Detoxing the mind is true health, true freedom! In fact, mental toxins can be even more detrimental than physical toxins, as 99% of all disease stems from a mental origin. These mental toxins take many different forms such as anger, hate, jealousy, anxiety, stress, insecurity, judgment and criticism. These toxins may be on the surface area or stored deep within our mind and various parts of our bodies. Without recognizing, processing and releasing these mental toxins, they continue to be stored away; weakening our mind and body until eventually they create disease.
Although physical detoxification may also be necessary on occasion, we must always remember that the body is only as healthy as the mind. Without mental health, clarity and awareness, physical health is of little use. It is like the great “yogis” that are able to obtain any yoga posture, yet off the mat they take advantage of others, lie and cheat. Yoga is about the union of body, mind, spirit, not the attainment of a physical posture. Without a sense of awareness, compassion and centered-ness, Svastha, or perfect health is not attainable.
A mental detox can be performed in various ways. You may want to take off of work for a week in order to truly focus on an intense mental cleanse, you may want to incorporate different detoxification methods into your daily life, or you may choose to do a little of both. Either way, I will help you get started as I share with you the many tools that have helped me attain a more clear, stable and open mind over the years. Feel free to choose the methods that resonate with you personally and leave the others behind. Try to start gently and slowly, as this can be an intense process. Please contact me anytime if questions arise or you would like some guidance.
Tools for Metal Detoxification
Meditation is quite possibly the most powerful tool for mental detoxification. Taking time to slow down the mind and bring awareness to the thoughts that come up is a great way to explore, process and release stored away emotions. I suggest incorporating a consistent, daily practice in order to truly discover the effects meditation can have on the mind and emotions.
A simple practice can be as follows: First thing each morning, take 15 minutes to sit in a comfortable position and begin to deepen and lengthen the breath. As you deepen the breath, begin to pay close attention to each inhale, exhale and the pause in between. With this increased attention to the breath, the mind will naturally begin to slow down and grow quite. Continue to watch the breath, but also begin to observe any thoughts that come up; without judgment, without control. Just simply bring awareness to these thoughts, eventually releasing the thoughts and bringing focus again to the breath. Continue this “awareness meditation” for at least 15 minutes. *** If the morning time is not available, this practice can be performed before bed as well.
2. Gentle Yoga.
Throughout our life, we begin to store emotions in various areas of our bodies such as the hips, shoulders, spine, etc. A gentle, restorative yoga practice can be a great way to release different emotions that get stored deep in the body. If you know some simple postures such as seated forward folds, legs up the wall and reclined butterfly, you can perform a short, gentle practice at home each night before bed. The poses should be held for at least 3-5 minutes and bolsters, pillows or blankets are highly recommended.
If you feel more comfortable in a class setting, try to find a studio near you that offers “gentle” or “restorative” yoga and find a teacher that you can find a connection with. In order to gain the full benefits that this practice has to offer, I suggest attending this class at least one time each week.
3. Talk to a Supportive Person.
This “supportive person” may be a mentor, a counselor or a therapist. I do suggest finding a non-family member/non-friend, as these people are not trained counselors and may also be bias to your feelings. To get constructive guidance and feedback, a trained therapist or trusted mentor would be most beneficial in the sharing, processing and releasing of your thoughts and emotions.
4. Practice moment-to-moment awareness.
As we move along our busy, chaotic days, we tend to get wrapped up in life and all it brings. We lose our sense of presence, as we constantly are in our thoughts of the past and the future. We lose our sense of awareness as we hurry from one task to the next.
In order to free the mind from negative emotions, reactions and thoughts, we must first bring awareness to them. Once we are aware of our thoughts, actions and reactions, we can begin to slow down and bring change to our negative thought patterns.
For example, if you find that you are going throughout your day with one judgment arising after another, try to take note each time this negative pattern comes up and free these unnecessary thoughts from the mind. They may continue to come up, but once we bring awareness to them we are able to send them away as quickly as they come. These negative thoughts will slowly by slowly become less frequent, as the mind learns to decondition itself from this unnecessary pattern.
