8 Common Signs Of A Toxic Person or Narcissist.

(image: Unsplash: Kelly Sikkema)

Self-awareness is one of the most important things we can have as individuals. How we view ourselves, our relationships with others, and our environment are all critical aspects of how we interact with the world. However, it’s not always easy to recognise which people in our lives might not be so friendly. People who display certain qualities may seem nice on the surface, but underneath can be unkind, self-centered, or even toxic.

They can also be so because they possess certain traits that might make them difficult to get along with. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, a team player, or a loner, you’ll probably encounter someone who doesn’t mesh well with others from time to time. You may wonder, “How does a narcissist react when they can’t control you?” While it’s challenging to pick up on a narcissist or a toxic person immediately, here are some ways to help you identify the warning signs of a toxic person so that you can steer clear of them in the future.

Too Assertive

While assertiveness isn’t wrong, too much can cause issues. Assertive people are not afraid to take control of their lives and their surroundings. Instead, they want the power to make decisions and express themselves. They don’t like being treated as though they’re weak or insignificant or any other sort of negative adjective.

They want to feel like the most important person in the room and that people listen to them when they speak. While assertiveness is a positive trait, it can shift into a negative one if expressed too aggressively or excessively. While this is a toxic trait, it doesn’t mean someone is inherently toxic just by having this trait alone.

Too Much Negativity

It can be hard to just unwind if you’re around someone that’s too negative. Everyone has had experience with negative people online, but having to have a relationship with someone negative can raise some alarm bells. When you do share your opinion, many people disagree with you and make your life difficult by leaving nasty comments.

It’s not good to deal with when someone constantly belittles or puts down others around them. This can be done by saying negative things about people behind their backs, making fun of them, or even physically hurting them. If you don’t want to deal with this negativity all day, it may be time for you to stop sharing your opinions.

Lack of Boundaries

One of the most obvious signs of a toxic person is when they start talking about political topics knowing that it’s not appropriate. This may be a sign that they’re looking for validation. If you’re not interested in what they have to say, it’s best to change the subject or walk away from the conversation. They might also feel threatened by you being open-minded and not having opinions on everything they believe in. Toxic people are often judgmental and don’t care about your feelings. They will attack your beliefs without realising how their words can hurt you.

Too Entitled

People often associate arrogance with toxic people, but many arrogant people feel entitled. They feel they are owed more than they’ve given, and they can be demanding regarding things like dates, friendships, or relationships. This trait is related to low self-esteem as the person who is arrogant and entitled might also struggle with their sense of self-worth.

Toxic people who are entitled might also be difficult for someone who wants a lot out of life or has yet to find their place in society. In these cases, the narcissist could become frustrated and lash out at those around them because they can’t understand why the other person isn’t either completely submissive or completely indulgent towards them in all circumstances.

Too Defensive

Everyone has their reasons for wanting to be defensive; this is completely normal and even acceptable. However, this can be a toxic trait if it occurs too much. Sometimes, light banter can be fun, and someone shouldn’t be defensive then. But even if someone is giving their opinion and someone else becomes defensive, then this could lean towards toxic behaviour. However, this can vary based on the situation.

Lack of Respect

Toxic people tend to consider your needs and expectations an offense or challenge to their self-esteem. They will lash out in anger or manipulate you into believing you’re responsible for them feeling bad. In reality, they cannot provide the respect and attention you need. This can cause frustration and resentment on your part. On the other hand, people willing to listen and respond appropriately will be more willing to meet your needs without criticising or judging them in return.

Constant Behavioral Changes

One of the most common traits is when someone’s behaviour is erratic, unpredictable, and often always changing. They might be jealous, demeaning, or unreliable. Someone who’s toxic will act a certain way towards you one day and completely change their behaviour the next day.

