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Toxic Stress: Stopping Your Self Love

As a child or younger person, you might have started a cycle that you never intended: You entered a toxic stress cycle and were unable to get out of it. 

Usually this cycle begins when someone needs to react in order to feel safe and loved within a toxic family system. a young person learns to react in similar ways that their parents react so that they can be accepted and have their needs met.

Unfortunately, this cycle can actually lead to other problems such as addiction, self-harm, increased sensitivity to stress, anxiety, and depression. Also, there tends to be an increased suffering tolerance that occurs, which means, you might be more willing to put up with situations that are harmful to your mental and sometimes physical health.

While other people walk out of situations that do not serve them at a faster pace, or see red flags and exit from toxic relationships quickly, you might put up with something longer because you do not realize that you actually CAN walk away. Here’s what a toxic cycle looks like:

Are You in This Cycle?

Notice that in this cycle, you might actually be a toxic person as well. When you start to live in this cycle, you can put others in the same position as you because now you have an increased sensitivity to stress. This means that you might lash out at others, use manipulation to control your environment, be passive aggressive to get your needs met, or worse, use self-harm or substance abuse to relieve your stress.

All of these things keep you stuck in the cycle of toxic stress and you will continue to suffer and decline. 

It is actually the suffering that pushes people to begin to break this type of cycle. This is where people begin to realized that they need to pursue a self love journey, even when they are not sure they are worthy of it.

Completing the Stress Cycle in a Healthy Way

One of the best presentations I have seen on completing the stress cycle was given by Dr. Eleonora Cahill of Resilient Futures. I have adapted their graphic below so that you can see how you might actually find healthier ways to complete your stress cycle:

In this version of the stress cycle, you can see that you need to find ways to feel safe in your body again after the stress you are facing is over. This helps you regulate your emotions. 

There are many different ways to complete the stress cycle. Here is a list that you can look at. You can decide which ways work best for you and your personality. Just make sure that you are choosing healthy releases so that you are not feeding your mind with continual negative thoughts and emotions. 

It Takes Time and Practice

There are so many pathways to help you break a toxic cycle. For me, I recognized that I was just not happy and really wanted happiness. This lead me to a book by the Dalai Lama called “The Art of Happiness.” 

That book lead me read about Buddhism, but also was the beginning of a study of self and self love through many different authors and thinkers. It took many years for me to understand that you really do have two minds, your conscious mind and your unconscious mind. 

It is your conscious mind that brought you to this article for relief from toxic stress and cycles. It is also this part of you that is your personality and the observer inside of you that knows, on a deep level, that there is more to life than this suffering. 

So sit down with yourself and have a conversation about the cycles you would like to break, and which steps you want to take. We offer a course called Techniques for Self Love, and that’s one step. But really, you have infinite choices and that is exciting!

Dr. Autumn Thomas

Resilient Futures is an organization dedicated to teaching others about trauma and how it can manifest in people’s lives (mostly students and teachers). They have taught me a ton about how to manage my own emotions when working with others. I fully promote them when I can and they are not an affiliate, so I do not gain financially from referring them.

Does an anger management program sound like the next step for you? Purchase our program here.

This blog may contain affiliate links, but I only link resources that I use myself.

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