Updated Version

There’s a strong possibility that there’s something in your life you would like to change and toxic distractions get in the way of that.

We all would like to have everything we want in life.  Preferably this very minute. Right?

Sadly, life doesn’t work that way.

Life never offers us what we want, because it can’t. It can only offer us who we are.

Which means everything that’s happening within us is what requires our attention most. We have to be careful of the words we whisper to ourselves, the assumptions we make about us and others and the attitude we bring to every situation we encounter.

In other words we have to move away from the outer physical world which relentlessly streams information to us and spend more time consciously being aware of what’s going on within.

The first one is easily done.  Turn everything off. Turn off your notifications, email, facebook, twitter, etc and stop checking your cell phone every 5 minutes.  Easy.

It’s the more subtle inner distractions that grab our attention and play havoc with our ability to concentrate our energy on our best future.

If you’re ready to stop your toxic mental distractions from getting in the way of what you want in life, it doesn’t take much.

What is needed is the desire for change, the awareness of the toxic distractions that get in your way and the discipline to practice new ways of being until you get the results you want. If you already know what you want, apart from wanting to eliminate toxic distractions, then you’re off to a good start.

Instead, most of us don’t have a clue and have no idea what we truly want.

But we could begin with the thing that will motivate us to do what we need to do to have what we want to have.

Sometimes, we just need to take time to reflect on what it is that really matters most, and one way of identifying that is to think about what is missing from our life and what will motivate us to make the changes we need.

‘I think motivation is yearning combined with a belief in what’s possible for you,’ says US life coach Martha Beck.

In short, learning what really motivates you can be the catalyst for ridding yourself of toxic distractions that stop you getting what you want.

Distraction one – mental clutter

Mental clutter is as big a distraction as physical clutter. Both create disharmony in your life. When we have something on our minds that we decide is important, our mind does what it’s designed to do to keep things vital to us at the forefront of our thinking.  It simply plays out the important ideas in an unending, often times, stressful loop.

One thing that helps me with mental clutter is to put everything I WANT to do on my calendar and it gets clear pretty soon that there isn’t enough time for all the wants, leaving me to have to choose the things I NEED to do. 

Once you see your calendar has everything that needs to be done, your brain will relax knowing the important things are being handled, leaving you free to practice new ways of thinking to support you in the results that lead you to a happier, more fulling life, with fewer toxic distractions.

Distraction two – negativity and poison

Don’t allow those who spread negativity and misery to be front and center in your life. They’ll suck the spirit right out of you and distract you from focusing your thoughts on all the things you want to accomplish and to experience.

Those who would dump their criticism and resentment on to you don’t deserve a place in your world. 

Gravitate towards those who offer you support and encouragement and turn the volume down on those who would rain on your parade. Only you can stop giving so much power to those who doubt you. Only you can rise above words that will poison and diminish your spirit.

And only you can choose to keep the negative voices at bay and let the supportive voices in.

Remember to leave enough room in your life for those who would help you reach the mountain top, those who believe in you and those who show you the greatness in you when it’s hard to see it for yourself.

Distraction three – grudges

Life is too short for a lifetime grudge and we, none of us, have the time to hold on to past experiences that continue to poison our hearts.

I’ve held on to grudges far too long and to moments in life that were long gone, yet they continued to be a distraction in my life. Which needless to say didn’t give me peace, or happiness. It wasn’t until I took an inventory of what could be considered a toxic distraction that I noticed these ‘could have’ or ‘should have’ elements that nurtured nothing and spoiled everything.

Sometimes we just need to accept that we’ll never get the apology we think we deserve.

Peace of mind can’t exist when a heart is filled with resentment or anger, so do yourself a favor and let it go and then you can escape the prison of the past and enjoy the present and that brilliant future that might just be waiting for you to let go of what cannot get you there.

This gives you time to take a breath and relax enough for something new to enter your consciousness and you can use that mental energy to move you forward.

Distraction four – seeking happiness outside of yourself

Your happiness lies in your hands only. If you’re not happy with how you see yourself, change it. Don’t look for others for your happiness.

Realize that somewhere within you is a huge supply of happiness, always there, patiently waiting for you to reach out and grab it.  It’s yours for the asking. And you ask by giving it your attention.

Having a happy relationship with you is the only way you can share happiness with another.

Make yourself a priority and remember the longest relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself. Make it great.The most liberating and empowering time of your life might well be the day you free yourself from this self-destructive nonsense that your happiness is dependent on what others say or do.

Distraction five – the worry habit

Worry is using the incredible gift of your imagination to infuse life into something you never want to see in your world.  It’s one of the biggest distractions of all.

Worry is like a false alarm that rings when there isn’t a fire in sight, other than the fire you’re creating in your mind.

Look back and you’ll often see that all the things you worried about have been handled and often they led you to being a stronger person, in a better place.

So smile and tell your worries you’ve had it with them, and don’t allow your mind to get you tangled up in the mental tricks it likes to play.

Over to you…

What’s your biggest toxic distraction? And what helps you switch your attitude from negative to positive when those distractions are  stressful and painful?  We would  love to hear from you in the comments below with your thoughts and insights.

Encourage one another.

Love Elle



Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. Very interesting, Elle. I can happily say I’ve tackled some of these distractions like worry and seeking happiness outside myself. My challenge, at the moment, is to declutter my mind as you suggest. I love the idea of putting everything in my calendar. I always feel better when it’s in one single place. However, I have trouble being consistent with this, that’s where my growth edge is. At the moment, I’m decluttering physical and I think that will have a positive impact too.