High Ego

A high ego is usually matched up with a narcissist, but keep in mind that not all toxic people or toxic traits are going to equate to this immediately. However, having too high of ego can indeed be a negative thing. They have an inflated sense of who they are as well as what they can do for you. They might also try to constantly tell you how to live your life and interfere with your decisions. They may always look out for themselves before anyone else in regard to everything from work to relationships.

Toxic people can be hard to spot. They can be easy to find in a friend, colleague, or even a romantic partner. However, if you’re unsure hopefully this article will help you spot a narcissist or toxic individual.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

How To Stay Emotionally Healthy During A Divorce: by Lizzie Weakley

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When you are in the midst of getting divorced, you may be surprised at just how much it will drain you emotionally. Whether you have been married only a short period of time or perhaps for decades, knowing you will soon be divorced can be a scary thought that may leave you very depressed, which can result in you making poor decisions as your divorce moves forward. If you want to emerge from your divorce with some emotional health, here are some steps you should take along the way.

Don’t Stay Isolated

As your divorce process moves forward, don’t make the mistake of staying isolated. Instead, stay in touch with your family and friends. If your social network is now cut in half due to your divorce, make new friends by perhaps attending church/synagogue or learning a new hobby- whatever feels right for you.

Don’t Blame Yourself

When couples divorce, it is not unusual for one spouse to blame themselves for the marriage breaking up. Even though there is usually fault to be found on both sides in most divorces, this does not mean you should continually beat yourself up emotionally day after day about your marriage ending. Instead, you need to accept that it happened, plan your future, and try to move forward as best you can. You should reach for support if you need it.

Write Down Your Thoughts

During your divorce, you will be having plenty of meetings with your divorce lawyers and others as well. Needless to say, you may feel a bit drained at the end of the day. If you have plenty of thoughts running through your mind, take some time to write them down in a journal. By having the chance to express your innermost thoughts in this manner, it can be a great way to relieve stress and keep your emotions in balance. Another option would be to talk about your feelings with a therapist when you are ready.

Take Care of Yourself

Last but not least, taking care of yourself physically will play a big role in keeping you feeling ok emotionally. Therefore, you should eat healthily, exercise regularly, and treat yourself to something special now and then, such as dinner at your favourite restaurant, a relaxing vacation, or getting pampered at a day spa. By doing so, you will find many things that were eating away at you will suddenly not seem nearly as important. Self care is vital in the aftermath of a relationship breakdown.

Though you may wonder what the future will hold for you after your divorce is final, looking after yourself and your mental health will pave the way for a new chapter in your life.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer, based in the USA.

Surviving Trauma Makes Relationships Difficult. Self Compassion Can Help: by Taylor Blanchard

(image: Unsplash)

You sabotage your relationships when things feel too calm.

You panic when your partner goes on a family vacation, believing that they’re leaving you forever.

Perhaps you can’t stand hugs or gentle touch.

Maybe you’ve wondered to yourself: “What in the world is wrong with me?! Am I just not cut out to have close friends or a romantic relationship?”

Actually, that’s not the case! You deserve close relationships– everyone does. If you resonate with these scenarios, though, you may have some unprocessed trauma– and that trauma may be making your relationships feel like a rusty, ungreased wheel.

You’re not alone. Here’s how trauma can blow our relationships off-course, and also, how self-compassion can help to ease that struggle.

Trauma Creates Hypervigilance

Trauma is any incident that overwhelms your ability to cope (abuse, neglect, or surviving a natural disaster, just to name a few examples). These abhorrent experiences cause our brains and bodies to swirl with cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.

After a seriously traumatic event (or relationship or childhood), our cortisol levels don’t always return to baseline. Often, the nervous system creates a new baseline of heightened stress response. In short: you don’t go back to being as calm as you were before the storm. Now, you’re hypervigilant all the time. You’re always stressed, always scanning for the next attack.

Unfortunately, relationships can’t be created without vulnerability, and vulnerability can’t happen if you’re constantly scanning for attack.

