In the last couple of years, I had to face a lot of mental challenges because of toxic workplaces.

If you have read my story here, you would know that I had to deal with chronic stress which affected my ability to sleep, my quality of life and subsequently the way I thought, felt and acted.

Over the years I was put in a position to research and test different ways to handle the mental stress that I was incurring, so that I could be productive and focus on improving my life.

In my journey, I learned a great deal about the mental challenges that we covertly or overtly face in our lives and as a result I learned about how our brain works, how to combat the mental stress and be more in control of our mind that be controlled by it.

In this article I would like to highlight the challenges we face that covertly stops us from achieving a mental transformation and after that I would be sharing some tips based on what has been effective for me to achieve my mental transformation to stay resilient in a toxic workplace.

Obstacles to Mental Transformation

If you haven’t noticed it yet, then you should know, that society has changed.

In 1956, when Elvis Presley shaked his hips on camera, it was considered vulgar.

However, these days when Nicki Minaj or any of your favourite female singers dance almost naked in music videos, its considered liberating and mainstream.

This tells us clearly, that society has changed in many ways such that it almost hurts the brain to think deeply about it’s negative consequences.

So much so, we are mentally put in the position to notice the negative consequences rather than looking into the future to predict the consequences so that we can thwart the harmful effects of these subtle changes.

Add social media in to the mix, then we have a real nightmare but we don’t see the nightmare because it all happens in the mind without your awareness which is highly insidious.

Don’t take it from me.

Watch what an ex-facebook executive has to say about social media.

There you have it, you have heard it from the most credible source now.

This video was made 6 years ago, and truth be told, has social media been shut down? Nope!

Matter of fact, more and more people are divided in society because of the idiotic ideologies that keep popping everyday.

As social media is such a dopamine driven machine, these ideas gets easily propagated to the masses and as the ex-facebook executive had mentioned, “Its ripping apart the fundamental fabric of society.”

More division.

More incivility.

More anti-social society.

All caused by the very same platform that projects the message, “Connecting the world together”.

As I write this article, there is a senator judiciary hearing going on in the US on online child safety. Here is a sneak peek of it, check it out.

As you can see this cancer of our society (social media) has been growing at quite a rapid rate infecting our lives through psychological manipulation of the masses.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is not all bad.

Its has it’s benefits, but its time to be mindful of the way we use these platforms so that we are not controlled or programmed by these platforms.

Clearly, its not in the vested interest of these platforms to build features to the app considering what best for society at large.

That’s not me making a claim. It’s what Zuckerberg said. Here is the proof.

The reason I had shared all this with video proof is to let you know that the mental transformation challenge is very real.

We live in an information rich society, to the point we can’t discern what we hear is the truth or not.

Its vital more than ever to be mindful of what we consume mentally as much if not more than what we consume physically, as outlined in the physical transformation post.

Add on top of it, the complex issue of the harmful effects of social media on our psyche, when you work at a toxic workplace, your entire waking existence is based on walking on eggshells, saying only the right things, not even knowing what the right things are, because the culture decides it via social media, with little to no governance on the part of social media platforms.

This vagueness or fluidity that exists in our culture makes it an incredible challenge to our minds.

It increases the cognitive stress, leading to increases release of hormones associated with stress response i.e, cortisol and adrenaline.

Prolonged chronic release of these hormones can have negative effects on the body leading to depression and in worse case, early death.

After I realised this I went on a mission to find how I could combat this without using drugs, as it does more damage than it fixes.

Here is what I have found to work well for me:

#1 Learn the basics of neurochemistry

If you’ve read my story, you know how I found out about L-tryptophan during my Christmas party at a toxic workplace that I had worked for and how I co-related that experience with what I had learned from the first chapter of “12 Rules for Life” book, written by Dr. Jordan B Peterson.

Stemming from that experience, I started learning more about other chemicals that exists in the brain that had the ability to control the way I think, feel and act.

That’s when I realised the importance of learning about the different brain chemicals mainly, dopamine, serotonin and GABA.

I have learned a great deal about neurochemistry and how I could alter them without drugs for optimal performance and mindfulness from the Andrew Huberman Podcast.

I was recommended this podcast by my osteopath and I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to learn about the brain and it’s biological functions.

Also be advised this is not a podcast, that you want to listen to passively.

This is something that requires you to have to listen and take notes, so that you can implement them in your daily life.

#2 Learn How to Use Nootropics

In my late 20s, I used to experiment with a lot of supplements. However, I was a bit skeptical about using nootropics because I didn’t want to have any unintended consequences without knowing how it would impact the brain.

In my early 30s after I gained some understanding about neurochemicals and especially having first-hand experience as explained in the previous tip, I decided to research and give nootropics a shot.

To my surprise, I found that some of the supplements I had been using were nootropics, but I just didn’t know it fell under the “nootropic” category.

For example, I thought Acetyl L-Carnitine was an amino acid that I could use to shuttle fat into the mitochondria and hence, I used it as a fat burner. Little, did I know that it had mental performance and helped with increased focus, without any jitters.

One nootropic that almost all of us started taking at a very early age is caffeine.

If you are getting a little nudge to try nootropics, I highly recommend that you do your due diligence, weigh the after effects of potential side effects and make sure to be as safe as possible.

For example, once I thought I would try Rhodiola Rhosea, which is a natural nootropic. However, it didn’t go well for me. I had a very itchy rash all over me, such that I had to take leave from work to recover.

So, please make sure to do your due diligence before trying any nootropic, or any supplement for that matter.

In my opinion, is fantastic resource to help you with your research and learn everything you need to know about nootropics.