5. Just breath.
Taking 5-10 minutes to stop and take deep breathes each day will help purify the mind, bringing mental clarity and awareness. Try to lengthen the breath as you breathe in, counting slowly to 5 and breathe out at the same rate. Bring the breath deep into the belly and avoid shallow breathing into the chest. Quite the mind and release any thoughts that may arise. This simple practice can be performed in a designated spot, for a specific amount of time; however, this can also be utilized anytime you begin to notice mental tension, chaos of the mind or restless, scattered, repetitive thoughts. I think I’m going to take some deep breathes right now!
6. Discover your Mantra.
Mantra originates from Hinduism and is the repetition of a word or phrase to help invoke meditation or concentration. Typically this can be a simple Hindu phrase such as “Om Namah Shivaya” or “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha”; however, any phrase can be a mantra such as “I welcome joy and prosperity into my life”. The chosen mantra can be repeated 108 times (internally or out loud), in a comfortable seated position and in a quite setting. The mantra may also be repeated as we go about our day. For example, as we drive to work or take a walk down the street. No matter the setting, as long as intention and attention is there, this practice is one of the most powerful tools to heal the mind and the consciousness.
7. Enjoy some time in nature.
Going for a walk and finding time to just be in nature is so healing to the body, mind and soul. Being out in nature, the mind and the breath begin to slow down, while physical and mental tensions begin to release. Even if you can only find time once a month to take a hike or a gentle walk through the trees, you will begin to notice a softening and a peace of mind that will arise naturally.
If you are rooted deep in the city and find it hard to get out to nature, another great option is to just take a nice stroll in the park at least once a week. Try to leave behind the cell phone and music, as this walk should be done with intention and awareness to the thoughts that may arise, and the beautiful environment around you. Take in the fresh air! You can even practice the deep breathing exercise (see above) as you go.
8. Choose one day each week to not use technology.
In this world of ever evolving technology, it is too easy to get lost in the mechanical world and loose our sense of presence and reality. Designate one day each week to putting these mind-distracting gadgets away and finding time to be present with yourself, your thoughts and everything that is occurring around you. This is a very hard practice at first, as we have become so connected and dependent to our phones, computers, television, etc. However, with time, practice and strong willpower, this weekly technological detox will become an enjoyment, as our minds and imaginations awaken again!
9. Talk less.
In this day in age, we have become so uncomfortable with silence. We cannot be in the presence of others without talking and cannot even endure being by ourselves in silence. I have even experienced people on cell phones in the sauna, on several occasions. We are constantly striving for noise to distract our minds, our thoughts. It is in this silence however, that we are able to learn the most about ourselves and reveal our stored away thoughts and emotions. It is during this silence that we will be able to facilitate our inner healing and evolution.
10. Journal your thoughts.
Journaling is an amazing and extremely effective way to bring awareness to what is going on internally. It is an emotional outlet to our deepest thoughts and feelings. With the recording of these thoughts, you are also able to have a tangible source for reflection. If you are able to do this each night or even each week, this will give you a great opportunity to slow down and check in with your inner self. This can be truly an invaluable practice in mental detoxification and emotional balance.
11. Make time for some “you time”.
Taking some time to be by ourselves every so often is very necessary in the nourishment of our inner being. This is such an important concept, yet far too often we get so lost in the chaos of life that we lose tract of this. Often times, an individual has become so dependent on others that they feel uncomfortable to be alone. Each week, if not each day, we should find this alone time and just BE.
This self-nourishment time may be a walk in the park, lying in the grass, taking a bath, doing a solo yoga or meditation practice, jamming out on your guitar(by yourself), writing, journaling, drawing, painting, dancing(alone), singing at the top of your lungs, screaming, crying, doing cart wheels… So many options!! Play around and find which outlet works for you and just LET IT ALL OUT!!!
I have shared with you the tools I have learned for inner release and growth. Your tools may look like this, they may look different. These practices have helped me through many hard times and continue to help me on a daily basis. My journey to finding balance and mental harmony is never ending and has been filled with many highs and lows.
No matter the chaos of life that surrounds you, the one thing you can always come back to is “slow down, take a deep breath and come back to center”.
Here are a few products that will compliment your Mental Detox:
- Mind Tonic Tincture
- Majja Ghrita
- Saraswati Churna
- Ginger Bath Blend
- OM Shanti Tea
- Self-Massage (Abhyanga) Oil