You might be hypervigilant in your relationships if:

  • You feel uncomfortable, fidgety, and unsafe during social situations
  • You constantly micro-analyse everything other people say to make sure they’re not going to hurt you
  • You constantly micro-analyse everything you say to make sure you don’t say anything “wrong”

Aversion to Intimacy

Trauma, and the excess cortisol it triggers, also creates an aversion to physical closeness. When we’re stressed  (i.e., when our cortisol is on full blast), our nervous systems naturally resist being touched.

Do you find yourself shrinking away from hugs? Do you feel an urge to run away when someone gently touches your arm? That’s likely a trauma response.

Of course, if you’ve experienced assault or physical or sexual abuse, this is a double whammy. Since your trauma came from physical touch, your brain has registered any physical touch as dangerous– on top of your increased baseline level of cortisol. Of course you’d feel sick at the thought of a hug! If this sounds like you, go extra easy on yourself if you struggle with relationships; this struggle isn’t your fault.

So, This Sucks… How in the World Do I Heal?

Yes, it sounds bleak. If this is you, you may feel hopeless. I’m with you; I’ve been there. It’s not hopeless, though. This is healable.

Therapy: Do I Even Have to Say It?

Yes, healing this will probably require trauma-informed therapy. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can begin to shift once you see a therapist who validates your traumatic experiences.

Here’s a hint: Psychology Today’s find-a-therapist tool can help you easily find a trauma-informed therapist. (Make sure to select “trauma focused” under the “types of therapy” menu.)

Now That That’s Out of the Way: Self-Compassion Comes Next

I’m 100% serious when I tell you: you deserve to go easy on yourself.

I say this with firmness, and yet, I forget to go easy on myself most days. Regardless, it helps immensely to stop comparing your relationships to other people’s relationships (both friendships and romantic relationships!).

Yes, it may likely take you longer to learn how to develop lasting relationships, both friendly and intimate. It may seem unfair that making and keeping tons of friends, as well as a life partner, comes so easily to some, while you’re struggling to simply text one person back.

Know what? It is unfair. You shouldn’t have gone through the trauma that you went through. What this means, though, is that you can recognize that you face more relational setbacks than someone who didn’t suffer the same trauma as you did. You’re starting further behind with a ball and chain tied to both feet.

Thus: you can stop comparing, and you can stop feeling like you’re “behind” somehow. Always try to recognize even your tiniest victories, even and especially the challenges which seem “easy” to other people.

Wrapping Up

Relationships make our lives juicy and sparkly, and so, if trauma has impacted your ability to form relationships (I’m with you!), then you’re probably struggling.

Try your best to go easy on yourself. You’ve been through a slog of painful experiences that, unfortunately, can make life on Earth feel like walking straight uphill all the time. Therapy helps. Self-compassion helps.

And yes, I know it’s tiring, but there is help for you out there. Just keep going.


Taylor Blanchard is a freelance mental health and wellness writer for hire. Her lived experience and extensive knowledge on mental health, emotional wellness, and spirituality guide her to create deep, compassionate blog posts, which she hopes will help people to feel less alone in the world. Self-care for Taylor looks like staring at the sky, drinking cacao while listening to metal, or cuddling with her rescue Pitbull mix.

Building Trust in a Relationship: Steps You Can Take

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In a relationship, distrust may spread like flames in an inferno if not carefully contained. Trust, from both sides, is the very foundation of a relationship, and if that is broken, it can be very difficult to stay on an even keel. Here, we look at how you can build trust in a relationship and fix it if it is broken. 

#1 Be open about how you feel and express your vulnerability

If you require reassurance from your partner, and are in a safe, healthy relationship, express your need for it. Tell them if you are experiencing feelings of insecurity. Engage them in getting to know you, how they make you feel, and how you would like to make them feel as well. Be honest with yourself and with them about your goals, anxieties, and ambitions.