#3 Get Good Quality Sleep

The gig economy/hustle culture society we live in today, tends to pedestalize over-working and sleep deprivation as a necessity for success.

As a result of which, we have a lot of people in our society walking around with make-up concealed bags under their eyes and in the process killing themselves slowly, voluntarily, for a carrot that they can’t see or even may not be there once they complete all the tasks that they think that they need to do to finally “become successful”.

I’ll just let that sink in for a bit. Its a lot.

You see, everything around us, the entire universe operates on duality like day/night, order/chaos, male/female, inhale/exhale etc.

Matter of fact, pause for a second and touch your chest and feel your heart beat, you’ll feel a lub/dub.

If you look at our nervous system, we have a parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system.

I think you can see a pattern here.

Everything in life is good, when it perfectly balanced.

Wanna challenge me? Try not exhaling in your next breath lol.

Watch as you turn blue, as you burst into a forceful exhalation haha.

Jokes aside, sleep is the most under-rated activity when it comes to mental performance.

I would argue you MUST sleep like as if you are being paid twice as much as your job, diligently, like a professional, non-negotiable.

When I used to work for a toxic workplace, my sleep was horrible.

I was running on 5 coffees a day, just to function normally.

However, after discovering L-Tryptophan and over time finding other nootropics and practices that could help me sleep well, and especially after seeing benefits of a good night’s sleep, I can’t help myself but to make sleep a priority.

If you are concerned about sacrificing your night life and not looking “cool”, know this.

Sleep deprivation once in a while is ok, but when it becomes a routine, its wreaks havoc on your physical and mental health.

Besides, what is cool, walking around with bags under your eyes like a zombie in the office reaching out for the tenth cup of coffee and being grumpy with your customers, or being fresh and gregarious to serve your customers with a completely recharged mind? Your call.

#4 Practice Meditation

Meditation is quite frankly the second most under-rated habit that I had started implementing recently into my morning routine.

When I started meditation initially, I wasn’t able to do it properly.

My attention kept going away towards random things and I thought it was a complete waste of time.

Until, I discovered that I could remain unemotional and more rational at high pressure situations, i.e, dealing with toxic coworkers and strategically placed deadlines by narcissistic manage to catch me off-guard.

I have found that by incorporating meditation, I was able to get more room in my mind for creative thoughts rather than being completely mentally embroiled with the daily petty games that emotional vampires like to play at workplaces.

One meditation that I have found to be very beneficial for me is the Zen meditation, which you can watch in this link.

Try it out. Give it at least two weeks of consistent action and analyse how you think, feel and act in your daily life.

If you ain’t convinced yet, listen to what Kobe Bryant had to say about sleep and meditation.

#5 Drink, drink, drink some more……water!

This is an age old advice most people somehow seems to ignore.

These days we consume coffee, soda or other sugary drinks to fool ourselves of being hydrated but as a matter of fact we are being constantly dehydrated.

Our bodies are made of 70% water and it’s vital for us to drink water to replenish those levels for optimal cognitive function.

Depending on your personal preference you could add some sodium and potassium to your water to make sure your neurons are getting enough fuel to fire off appropriately, leading to better cognitive processing.

I personally do this every once in awhile depending on how much sodium I consume on a daily basis.

I also tend to carry around a 2 litre bottle so I just have to focus on consuming 3 bottles of it daily with sometimes one bottle being added with a pinch of Himalayan salt.

Try it out and see for yourself how you think, feel and act because of these inconsequential behavioural change.

#6 Practice Pomodoro

This is a technique that I’ve found to be marginally beneficial compared to my all out guns-blazing bat-out-of-hell approach to getting work done.

Blame this on my coding approach back when in my early 20s, when I used to be able to put in long hours of coding.

Partly because I enjoyed it and I didn’t have to embroil myself with office politics and all other trash that one would have to put up within a 9 to 5.

I had experimented with pomodoro during lockdown and I have found to be useful to practice when I have too many things on my plate to handle.

#7 Practice Stoicism

I found practising stoic ideals helpful in a defensive manner to life’s challenges like dealing with toxic colleagues.

I stumbled on stoic ideals when browsing YouTube.

It gave me a sense of peace to some extend, as in a way to manage the negative emotions that potentially gets triggered because of my experience of an external event.

You see that statement right there is not something that I could have written if it wasn’t for stoicism.

I wouldn’t have had the wisdom to know that I can choose my feelings and experiences of the events that happen in life.

I wouldn’t have known that I’m more in control of my inner world despite the uncontrollable nature of the external world.

That being said, stoicism can be a double edged sword where people might potentially perceive you as being cold and distant because of the lack of impulsive reaction from you towards an external event.

Regardless of that, stoicism gives you ideas that offer peace of mind in an understandably chaotic world we live in today.

#8 Become Power Aware

If stoicism is the defensive strategy to life’s challenges then being power aware is both an offensive and defensive strategy, especially when it comes to workplace shenanigans.

You know what they say, a good offence with a great defence.

That also being said, a word of caution, knowing about power dynamics and things of that nature is a double edged sword.

Depending on your morals and ethics this could back fire on you should you use it in a selfish manner for personal gain.

This goes beyond “knowing” the 48 laws of power.

It’s about implementing them with win-win scenarios in mind while understanding human nature.

What next?

These are my top tips on mental transformation that could prime you to be become a cognitive athlete that can handle the challenges of a toxic workplace.

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.

If you have any comments, questions, suggestions about these tips, feel free to put in the comment section below.

If you would like to learn about this in depth you should, consider signing up to my Cognitive Athlete Course, by clicking this button below!

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