Detoxing the mind is true health, true freedom! In fact, mental toxins can be even more detrimental than physical toxins, as almost all disease stem 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 held on the surface area or stored deep within your mind and various parts of your body. Without recognizing, processing, and releasing these mental toxins, they will continue to be stored away; creating dysregulation in your mind and body until eventually they create disease.
Although routine physical detoxification is often necessary, you 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 a great “yogi” that is able to obtain any yoga posture or a healthcare fanatic that has an immaculate diet, yet they still take advantage of others, pass judgement, lie, or cheat. 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 mental 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. In fact, mental balance is a continuous battle, especially during these trying times, and I still use many of these priceless tools in my daily life.
As you go through these recommendations, 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 your mind and bring awareness to your 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 positive effects meditation can have on your 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 your breath. As you deepen your breath, begin to pay close attention to each inhale, exhale, and the slight pause in between. With this increased attention to your breath, your mind will naturally begin to slow down and grow quiet. Continue to watch your 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 10 to 15 minutes.
*If the morning time is not available, this practice can be performed before bed as well.
2. Gentle Yoga.
Throughout your life, you begin to store emotions in various areas of your body such as your hips, shoulders, spine, etc. A gentle, restorative Yoga practice can be a great way to release different emotions that get stored deep in your body. If you know some simple postures such as seated forward folds, legs up the wall, and reclined butterfly pose, you can perform a short, gentle practice at home each night before bed. The poses should be held for at least 3 to 5 minutes and bolsters, pillows, and/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 create 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 holistic practitioner, a counselor, or a therapist. I do suggest finding a non-family member/non-friend, as these people are likely not trained counselors and may also be bias to your feelings. To get constructive guidance and feedback, a trained therapist, compassionate health practitioner, 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 you move along your busy, chaotic days, you may find that you get wrapped up in life and all it brings (and oh, does it bring a lot!). You may lose your sense of presence, as you constantly are in your thoughts of the past and the future. You may lose your sense of awareness, as you hurry from one task to the next.
In order to free your mind from negative emotions, reactions, and thoughts, you must first bring awareness to them. Once you are aware of your thoughts, actions, and reactions, you can begin to slow down and bring change to your 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 your mind. They may continue to come up, but once you bring awareness to them you are able to send them away as quickly as they come. These negative thoughts will slowly by slowly become less frequent, as your mind learns to decondition itself from this unnecessary pattern.
5. Just breath.
Taking 5 to 10 minutes to stop and take deep breathes each day will help purify your mind, bringing you mental balance, clarity, and awareness. Try to lengthen your breath as you breathe in, counting slowly to 5 and breathe out at the same rate. Bring your breath deep into your belly and avoid shallow breathing into the chest. Quiet 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 in your mind, or restless, scattered, repetitive thoughts. It is so simple and accessible, you can do this practice in you car, at work, or in bed. In fact, 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 27, 54, or 108 times (internally or out loud), in a comfortable seated position, and in a quiet setting. The mantra may also be repeated as you go about your day. For example, as you drive to work or take a walk down the street. No matter the amount or the setting, as long as your intention and attention are there, this practice is one of the most powerful tools to heal your mind and your consciousness.
7. Enjoy some time in nature.
Going for a walk and finding time to just be in nature is so healing to your body, mind, and soul. Being out in nature, your mind and your breath begin to slow down, while your 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 your cell phone and music, as this walk should be done with intention and awareness to any thoughts that may arise. Take in the beautiful environment around you! Take in the fresh air! You can even practice the deep breathing exercise or mantra practice (see above) as you go.
8. Choose one day each week to not use technology.
In this world of ever evolving technology, it is very easy to get lost in the mechanical world and lose your 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 you may have become so connected and dependent to your phone, computer, or television. However, with time, practice, and strong willpower, this weekly technological detox will become an enjoyment, as your mind and imagination awaken again!
9. Talk less.
In this day in age, many individuals have become so uncomfortable with silence. You may find that you cannot be in the presence of others without talking or cannot endure being by yourself in silence. You may find that you are constantly striving for noise to distract your mind and your thoughts.
It is in this silence however, that you are able to learn the most about yourself and reveal your stored away thoughts and emotions. It is during this silence that you will be able to facilitate your 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 your deepest thoughts and feelings. With the recording of your 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. Although journaling is not for everyone, this can be truly an invaluable practice for mental detoxification and emotional balance.
11. Make time for some “you time”.
Taking some time to be by yourself every so often is very necessary in the nourishment of your inner being. This is such an important concept, yet far too often you get so lost in the chaos of life that you may lose tract of this. Many of us have become so dependent on others that you may feel uncomfortable to be alone. However, each week, if not each day, you should find some 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 that I have learned and utilize 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”. Remember that you are strong. With the bad comes the good, and with the good comes the bad. That is the beauty of life.