Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people's buttons.
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As important as it is to learn how to deal with different kinds of people, truly toxic people will never be worth your time and energy — and they take a lot of each. Toxic people create unnecessary complexity, strife and, worst of all, stress.
"People inspire you, or they drain you — pick them wisely." –Hans F. Hansen
Recent research from Friedrich Schiller University in Germany shows just how serious toxic people are. They found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions—the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with toxic people — caused subjects' brains to have a massive stress response. Whether it's negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.
Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus, an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to brain cells, and months of stress can permanently destroy them. Toxic people don't just make you miserable — they're really hard on your brain.