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Health & Wellness

5 Toxic Behaviors You Need To Quit If You Want To Be Happy (+How To Do It!)

Written by Liz Brown

Are you sabotaging your own happiness without even knowing it? These not-so-obvious toxic behaviors may be to blame…

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There are a lot of factors that contribute to a person’s overall well-being and happiness. Of course, we all want to be happy, but did you know there are 5 not-so-obvious behavior traits that can actually add fuel to that “unhappiness fire”? 🔥

These toxic behaviors contribute to ongoing stress, depression, unfulfillment, and can even prevent you from going after the things that would otherwise bring you joy, happiness, and a sense of purpose! But don’t worry, today we’re going to help you learn how to change toxic behavior and invite positive change into your life!

how to change toxic behavior

What Is Toxic Behavior?

Toxic behaviors are personal behavior traits that are, you guessed it, toxic! They have a negative impact on your mindset and emotions, and do nothing but hold you back, drag you down, and prevent you from being truly happy.

The thing about toxic behaviors is that anyone can be affected by them. You can even be affected by someone else’s toxic behaviors the same way your own toxic behaviors can impact those around you. Have you ever been around someone who just has an aura of negativity around them? Or has a tendency to dampen the mood or be a real buzzkill? You know who I’m talking about… when you’re around that person you don’t “feel great”…

This could be something that happens on a regular basis or maybe it’s just a blip, but what’s important to remember is that you have the power to change your own toxic behaviors and walk away from the toxic behaviors of others.

5 Toxic Behaviors That Affect Your Happiness

These are the 5 most toxic behaviors that affect your well-being and happiness and how to quit them!

1. Negative Self-Talk

You’d be surprised how often people can talk themselves out of things that would ordinarily bring them joy and happiness. Negative self-talk is basically an inner dialogue you have with yourself that may not only be limiting your ability to believe in yourself and what you’re capable of accomplishing but prevents you from reaching your fullest potential. Consistent negative self-talk can cause you to make excuses as to why you can’t have the things you want in life—like getting your dream job or forgiving someone who hurt you.

How To Stop Negative Self-Talk

As cheesy as it sounds, the best and quickest way to stop negative self-talk is to flood your mind with positive thoughts about yourself and your goals. Positive affirmations are positive statements you tell yourself on a regular basis. The concept behind affirmations is the more you say positive things about yourself to yourself, the more you’ll eventually believe them and embody the affirmation in your day-to-day life (even if this takes some time). Here are a few positive affirmations to help boost your self-esteem:

This last affirmation brings me to the next toxic behavior…

2. Comparing Yourself To Others

In this day and age, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. How many times have you been sitting at home on a Friday night in the middle of a good “Friends” bender on Netflix and find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feeds?

Just as you’re about to pour yourself a third, or dare I say, fourth glass of pinot, Netflix kindly asks the dreaded question “Are you still watching.” At the exact moment, your feed is suddenly overpopulated with weight loss before and after photos, travel adventures, that blogger you follow with the picture-perfect home, your dream closet, and maybe even an engagement or pregnancy announcement or two…

Whenever this type of thing happens, suddenly everyone else’s highlights seem to outshine yours… and when you’re wearing old sweatpants and a shirt with an ice cream stain on it, you can’t help but make comparisons.

It happens to the best of us and it’s not a fun feeling. But, comparing yourself to others is the fastest way to believe a distorted reality and lower your self-esteem.  

How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

If you want to stop comparing yourself to others it’s important to work on your self-awareness. The more you know your true identity (and the more honest and comfortable you are with that truth), the easier it will be. Look at yourself objectively and take some time for self-reflection. Keep a journal to write down your thoughts and goals, and make it a point to remind yourself of those things daily.

how to stop comparing yourself to others

3. Participating In Drama

Drowning yourself in drama isn’t an activity only reserved for middle schoolers. Thanks to shows like “The Real Housewives,” we are all aware that drama can disrupt our lives at any age—and boy can it be, well, dramatic! 🎭

People who are prone to dramatic episodes often feel like the world is against them. When a deep-rooted or unresolved issue gets triggered, it’s common for people to project these issues onto others. But unfortunately, people can end up in the crossfire and it can stir up some drama. Sometimes drama is unavoidable and that’s pretty standard, but unnecessary drama can eventually take its toll on your health and your happiness.

