toxic thoughts

Managing Toxic Thoughts

Speaker: Vincent Schutt from Environmentum (A Project of Tides Canada)Written by: Sheena Jain & Esha Jain            

Using the acronym F.E.A.R, Vincent Schutt has created a strategic method on how to approach and manage “toxic thoughts.” He suggests that first, we as individuals need to locate the source behind the toxic thought, in order to eventually resolve or reconcile with that initial thought.  The following depicts the necessary steps required to adequately manage toxic thoughts.

1)  Frame:  Locate your toxic thought

    → This can be done by classifying the source of the thought as:

  • The individual themselves
  • Their Family
  • Their Community
  • Their City
  • Their Province
  • Their Country
  • Their Global Society

2)  Evaluate the thought: Narrow in on the type of problem, in order to gain perspective on what steps

   can be taken to improve the “toxic thought”. This will prevent the “toxic thought” from, weighing the

   individual down.

    → Create a spectrum that increases progressively from least to most beneficial ways to   

          improve the toxic thought.     

3)      Assess/Appreciate: Locate where you are on the spectrum

4)      Reconcile: Determine whether you have the capacity in your life to do something about the toxic


  • Maybe you will realize that you cannot actually move forward with resolving this toxic thought
  • Maybe you will not be able to approach this problem right away because you have spectrums in other areas that need to be addressed first
  • Managing your toxic thoughts using these steps can give you a better perspective on where you are in terms of managing the problem, what future steps you can take, and what limitations you may have. Thus allowing you to put the thought to rest once and for all.     

Using the above steps, Mr. Schutt demonstrated how you can manage toxic thoughts regarding the elimination of waste products for example.


1)      Frame: Waste management is a problem located in the city in which you live

Global Society
City 0-High consumption

1- Not Separating waste products at all

2- Make some mistakes sorting waste products

3- Compost & Recycle

4- Reuse

5 - Reduce


2)      Evaluate: See spectrum above

3)      Assess/Appreciate: Using his example, Mr. Schutt classified himself as being between

      Steps 3 & 4, in terms of how he handles waste in his everyday life.

4)      Reconcile: This activity puts into perspective: where the problem lies, a spectrum of how people may

      handle this problem, where you classify yourself in terms of improving this problem, what further

      actions you can take and what limitations you may have when it comes to this problem. This will

      essentially allow you to come to terms with the “toxic thought: so that it does not weigh you down.