Insights: Mental Detox

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Sipping on a green juice with extra ginger over the weekend made me think about how good my body felt after drinking it.

People often use these juices as a way to detox their bodies. But what about detoxifying our mind?

We do not think about how to detox the mind, yet isn’t that even more important?  What we put in our mind has such an enormous impact on our body, so even if we detox the body, if our mind is cluttered with negative thoughts and experiences, a body detox will not have enough of an impact.

What does it mean to detox the mind?  As I mentioned in my last article, minimalizing what we have in our lives is the first step. Detox by clearing out people, belongings and technology that do not bring positive into our lives. Cleaning out your wardrobe is an easy start, even if you take one item out a week that you have not worn in the last year.

Detox the body by adding 10 minutes of yoga, stretching, or walking, not for exercise but for mental decluttering. Try doing any of these outside where you can add some vitamin D from the sun and maybe even some social connection.

Take time to relax.  Sit with a cup of tea and a good book. I enjoy reading my psychology books, however every so often I love to pick up a historical fiction and curl up in bed half an hour earlier than normal and get into the story. Makes me feel ready to sleep and so relaxed.

Also meditation allows for our brain to detox. Many studies have shown the impact of meditation on the brain—it increases our immune system, makes us feel happier, decreases our anxiety and improves our mood. Just start with five minutes. It is amazing how good this can feel.

You could also get a massage, a facial or reflexology, or if you are even braver, acupuncture or cryotherapy. The last two are not so relaxing but certainly are known for their ability to decrease pain and increase a sense of well being afterwards.

Anything or anyone you are angry at, write a letter. Just put all your unabridged feelings down on paper (or on your computer). Then use a ritual to let go of the letter and the anger. Held anger can affect the body and the mind.

Along this same idea, try journaling. Take time daily to just write whatever comes to your mind. It is amazing how this can de-clutter and distress the mind.

This one is going to take time, but one that can create a lot of peace in the mind:  Decide what is and is not beneficial with your social media.

I am hearing more and more people who are getting off Facebook because they are finding it more negative than positive in their lives. Try de-friending negative people or not responding or checking it so much.

Cleaning out your emails is also beneficial for our mind. Creating inboxes and organizing what emails go where.  Taking time weekly to just sort through them helps keep your computer and your mind a little cleaner.

Have at least a half-day a week or evening where you go technology free. You will be amazed at how good it feels. We do not need technology as much as we think we do.

Allow yourself to feel emotions or cry if you have had a difficult day or situation.  Tears are very beneficial for the mind. Stop resisting emotions or experiences. Lean into them. Most of the time we will be okay, even if we cry or feel sad.

Be committed to no self-criticism. There is no benefit of being critical of self or others. Be compassionate and kind; you will learn much more about yourself.

Keep your relationships current. If something is bothering you in one of your relationships, take the time to talk through it. Your relationships are invaluable and so worth keeping clean.

Most of these are easy enough to do, yet we get so distracted by our day-to-day activities we do not always take the time to do these detoxing activities.

Set aside a few hours a week to get your mind detoxed. What is great about detoxing the mind, just like the body, you can start anytime, and if you lose your focus you can restart at any moment.

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at DrZavala.com or [email protected]

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