#2 Give your partner the benefit of the doubt and assume their intentions are good

They may not have done it on purpose – people make mistakes all the time, and they may not have meant to upset you. Do not automatically assume that they are trying to upset you; it is acceptable to raise concerns about their motives, but be open to the possibility that they made a minor mistake.

#3 Communicate and talk through your issues

Spend some time each day checking in with one another and talking through any problems that you have. It is easier to deal with problems when they are smaller rather than letting them build into something bigger. Approach it from the ‘I’ rather than the ‘you’. 

#4 Recognise that the past may influence how you feel

Consider the following: Is your lack of trust a result of your partner’s actions, your own fears, or a combination of the two? Always be on the lookout for unsolved issues from your previous relationships that may be causing mistrust in the present. If it is something that your partner has done in the past, perhaps cheating, for example, consider talking to an infidelity therapist to help both of you come to terms with the issues and overcome them. 

#5 Listen to your partner and their perspective

Take a look from their perspective. Ask them how they feel and how did they perceive this situation? What are their thoughts on the situation? What emotions did it elicit in them? What was their personal reaction to this? Sometimes looking at it from their perspective and considering their feelings can help you to deal with the problem more objectively. 

#6 Trust your gut feelings

There is an awful lot to be said about trusting our gut instincts and paying attention to red flags that pop up. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, pay attention and do not let it fester. If you do not deal with it, it will continue to grow and destroy the relationship. There could be a simple explanation, or your feelings might be completely right. Either way, confirmation is always better. 

Trust is the very fundamental of a relationship. Without it, there can be no relationship. Work through these tips and you will be able to build the trust that you have.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

How to Keep Your Children in Mind during a Divorce by Brooke Chaplan

(image: Ben Wicks at Unsplash)

When your marriage ends in divorce, you will be faced with some tough decisions that will affect you and your children for years to come (including your mental health). These include issues like how much time each parent will spend with the children, how child support payments will be made, and whether you should try to share legal custody of your kids with your ex. However, deciding the logistics of custody is only one part of protecting your children during divorce. Read on for four ways to keep your kids in mind during your divorce.

1. Strengthen Your Communication Skills

Studies show that kids who maintain close relationships with both parents after a divorce are less likely to develop behavioural problems. In addition, they are more likely to do better in school, have positive mental health and lead happier lives. While there’s no way you can guarantee how involved your ex will be in your child’s life, you can work toward keeping lines of communication open. If your family is struggling with these issues or others related to divorce, seek out counselling through community resources. Most importantly, try to remember that you’re not alone in all of it; many families face similar challenges after a divorce.

2. Work With a Child Custody Lawyer

Child custody laws vary from country to country and you may be able to find a local lawyer who specialises in child custody law. A child custody lawyer can represent your interests and work with judges to advocate for what’s best for your children. If you can’t afford a private attorney, check out legal aid resources in your area or government-sponsored websites. You can also reach out to domestic violence groups in your community as they often provide pro bono legal advice for clients in domestic violence shelters.

3. Remind Your Children You Care

As you’re navigating a divorce with children, your main priority is keeping your kids safe and secure. That means keeping them happy, healthy, and loved. Remind your kids regularly that they will always have parents who love them deeply.

If possible in your situation, continue to include your ex in some family activities so they can see how much you love each other as co-parents. Then reassure them again how happy their lives are going to be even though their family has changed.

4. Help Them Trust You

Trusting parents after a divorce is something many kids struggle with. If children don’t trust their parents, they can turn to less trustworthy sources for answers and may even distrust future relationships. Teach your children that the divorce is not their fault, but that it does mean changes are on their way. While you don’t know what the future holds, make an effort to always be open and honest with your kids throughout the whole process.

When it comes to children, parents should always put their best interests first, especially amid divorce proceedings. These four steps will help you protect your children as you navigate your divorce.

This article was written by freelance writer Brooke Chaplan, who is based in the USA.

