If you apply yourself, you will find that awareness is both a great protector and a great healer. All the items on the list bring us down because we forget to be conscious; we don't practice sensible prevention. It's easy to prevent overspending if you leave the house with no credit cards and only $50 in your wallet. If you find something expensive that you just have to buy, it won't hurt to go back home for the money instead of instantly, and impulsively, pulling out your credit card. On the way home, you may find that your hot impulse cools off considerably.

But there's a deeper aspect to removing the toxic elements in any situation. Your natural state is one of joy, peace and spontaneous fulfillment. When you are not experiencing this state, some contamination is present in body or mind. Contamination can be the result of toxic emotions, habits and relationships as well as toxic substances.

What makes a person choose to contaminate happiness with any toxin, whether it's junk food or an abusive partner, a stressful job or unwholesome emotions? All such choices are rooted first in the mind as the result of conditioning. Housebreaking a puppy is a kind of conditioning, but so is raising a child. Just as the puppy learns a new way of behaving that becomes automatic and ingrained, the way you were raised has shaped your behavior and attitudes. If you could look closely enough into the brain, you'd also see neural pathways that fix every behavior in place

This is the real reason change is hard. Toxic behavior and attitudes have been programmed into you. Old conditioning is powerful. It makes us do things we know are not right for us. The solution to toxicity in your life lies at the level where the mind has lost its natural state. Conditioning begins very early in life. The first symptoms are toxic emotions like anger, anxiety, guilt and shame. As one grows up, this beginning leads to poor self-esteem, toxic relationships and lifestyle imbalances.

The good news is that any pattern of behavior can be changed. You don't have to settle for old programming. You are the programmer now, not people from your past. In order to detoxify your life completely, you need to learn how to reverse this entire range of conditioning. Scrooge's turnaround took only one night, which is a fantasy. Yet you can begin your turnaround today. In my latest book, The Ultimate Happiness Prescription , the chapter on detoxification outlines seven steps for immediately bringing your life to a nontoxic state:

1. De-clutter your surroundings.

2. If you buy something, give something away.

3. Spend money to help the environment, returning a fraction of nature's gifts to you.

4. Do something that's not for profit.

5. Be generous.

6. Be lavish in your giving, particularly with intangibles.

7. Nourish your body instead of defiling it.

These are only the beginning to a lifelong commitment to leading a life that is as full of joy and peace as nature intended. What better time to begin than in this season of peace and joy?

Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul , and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription , are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM , channels 102 and 155.

Are you able to identify your bad behaviors? In what ways can you immediately begin to bring your life into a nontoxic state?

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