Clear Your Mind
The Importance of Mental and Emotional Detox
The new year is a time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. For many people this means the beginning of a whole body detoxification program to address all the holiday eating and drinking. While a detox program can help the body’s natural process for eliminating the excess, as well as the contaminants found in our air, water, soil, and food supply, it is by no means the only detox we may need.
Minding Our Minds
It is said that the mind is our own worst enemy, and this may be true. As thoughts pile up in our heads, they have a direct effect on the body. Lead with the mind first, and the body will follow., and when we are having an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day, it makes sense that decluttering our minds can have a profound effect on overall health and wellness. One may consider thoughts such as, “I don’t,” “I can’t, “I never,” as toxic, but there is also the mental dialogue that we have with ourselves everyday. Negative thoughts can also cause mental stress as well as the inability to sleep or concentrate. This “tape” plays out as we go about our lives, oftentimes seeming like a good/bad angel sitting on our shoulders telling us how bad we are for having the donut or how awful we look in our clothes. Poor self-talk can crush the spirit, and in a sense is more toxic than any donut or plastic water bottle. This is why mental detoxification is so important.
Compounding the mental component of detoxification is the emotional side. Life’s burdens can weigh down the hardiest of people, giving rise to emotional turmoil that can perpetuate mental stress. Habits that we practice, such as poor sleep hygiene and eating junk foods, as well as drinking too much alcohol and even hanging out with certain people, can drain our emotional capacity and take a toll on our overall health.
Steps for mental and emotional detox
Sitting under a tree and meditating may be one way to let thoughts go, but try a few of these other methods for clearing out the mental and emotional clutter:
1 - Release the thoughts: To let go of a limiting thought, you have to change how you process it. Writing in a journal allows you to work through emotions and thought patterns and begin to understand why they happen.
2 - Deep breathing: Calming the mind begins by calming the body. The rhythm of deep breath can increase oxygen to the body and promote a state of calmness by redirecting your thoughts to your body.
3 - Shed tears: It’s okay to cry! Crying releases oxytocin and endorphins (this is why you often feel better after a good cry).
4 - Address emotions: Bottling up our emotions is something many of us practice. In particular, anger can be expressed in less volatile ways than powerful outbursts. By setting good boundaries, you can squash negative emotions before they have a chance to build up.
5 - Feed the body: Solid nutrition is key for mental and emotional health. Ensure that you eat plenty of green, red, yellow, and orange vegetables, as well as blue and red fruits to provide a rich blend of antioxidants. Take a comprehensive multivitamin supplement daily, as well as “calming” minerals such as magnesium to give your body the micronutrients it needs to perform and address stress in a healthy way. Vitamin B complex also helps to provide support for blood sugar and serotonin levels, as well as the adrenal glands during times of stress.
A detox program at New Year’s and beyond should include the mental and emotional aspects that support wellbeing, and provide a more well-rounded approach to clearing out the clutter. Ask your healthcare practitioner for more information on how to achieve this.