6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Guest blog by Jess Levine

(image: Unsplash)

A new bundle of joy in the family is indeed a happy addition. While welcoming a new baby is a joyous event, new mothers also have a lot of things to keep in mind. Not to mention, mothers have to make huge adjustments in their routines, schedules, and even hobbies just to make time for the baby. 

New mothers are also recommended to get enough rest. However, with an infant to care for, most mothers would not even have much time for themselves. And that’s where fathers should step up. 

New mothers need both physical assistance and emotional support. Baby care and household chores are part of physical assistance. Emotional support can be done in various ways. But letting new mothers have a day for themselves is more than enough. Caring for a baby could get exhausting, and having a self-care day can help mothers refresh and recharge themselves after a gruelling week.

Fathers, or partners, can always help in both aspects. But aside from simply volunteering to change diapers and give bottled milk, here are some more ways to assist new mothers: 

  1. Have Your Fair Share Of Chores

This is one of the main things that partners can do to help eliminate the stress and burden of new mothers. Most of the time, your wife may not be able to wash the dishes or mop the floors because she needs to attend to the baby. 

So, why not volunteer to do the dishes every night? Or help with the laundry each week during your day off? Helping around the house will definitely lessen the physical stress for new moms. Offering to disinfect or sterilise the baby’s things is also a great idea. The extra time they get can be spent resting or bonding with the baby.

  1. Cook or Order Takeout (takeaway)

Just like household chores, cooking also takes time. Most new moms don’t even have the time to think about meal prep or planning. So, might as well just take things into your own hands! You can volunteer to either prepare breakfast or cook dinner so your partner can get more sleep. If you’re working long hours and there’s not much time for you to prepare dinner at night, then offer to order takeout instead. 

  1. Offer A Spa or Massage Day

New mothers direly need, and would highly appreciate, a self-care day. Sending them off to a spa or massage session would definitely lift up their mood and calm their mind. Doing this at least once a month can help improve their mental and emotional state. Mothers need a break from all that baby care too! But make sure to have someone reliable enough to care for the baby while mom is away. You can volunteer to do it yourself but if you need to take care of work or other errands, then you may hire a nanny or leave the baby with grandparents or a trusted family member for the day.

If it’s not possible for you or your wife to go out to a spa or massage service, then you can book a home service instead. You can also plan and prepare a homemade bubble bath that your wife can soak and relax in!

  1. (image: unsplash).
  2. Avoid Adding More Pressure

New mothers might be overly conscious and anxious that they aren’t doing a great job with the baby and the house. On your part, you must also understand that they cannot fulfill household duties 100% all the time, since they also have a baby to care for. 

So, if you see that the kitchen is not clean, floors are dirty and unswept, and the laundry is already piling up, don’t take it out on her. Instead, ask her which task she may need help with and communicate how you can work together to make sure that basic household duties are still maintained while also caring for the baby.

Appreciate What She Does

New mothers are always overwhelmed, but a simple appreciation will make them feel happier and secured. Many new moms are always thinking that they aren’t doing a good job (even if they are). So, don’t forget to remind them that they are doing great and that you appreciate everything she does for the house and the baby. Most of all, it’s best to remind them that as long as the baby is happy and healthy, then they’re doing more than a good job already.

Encourage Social Interaction

The mental and emotional stress that new mothers feel is sometimes caused by being cooped up in the house for too long. While she can spend more time bonding with the baby and communicating with you, remember that a healthy adult also needs a well-rounded social relationship. 

So, encourage your wife to go out and see her friends over coffee sometimes! Recommend a mom group in your area that she may be interested in, or if your wife thinks she should see a therapist to help with postpartum depression or anxiety, then help her book a session.

A new mother would usually insist on being more hands on with her baby, and this is not a surprise, since it is just part of human nature. However, it does not mean that they don’t need the help and support from others—especially from a partner. 

