We all have lots of positive and negative influences in our lives. This could be a person, a behavior, a thought… Anything that influences how you feel and how manageable your life feels.
We’d all like to have more positive influences, and less negative ones. But this is easier said than done. That’s because the same thing can have both positive and negative effects. Maybe someone gives you companionship, but they also say things that make you feel guilty or worthless. Maybe the things you say to yourself help you feel in control, but you also obsess over them. How can you figure out when the negatives outweigh the positives?
And what do you do once you decide something or someone is toxic to you? Setting boundaries and making changes is difficult, and sometimes we don’t have the confidence to take the leap.
This worksheet will help you work through the positive and negative aspects of the influences in your life. It will also help you build confidence to make positive changes that might be uncomfortable or difficult.
This worksheet is an excerpt from Mental Health America’s Mental Health Month 2020 Toolkit.
This worksheet is also available in Spanish.
Here’s a web-friendly version of the activity from the worksheet:
Identify toxic influences
- What is the thing that you need to stop or get out of your life?
- This can be a person, behavior, or situation.
- Example: “I want healthier relationships.”
- What is toxic or unacceptable about the thing you want to get rid of?
- Examples: “Hitting each other.” “Name calling.”
- What are some desirable or healthy alternatives?
- Examples: “I want someone who encourages me.” “I want someone who is patient.”
Build confidence to detoxify
- What can you say to give yourself a pep talk?
- Examples: “I deserve healthy relationships.” “I choose me.”
- What can you say to the toxic influence to set boundaries?
- Examples: “It’s not okay for us to do this.” “I want us to get better. Here is what is okay for you to do, and what is absolutely not okay.”
- What can you do and say to reinforce your boundaries or create healthy distance?
- Examples: “If you do _____, I’m going to leave.” “If you do ____, I’m going to walk out and take a break.”
Note: Your personal safety should be your highest priority. The whole point of detoxing your life is to keep yourself safe—but if you are trying to set boundaries with someone who you think might hurt you, it’s important to be careful. You can find resources to help you with this kind of situation in our article, What Is Abuse?