Last week, I wrote about the ONE THING missing in EXTRAORDINARY relationships … toxic deposits and toxic dumps. I provided a free download about what those are, and how to remove them from your relationships. (It will be available again at the end of this article, in case you missed it last week!)

Today I wanted to write about what precedes these toxic deposits and dumps, and how we can eliminate them.

Toxic deposits and toxic dumps in our relationships (whether in intimate relationships, relationships with friends or family, and in professional relationships) don’t just pop out of us. They are ALWAYS, 100% of the time, preceded by a toxic thought. We are not able to use “ALWAYS” in many circumstances, but this is TRULY an ALWAYS!

So it’s critical, if we are to be EXTRAORDINARY as we were created to be, that we look at TOXIC THOUGHTS and do something about them!

Let me create a backdrop for this. I love studying neuropsychology, and neuroplasticity (the study of how our brains are quite malleable, and we have the ability to change, or retrain, our brains dramatically. These new fields have shown us that we truly do form our day-to-day lives and our destinies in our brains!

Can we change circumstances or “stuff” that happens to us? NO! Of course not! But we CAN CHANGE HOW WE ALLOW THEM TO EFFECT/AFFECT US!

So much goes on in our brains … thoughts form, words follow. Then we make judgments and decisions. All of those things affect every relationship we have, and literally, the structure of our brains change as a result of how we choose to behave (or remain paralyzed), words we choose speak (or not speak), and the decisions we make (whether wise or toxic).

Recent studies have shown us that our brains are not created with the ability to process “toxic” thoughts. Let me define toxic thoughts: anything that is negative or that would bring harm to ourselves or others. (Including anything from the thought of “that’s ridiculous” when hearing an opinion opposed to ours … to the thought of “wishing someone would have horrible things happen to them.”

Our brains are simply not wired to process those thoughts. Therefore, their presence for longer than about 60 seconds creates a cascade of chaos in the brain trying to manage the negative input. However, since we are not wired for this, the body immediately launches the adrenalin system, and catapults itself into fight or flight. This cascade of chaos has long-term impacts on our mental and physical health. These cascades of chaos from negative/toxic thoughts occur multiple times a day, an hour, or even multiple times in a minute.


Our brains are perfectly wired to handle positive thoughts of loving, kindness, and good; things that are empowering. Wonderful things happen at the cellular/nerve level in the brain when we have positive thoughts. I always say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think these two photos say best what occurs in our brains:

Photo of a healthy thought at the nerve/cell level

Photo of a toxic/negative thought at the nerve/cell level

We can train our brains to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. It requires about 21 days of intense focus on our thought processes. Sadly, we spend more time managing our social media accounts or watching various series on Netflix than we do in managing our thoughts! (And research strongly suggests that both of those activities have a tendency to feed the “negative/toxic thought monster!”)

One recent study that followed people who were willing to focus on their thought processes for 21 days and replace negative/ toxic thoughts with positive thoughts reported the following results:

“Significantly less anxiety and depression, and significantly greater self-control, savoring, compassion, love, contentment, joy, gratitude, self-esteem, self-compassion, satisfaction with life, and overall happiness.”

I know when I first studied about retraining my brain and my thought processes, it felt quite daunting. But reading the results of studies, like the quote above, inspired me to begin the process of “detoxifying my brain.” AND I WAS SERIOUSLY INSPIRED WHEN I REALIZED THAT 75-98% OF ALL MENTAL AND PHYSICAL ILLNESS IS ATTRIBUTED TO NEGATIVE/TOXIC THOUGHTS BEING INVITED AND ALLOWED TO TAKE UP REAL ESTATE IN MY BRAIN AT MY OWN INVITATION!

It really did not require a graduate school course on neuroscience for that to make sense!

There are many formal programs for detoxifying your brain and your thoughts. I started with a very simple process and committed to it for 21 days. By day 12 or 13, I could feel a difference in my energy levels. I noticed myself smiling and laughing more, and I felt a significant increase in my self-confidence and value.

Find one of those programs and invest in it. Or you may download the personal exercise where I started my journey for FREE! I wish you great health and much happiness!

Just a PS on EXTRAORDINARY relationships to follow up on last week’s post: “EXTRAORDINARY Relationships … Are Missing One Thing … No Toxic Deposits!” 

Relationship researchers have found that couples with happy, fulfilling, passionate relationships give at least 5X more positive input to their partners than “negative/toxic” input. We used to say, offer any concerns in a “complement sandwich.” (Give a complement, express your concern, then give another complement). Now we realize that is far too little. My challenge to you this week is this … make note of how much positive input you invest into your relationship. None of us can do this perfectly, but if you are investing less than 5X more in positives in relation to your “less than your best moments” … you are actively doing damage to your relationship. 

Make many positive investments into your relationship daily. Simple things, such as:

·      Expressing gratitude to your partner

·      Giving an unexpected long, sincere hug

·      Sending a text stating how much they mean to you for no reason at all

·      Plan an unexpected outing (go for a walk at the fair and watch people try to win stuffed animals)

·      Give a gentle neck rub when your partner is stressed

·      Prepare a special meal and serve it with candlelight for no occasion at all

·      Run some errands for them

·      Ask them how you can make their day better

·      Put their towel in the dryer while they are in the shower, and wrap them in a warm towel when they step out

·      Pick some flowers and put them in a Dixie cup and leave a note telling them how much you love them

·      Send a little gift to them at work for no reason

There are many to choose from. And by the way, the “big things” … like planning a surprise vacation, are awesome, but they are not nearly as effective as the small, but consistent, day-to-day investments. 

Not only that, but the little investments require less effort and energy than harboring negative thoughts, or going into a “funk” over your partner’s imperfections. And they actually reverse some of the negative health effects imposed by negative/toxic thoughts!