Assisting a new mother would not take much time, a simple gesture and moment of appreciation can already do wonders. However, it’s important to also help them with physical tasks to ease their stress and burden. Most of all, it’s important to do these things consistently.

Author’s Bio:

Jess Levine is an experienced writer who loves creating articles that can benefit others. She has worked as a freelance writer in the past making informative articles and fascinating stories. She has extensive knowledge in a variety of fields such as healthcare, technology, business, finance, marketing, personal development, and more.

Check out her company here: https://www.spacetobeyou.com/

5 Ways a Relationship can Hurt your Mental Health by Miranda Davis

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The Adverse affects of relationships on mental health

Relationships have the power to affect mental health negatively. If you don’t know how they can affect you, it’ll be hard to lay down a great foundation to ensure you don’t fall victim. Take a step to lay down the rules for a positive relationship.

What if we told you that your relationships have the power to affect mental health? It’s true; your relationship status can affect mental health. But, finding out how relationships affect mental health isn’t a simple mathematical equation. There’s a lot more that has to go into it, and to be honest, it’s complicated. 

Relationships Have The Power To Affect Your Mental Health

Fact: We all desire to have real connections through stable, long-term relationships with our “ideal partners.” Whether you meet a potential partner after checking out the best dating sites review or through a mutual friend doesn’t matter. What we think about most is the optimism and the excitement we feel once we click with someone else. We never stop to consider what can affect the mental health of the people in a relationship.

Unfortunately, even the most glamorous relationships come with associated risks and can affect mental health. To affect mental health positively, there have to be some previously laid out rules that lay the groundwork for a great relationship.

Without knowing what these boundaries are and the risks associated with a relationship, we are prone to unknowingly affect our mental health. So, what relationship factors affect mental health negatively? Read on to find out.


Lack Of Sex Can Increase Stress Levels
Well, well, this shouldn’t be so surprising. If you’re wondering, “can loneliness affect your mental health?” here’s your answer. When you have an intimate partner within your vicinity, chances are, you will have frequent sex. The bonds created during the act of bonding are so outstanding that they have the power to affect your mental health. 

Frequent sex can lead to greater satisfaction with your relationship. If there’s less sex, then other aspects of the relationship are affected too. The less sex you have, the more prone you are to affect mental health.

Stress levels will soar, and you’re more likely to exaggerate aspects such as financial disagreements, responsibilities over chores, and parenting disputes. While there may be other underlying issues, lack of sex and intimacy is an undeniable factor that can affect both partners’ mental health.

Relationship Difficulties Can Cause Anxiety

Whenever couples are having relationship difficulties, there’s bound to be full-blown anxiety. Unfortunately, the converse is also true. Anxiety can lead to marital problems. Surprisingly, some research suggests that marriage can protect you against anxiety. Confusing, right?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. For marital issues to affect mental health negatively to the point that they cause anxiety, there have to be underlying issues that aren’t resolved. Problem-solving in a relationship has to be done in a way that allows both parties to express their feelings to deal with matters conclusively.

Once an issue is dealt with, both parties become anxiety-free and display better mental health. On the other hand, married people have potential “shoulders to cry on,” and this kind of emotional support is a great way to affect mental health positively.

Sleeping Problems

Unless your partner snores and keeps you awake through the night, sleeping next to them can help you fully relax during the night. But it isn’t that simple. If there are conflicts or insecurities in the relationship, you will have a more inadequate sleep because of thinking through issues during the night.

This, in turn, escalates problems such as insomnia or daytime fatigue. As a result, there’s a vicious cycle with leeway to affect the mental health of both parties negatively.


Social Pursuits Affect Mental Health

Many people wonder, “why does quarantine affect mental health?.” Couples in healthy relationships have to socialise. Socialising is a great way to boost mental health positively. Leisure time may include meeting family and friends, visiting their favorite restaurant together, or even spending the weekend sampling the latest nightclubs.

