By Claire Walton, Executive Leadership Coach and Founder of Leaders Are MAD - Making A Difference and Best-Selling Author of ‘Super Neuro You’.

Super Neuro You

Super Neuro You

As we come through the Covid-19 pandemic, a time when the importance of self-compassion and the ripple effects of our positive and negative mental, emotional and physical health are widely recognised, Executive Leadership Coach and Founder of Leaders Are MAD - Making A Difference, Claire Walton, 52 from North Yorkshire, released her debut book, in which she shares how achieving your Highest Potential Self (HPS) can not only bring out the best in you, for you, but also lead to incredible lasting change in those you influence.

Throughout the book, readers take the journey with Laura, reading Laura’s journal in which she reflects on life; to the sessions with her coach and her attempts to practice the techniques shared with her. You see Laura’s powerful transition from a successful, yet exhausted woman feeling unfulfilled by her success, to a happy and healthy woman who is a role model for success proactively sharing her learning with others. You hear Laura reflect on the ups and downs towards achieving her ideal life and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

One of the topics that the book explores is the impact toxic influences can have on your life and potential. Here, Claire shares with Female First why it’s important to get rid of toxic influences and shares some tips on how to do this…

Claire said; “When we think of ‘toxic’ we think, dangerous and corrosive. You would ideally avoid exposing yourself to something labelled ‘toxic’. When it comes to toxic relationships, however, we rarely recognise them because people do not come with a warning sign, and because of this we don’t tend to act to protect ourselves.

Our relationships influence our feelings and our thoughts, and our thoughts will determine our actions and our success. Therefore, people you choose to spend time with should positively enhance your feelings and thoughts. They should encourage you to feel calm, confident, courageous, creative, compassionate, curious and clear. You should feel connected to them and to the rest of the world, whilst being true to yourself. You should feel you have choice in the relationship.

People you spend time with should not act in such a way you regularly feel; anxious, frustrated, angry, ashamed, or less of yourself. You should not feel controlled by them. Toxic relationships may also cause you to feel distress when thinking about them, seeing their name on your phone or when recalling an exchange with them.

A person’s toxic behaviour can often be subtle. We have a fundamental human need to feel valued and treated fairly. When you regularly spend time with people who do not demonstrate they value you and who do not treat you fairly, you can feel the pain of this just as much as you feel physical pain. This pain is your nervous system warning you against the ‘toxic’ danger of spending time with this person. It will often appear as muscle tension, headache and stomach ache. It will stop you being able to be your best as your energy goes to the source of this discomfort rather than to fuel your emotional intelligence, cognitive ability, or physical strength.

If you think any of your relationships are toxic, you may want to start by trying to influence a change in the relationship, the person, and their behaviour. Perhaps, they are suffering in some way and their behaviour is a response to this. If they are not willing to or do not change you will need to end the relationship. You are likely to feel better about yourself if you tackle the end of a toxic relationship with a conversation. I know this is easier said than done, so, here are some tips:

· You may need some support to help you see through this change, so lean on your highly positive relationships when ending toxic ones.

· It may help to write down what you plan to say beforehand.

· Choose a safe place for the conversation or make it virtual.

· Share your observations about their behaviour and ask if there is anything you can do to help.

· If they accept responsibility and open up to you, identify what you can do to ease their suffering which does not cause you further distress.

· If they do not accept or take responsibility for their behaviour do not continue to accept the impact their behaviour has on you.

· Be firm about your intentions and do not allow yourself to waver.

· Be respectful but hold your ground.

· Remember, leaving a toxic relationship is a success not a failure.

· If you continue to suffer from the effects of the toxic relationship after it ends, you may need the professional help of a coach or therapist to help you move forward.

To find out more about Claire please visit and to purchase a copy of Claire’s best-selling book please visit Amazon -

RELATED: My favourite toxic families in literature by Sarah Lawton, author of All The Little Things

Tales of toxic families are as old as storytelling itself. What is the fascination with the subject? Maybe it is because we can all relate to it, even if only remotely. We have all got families in some way or another, and many of us experience some friction with our relatives. Books can just take everything that delicious step further, as I couldn’t resist doing in my debut novel All the Little Things, which examines the blindness familial love can invoke, and the deceitful lengths people will go to in order to protect their children. I love to read about toxic families as much as I love to write about them and these are some of my favourite examples in literature...