Over the past several years, I’ve made consistent attempts to remove stress from my life. The enemy of my thoughts refuted everything that would produce joy. Daily I contributed hearty helpings of negativity. I spoke hope and despair while sharing delicate details of my life with individuals who could care less about my well-being. I was weighed down by opposition; I wasted gifts, talents, and lived a complacent lifestyle. Thankfully, I’m able to prune those annoying weeds and identify them as negative thoughts, unhealthy habits, polluted words, and toxic people. Pruning old weeds can become tedious, but in order to have a productive life, free of stress, it’s a necessity.

The Horsetail weed is every gardener’s nightmare. Its roots are deeper than most, said to grow as long as 32 feet long, becoming very obnoxious. Master gardeners dig deep to extricate it or they approach a process called, “loping,” to cut the roots head off. Negative words and thoughts that linger over time cause issues like Horsetail roots. Familiarity settles in and after a while, other areas are affected. Eventually, consistent excuses are made, thoughts run rampant and words are blurted carelessly. Get rid of them once and for all by identifying the weed and destroying its root.

Weed: Negative thoughts. Polluted words.

1. “I knew that it wasn’t going to happen, so I don’t know why I was hoping for it.”

2. “Good things happen to others but never to me.”

3. “Everyone is out to get me.

4. “I’m fat and ugly.”

5. “I know that my husband/wife or significant other is cheating on me.”

6. “I can never win, because I’m always losing.”

7. “I can’t afford to do anything nice for myself because I’m always broke.”

Pruning process: Journal your thoughts. Seeing your thoughts on paper and reading them aloud will give you a clear perspective. Scratch out the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. On a daily basis, look in the mirror, and with an optimistic attitude, affirm words of adoration. Put sticky notes with positive saying around your home. Guard the gateway of your soul; the things that you see and hear.

Weed: Bad habits. Overindulgence of any one thing can indicate an addiction. Examples include overspending, overeating, constant consumption of foods that threaten your health or wasting hours on social media. Warning! Bad habits cause anxiety, sleepless nights, panic attacks, and the inability to communicate with others without confrontation.

Pruning process:

Write out your budget and stay within the parameters. Create a healthy menu and follow it. Only use social media for business purposes or set a time frame to scroll, and stick to it.

Weed: Toxic people.

Toxic people are easy to spot. They’re generally the person that doesn’t want to see you happy. With every opportunity, they look for ways to cast judgment. They show signs of jealousy by speaking negative about your vision, and often reflect on your short-comings and past failures. If there’s anything positive or meaningful in your life, they won’t support it. Unfortunately, they’re often the individuals that you’ve known the longest; therefore, you find it hard to eliminate the relationship.

Pruning process: Cut ties with the person. Don’t muster up unnecessary excuses, your mental health is what counts.

Aim for less stress. It’s vital for your mind, body, and soul. Implement ways to alleviate stinking thinking, polluted words, bad habits, and toxic people. You owe it to yourself.