However, since there are limited opportunities to get so involved during quarantine, spending more and more time without socialising with other people can take a toll on the relationship. When couples spend time socialising, there’s more opportunity to improve their mental health positively.

Since humans are social creatures, we feel better when we make connections with others. But, even this shouldn’t be excessive. Too much can result in alcohol dependency and self-destructive behavior, which has the potential to affect mental health negatively.


Toxic Relationships Can Lead To Physiological “Fight Or Flight” Responses

Toxic relationships can lead to physiological responses that may urge you to either run from the stressor or fight it. These are common reactions that stem from mental, physical, or emotional abuse. Regardless of the stressor we face, we condition our minds to respond. These kinds of reactions leave us feeling drained and have the potential to create poor mental health. 

Conclusion

Whether we like it or not, relationships can affect mental health either positively or negatively. Their effects are worse if they’re negative. To ensure that relationships don’t have a platform to affect mental health negatively, you have to take the necessary precautions to safeguard yourself against negative repercussions.

What do you think is the COVID effect on mental health? What precautions would you put in place to protect your health?

Author’s bio:  

Miranda Davis is a freelance writer in the relation and psychology area. Miranda is interested in such topics as building healthy relationships between people, love/sex compatibility, and how to find the right balance in life in general. She is currently doing specific research on the topic. Miranda loves cooking and long-distance walking.




How to deal with a Breakup when you have OCD: Guest blog by Brooke Chaplan

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Your OCD symptoms may be triggered by situations that feel out of your control, and breakups can easily throw your life into a tailspin. On top of dealing with the hurt that comes with ending a relationship, you may also be dealing with serious anxiety about what your future holds. This is especially true if you find yourself blaming yourself for your flaws and inadequacies and holding yourself solely responsible for the breakup. These tips will help you begin to heal by dealing with your breakup in healthy ways that allow you to see this as an opportunity for growth.

Stick to Your Wellness Plan

The first thing that you need to do is practice self-care. Although your heart may be too broken to want to get out of bed, it is important to follow your normal daily routine. Exercise helps to release endorphins that make your symptoms more manageable. Eating a healthy diet also helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and OCD. Following your wellness plan sends signals to your brain that you will overcome this temporary life event. It’s important to know that while exercise and self-care will not cure either your mental illness or your broken heart, it will strengthen your body and give you the tools you need to handle the strain.

Seek Advice About the Future

When you have OCD, the realization that you have no idea of what will happen next can make your symptoms worse. Seeking relationship advice that addresses your current circumstances along with how they influence your future gives you a sense of control. Talk to a therapist, counselor, spiritual guide, religious leader, or family member. This advice can then be used to begin putting together a new life plan that helps you feel confident and mentally strong.

Find Healthy Distractions

Once you know that the future is bright, you can begin finding ways to overcome your pain in the present moment. Explore new hobbies and set goals that help you build for your better future while also avoiding the tendency to obsess over the past. Try taking a class or doing an activity that you’ve always wanted to explore. You’ll feel stronger and more excited about what the future has in store.

Take Note of Your Progress

During your breakup, you can expect to experience some high and low moments. When you feel down, try to recognize how much progress you’ve made. For instance, you might have made a new friend who helps you get through this rough patch. You might have managed to avoid checking your ex’s social media pages. These little signs of progress mean that you are moving forward, and recognizing them helps you see that the breakup truly is a chance to grow. Remember to not beat yourself up over slipping up. It is likely that an emotional moment like this could bring up past compulsions and obsessions you thought you had gotten over. This does not mean you have failed or somehow destroyed your past progress, because progress is not linear.

Your relationship might be over, but you can use this moment as an opportunity for personal growth. When you feel like your OCD symptoms are taking over, reach out to people who care. Soon, you’ll have this whole painful event behind you and be looking at the future with a positive perspective.

If you need further support, speak to your therapist doctor or psychiatrist.

 

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan