing about how to deal with an unhealthy workplace, makes him an ideal candidate for losing out his confidence, self-worth and self-esteem. But this does not mean experienced employees do not face this issue. It is all about figuring out the toxic environment and learning ways of dealing with it.
Why has the need for psychological analysis of the toxic environment arisen?
Throughout history, people had little need to manage their personal and professional lives – they were born into their stations in life. They relied on family, friends and professional peers to chart their career journey. But times have changed drastically.
Now, we have to develop the intellectual, emotional as well as cognitive excellence ourselves. We have to place ourselves where we can make a significant contribution to our society by being mentally alert and engaged, which means knowing how and when to change our lifestyle and career choices.
Small situations are becoming stress givers!!
In today’s fast-paced society, our lives have become chaotic and frenzied as everyone is chasing money, power and success. People are now dominated with beliefs of impulse, self-inflation, instant gratification and no control on first-line actions and reactions. “Do it now!” or “I want this now” are prized ideology of 21st-century human beings. Fueled by the omnipotence of such ideology humans, never find any reason to stop or slow down.
The result of such addiction is felt everywhere; we have discussed the toxic environment at the workplace here.
Think of the time when you feel nervous over something like your job interview, first presentation, or promotion interview day. Your sweaty palms, dry mouth or increased heartbeat, made you stressed out like anything.
But wait a minute! Aren’t these situations ordinary for stressing out?
Yes, they are! But, in the case of a toxic environment, these stress-initiated responses create long-term damage to the body.
Implications of living in a toxic environment for years:
A toxic environment will unceasingly keep you in tension mode, where your career choices and emotional balance is severely impacted. With a decline of self-worth, confidence and self-esteem, employees show poor leadership and dysfunction at the workplace. Slowly, they eventually reach a breaking point where they start resigning one by one. Even after having a good pay and significant benefits, the toxic environment becomes quite unbearable that nothing would have made it worth the cost to their self-worth.
Confidence is a feeling that strengthens one’s self-worth and self-esteem. It makes us believe that we can do something well or can succeed at something.
So, due to the toxic environment, once you lose the feeling that you can do something, it becomes tough to convince yourself that it is not. Why? Because you stop thinking upon all possible ways of doing something and all focus resorts contemplating about how worthless you are.
So, what can be done?
We all come down to a moment in life when we apprehend it’s time to cut ties with all negativity and revamp ourselves. It can come down to a realisation that we need to stay away from things which spreadspreads negativity. It is consequential to stay away from trash to save your mental health.
Toxic environment impacts personality
Human personality is quite receptive to nearby changes because of our mind and what we think. According to psychologists, a genuine transformation in belief is rare. Nothing can change your thinking if you do not want to, drastically affecting your personality. So, what is it that manipulates a belief-receptive mind?
To begin with, topsy-turvy life experience. Soldiers think a lot less about God while firing bullets. Also, a person thinks a lot less about being insouciant while walking alone back home.
Another reason can be the time of final decision-making that will change a life. During such time, people change their belief as they are confused, anxious and turbulent during certain decision-making and opportunity for a change.
Our mind is divided into two parts which are responsible for influencing our actions and reactions—subconscious mind, which runs 90% of our activities and Conscious mind, which trains our subconscious mind.
One more reason can be of finding oneself at the margins of society. The more vocal and potential belief has, the more probable that change in thinking will take place.
How people with atypical upbringing having strong beliefs respond to the toxic environment at the workplace?
- Developing a dominant personality and immature behaviour
- Making unconventional career choices
- Inculcating no confidence
- Imbuing insecurity
- Burgeoning issues with rising up in career ladder
Such workers tend to work with superiority, arrogance and conceit. They are aggressive, manipulative and disagreeable in personality traits. These people also show Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism.
Co-workers or leaders having these traits tend to see others as either their allies or foes. They feel threatened by talented workers and do their best to safeguard their position even risking the wellbeing of teammates. Moreover, you might be surprised to know that such people believe in coercing with reward and punishment methodology.
One workplace example can be of leaders isolating their subordinates to prevent them from bonding with each other, as it is seen as a potential threat for the future. Another example can be giving excessive praise or insulting badly in front of all other workers.
Do you know such psychological imbalance is not only restricted to the workplace but reaches to the house with the footsteps?
Suppose a child is exposed to some experiences as a part of his/her normal development dynamics. In that case, they tend to normalise it and develop plenty of unconscious biases towards that experience. These children grow up to replicate those experiences in their lives as adults. For example, young kids exposed to the gender-biased toxic environment at home internalised those experiences, and tend to repeat them as adults. Same is true with children exposed to the dominant personality and immature behaviour of their parents. Young kids tend to develop similar traits in themselves, mirroring such abnormal personalities. This cycle is called a food chain effect as each level/ generation is getting affected by the personality toxicity in one way or another.
What are the solutions?
It is crucial to figure out when and how the toxic environment is affecting your personality. Also, how negative vibe is reaching the house, to the young kids. Keeping an eye on your way of thinking and pondering before you talk can really help with building a rational mind.
Let us talk about a few methods you can follow:
This activity is quite prevalent among people these days, as it reduces stress and anxiety. Also, it enhances offline social actions and interactions. Moreover, it reconnects you with your environment and family.
What is it?
Digital detox is a duration where a person refrains from using any sort of electronic device.
Reprogram your subconscious mind with conscious efforts:
The subconscious mind stores all information like a sponge. Every time someone calls you stupid, lazy or worthless, subconscious mind stock up the information for future reference.
Has it ever happened that you tried to do something new or good but kept sabotaging yourself every time at work? Think of some examples and write them all down.
It is crucial to understand that you are not defective, but your subconscious mind conflicts your actions.
The good news is that you can reframe your subconscious mind with good memories. How?
Reduce the extent of negativity around yourself. You cannot control the thinking and behaviour of others but can of yourself. So, keep your focus on you and protect your mental health.
Imagine positive life experiences:
Our subconscious mind drastically depends on images and pictures. If you think about positive and empowering life experiences, it will positively impact your subconscious mind.
Few things you might want to imagine:
- Beautiful relationships
- Healthy workplace
- Your dreams
Indulging in positive affirmations:
Try calling up your feelings out loud and wording them in the present tense. The wording usage and saying out loud: ‘I am a failure’, ‘I am wealthy’ or ‘I am confident’ can really help with accepting your current situation.
Altering your brainwaves through music and audio programs:
There are five categories which affect human brainwaves. They are:
- Gamma when occupied in some motor functions
- Beta when conscious and actively concentrating
- Alpha when relaxed
- Theta when tired or sleepy
- Delta when in deep sleep
So, when you need to be relaxed, you need to trigger the alpha state.
Now before taking any final decision, learn how to make one!
Maslow in 1943 came up with a five-staged pyramid model which suggested that suggest deficiency of some needs left people unmotivated and prone to no confidence, self-esteem and self-worth issues.
This pyramid works bottom to top, where each need must be filled to reach the tip. It is essential to understand that the foundation that foundation of psychological needs is basic needs. Once, basic needs are fulfilled only then they can help you with achieving the psychological needs and above.
Try relating this pyramid with your life situations and then take one decision.
Conclusively, after living in a toxic environment for quite some time, it is not easy to rebound to conventional living. Take this situation similar to a bad breakup, where it takes time to start living a happy life again. But nothing is impossible if there is determination. Save your mental health at all costs by taking worthy decisions.