    • I know what you mean Sandra. I find physical clutter doesn’t feel good and I can only stand it for so long! How great that some of those inner distractions are now no longer distractions in your world. So much more peaceful. And easier to keep your focus on higher things. 🙂

  2. I find mental clutter really contributes to many of the others, such as worry. When I have a system, or a plan, in place, and a way of capturing what I have going on, I find it easier to focus on the now (I used David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ in a modified version for this).

    • Hello Ellen…I have David Allen’s book too…just not been very good at implemented some of his suggestions. I’m glad they work for you through your own unique filter…that’s always the way to do it isn’t it? Take some techniques and turn them into your own. 🙂

  3. Sandy Couture

    Well written advice. You are wonderful at articulating universal truths! Thank you.

    • Hi Sandy, I’m so happy you took the time to stop by and am glad you enjoyed the article. Hope to see you again soon. 🙂

  4. Thanks for this helpful list and explanations, Elle. I don’t feel I’m very distracted at the moment. Oh, but I have been in the past. If anything, I’m too focused. Not really worried – yet. Being focused is my way of distracting myself (from anxiety and fear), I guess. 🙂

    • Now that’s interesting Debbie. Focus sounds like a great way to stop the distractions. I must confess I have to turn everything off and just have the one thing in front of me that needs my attention, otherwise I find myself flitting! And if focus keeps fear out of the way, what a great benefit for you. 🙂

  5. Great suggestions here, Elle. I appreciate the idea of decluttering. It has helped me immensely through the years to keep things on a calendar. I’ve even gone back to a paper planner which I like better.

    The worry habit can be a major distraction, however I do like your suggestions. Another thing that works is to set aside a short period of time for worry and then let it go the rest of the day.

    • Hi Cathy…Now you have me wondering if I should go back to a paper planner calendar…I’m not certain I really like all the notifications that pop up when I’m doing something…I’m pretty easily distracted! 🙂

  6. Joseph Appaloosa

    I don’t know how you do it Elle, but once again your timing is impeccable.
    Distraction # 2 – “negativity and poison” , was the focus of a conversation a trusted friend and I had not even 4 days ago. I was describing a situation and he stopped me mid-sentence to say ” Joseph, you have to cut this off and get rid of that client, he will suck the life right out of you”. And now YOU with almost the same words . . . Alright, I’m listening !
    Write on, Elle !

    • As always, it’s good to hear from you Joseph. It seems like you’re getting the same message from different sources. The question is, are you listening? 🙂

  7. Beautiful post Elle. I think worrying too much is what affects me the most, especially with my children. So whenever I start worrying about them , i try to focus on the positive side of every situation and just give my full trust and confidence that they will always be safe and will always make the right decisions. Thanks for sharing. Great Read. 🙂 love it.

    • I know just what you mean Sherill…it’s so easy as a parent to get caught up in our fears and desires for the children. How awesome that you can move into the place of ‘knowing’ that they will be well. What a wonderful gift you’re giving them. 🙂

  8. Samuel Caverly

    Hi Elle, I read this article and at the first headline I thought you would talk about physical clutter. I remember that when I was younger I felt the need to clean everything around me, because I felt that otherwise I couldn’t concentrate. I was being unproductive just by doing this. You are also right about the mental clutter. You start thinking about different stuff and it gets to you. Everything about planning, time setting, deadlines might be also stressful and unproductive. Being positive is the best option, but sometimes you just can’t. It’s how life is

    • Hi Samuel…funny, I still need to keep my physical space relatively uncluttered…otherwise it feels totally disharmonious and uncomfortable. Mental clutter is probably a precursor to physical clutter…so keeping a handle on them both is what works in my life. Interestingly enough I have a new post with a new perspective on stress which I’ll post later this week. Stay tuned! 🙂

  9. Love this article Elle, I worry a lot about everything, as you rightly said “Worry is like a false alarm that rings when there isn’t a fire in sight”. Now I don’t worry much because when I look back I see all things I worried about was well handled. Thanks.

  10. There’s a lot of truth in this article. I’m very good with not holding grudges, and quite good at not letting the negativity of others poison me. What I’m often struggling with is worrying and refusing to accept my current situation. I know these bad habits are not helping me advance, and are in fact holding me,back,but sometimes I can’t stop myself. I now can shine a light on my negativity, and tell myself that I’m being negative, instead of just going with it, but I’ve yet to make it dissolve and vanish. How do you non-worriers do this?

    • Gunnar…if you haven’t yet ‘Liked’ my facebook Page, Live Purposefully Now I would suggest you take a look. You’ll find a lot of encouragement and wise words to support you. 🙂

  11. One thing that I discovered is that one can never be sure that the person you just met is a negative until you have gotten close enough.
    But once you do, make sure to kick the person away.

  12. ramazan asgarli

    Hello! I would like to subscribe, but dont know how? thanks

    • Hi Ramazan, there is a popup on the website that allows you to sign up…welcome to the community. 🙂

  13. What an nice and informative articles .It gives me a lot of new ideas .
    I also written an article similar to this topic .
    Which will definitely help .

  14. Towannie Armstrong

    People refusing to respect you space.
    My roommate is toxic for my well been and I’ve explained that to him but he don’t care.

    I heal my mind better living alone.

    • Hi Towannie – it’s good you have boundaries around those who would fill your world with toxic energy. I wish you every success in your mental healing.

  15. Keyonna Divine

    This is a good article. Love it. Some things that I hadn’t thought of. Thank you.

    • Hi Keyonna, glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for stopping by and letting me know.

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