How To Stop Participating In Drama

Bad habits like oversharing, gossiping, “stirring the pot,” hanging out with dramatic friends, and failing to improve your communication skills can often lead to drama. If you want to reduce the amount of drama in your life, working on these is a great place to start! Similarly, you should surround yourself with people who tend to avoid drama and keep a positive mindset. Remember, if the issue isn’t going to matter in 5 years, you shouldn’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset by it.

4. Seeking Validation From Others

A research study from University College London and Aarhus University in Denmark discovered that the area of our brains associated with reward is more active when others agree with and reinforce our own opinions. When we seek validation from other people, in a way, we are subconsciously hoping they will reinforce the things we want to hear. It makes us feel good! But what’s interesting is that oftentimes we seek validation for things we feel insecure about and may not believe ourselves.

Conversely, low self-esteem can be a contributing factor to this type of toxic behavior as well. It’s a sad truth to face, but when you don’t love a certain quality about yourself, you tend to seek love and validation from others in order to compensate for that lack of self-validation. People who have a habit of comparing themselves to others often struggle with low self-esteem and find themselves seeking validation on a regular basis. If you learn to love yourself, eventually the desire to seek validation from others will subside and you will be happy and content with yourself.

How To Stop Seeking Validation From Others

Love yourself and stop caring so much about what other people think! I know it’s probably a lot easier said than done but trust me when I say that it is possible.

how to stop seeking validation from others

5. Taking Things Personally

We’ve all done it at some point. Whether someone’s disrespected you, said something mean or hurtful to you, or even made a decision that negatively affected you somehow. It’s easy to take things personally when you feel like you’re a victim or object of someone else’s anger. But whatever the reason may be, if you take things personally you might have a tendency to overanalyze things. This can be emotionally draining, unnecessary, and cause you to question your self-esteem.  

How To Stop Taking Things Personally

A lot of the time, when we take things personally we’ve simply read too much into a situation. It’s very common for people to misjudge what someone meant when it’s entirely possible they had no intention of actually offending you. If you have a habit of taking things personally, here is a word to the wise—don’t jump to conclusions, stop thinking the world is out to get you, and know your worth. Again, it’s a lot easier said than done, but once you do it, people might not be as bad as you thought.

How To Change Toxic Behavior

Changing a toxic behavior isn’t easy. It takes a strong person to put their ego aside, take a long, hard look in the mirror, and be willing to admit they need to make some changes. If making a big change feels overwhelming for you, you can start making small changes that can have a big impact down the road.

Start with something that’s easy and attainable for you, like adding a superfood tea, like SkinnyFit Detox, into your daily routine. With just one cup per day, this powerful blend can actually help remove toxins from your body, boost your metabolism and energy levels, and even help improve digestion. When you take care and nourish your body, even with something as little as drinking a healing tea, not only do you feel better on the inside, but it manifests itself on the outside as well. And once you’re ready, changing toxic behaviors is next on your to-do list!

They might be difficult to let go at first, but trust me when I say that it will feel like a weight has been lifted once you do!

how to change toxic behavior

About The Author

Liz Brown

Fitness & Nutrition Expert (CPT., FNS.)

Liz is a health & wellness expert, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in the fitness & nutrition industry. She emphasizes research and simplifies complex topics to help make healthy living simple and sustainable. When she isn't researching and writing, she's sharing delicious recipes, easy DIYs, and home decor tips on her blog and social media.

More from Liz, visit: Personal Blog, TikTok, Instagram


  • NASM Certified Personal Trainer(since 2012)
  • NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (since 2014)
  • Credentialed Coach Practitioner, Coach Training Academy
  • B.A. Liberal Studies (Health & Nutrition Sciences)
  • A.A. Liberal Arts (STEM)

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