Detox is a buzz word. So is cleansing, eliminating, reducing. All of these words that connote an idea of letting go of those things that are not serving us. Most often these words find themselves on labels of cold-pressed juices, highlighted on weight-loss blogs, and spanning the cover of popular health magazines. Detox diets is one of the most popular searches on Google in the past two years. All the attention does not come without reason, for ridding the body of toxins is a practice that when done healthfully can have myriad benefits for one’s overall health.
What a lot of popular product, professionals and media outlets fail to discuss is the importance of detoxing the other invisible bodies within which we operate. As much as it is important to rid the digestive tract of harmful bacteria and lingering gunk, it is essential for us to put into practice routine mind and soul maintenance. A diet for our mental and emotional states, a cleansing for the interior subtle self. It is the chattering mind and overstimulated nervous system that are in need of some tender love and care.
We do not realize it, but the unconscious mind is constantly analyzing, absorbing, calculating, producing, and reacting to the world around us. We are sponges that take in energy and information and either turn it into something we use or pile it up to be used at another point in time. Even if we consider ourselves extreme optimists, it is part of being human that we experience negatively, guilt, shame, doubt, pain, and suffering and such emotions have lasting effects. Just as it is wise to transition our bodies from season to season through cleansing, so too is it advised to hit the reset button (the one next to the preferred snooze button) to wipe the slate clean and make room for those thoughts and feelings that are substantial, that serve us and enhance reality rather than detract from self-image and experience.
Luckily detoxing the mind does not require a membership to a boutique fitness studio or a stamp card at the latest juicery rather it is a simple matter of gaining awareness and developing our ability to listen. We start to observe the ways in which we talk to ourselves and the quality of our thoughts. When we notice the negative self-talk and overactive judgmental voice, we can work to counter it with positive affirmations.
Creating space between ourselves and our experiences allows us the distance needed to choose how we respond to a situation. Instead of reacting with fits of emotion or rash actions, we acknowledge the way something affects us, and then decide how we want to move forward. By infusing mindfulness into our actions, we become the pilots of our experience rather than passengers carried along via emotional streams. It’s the pause and reflect before the acting that releases a dependence on initial emotional responses that come from a place not indicative of our highest self.
Meditation practice is certainly a way to detox the mind. For those that are daunted by the idea of sitting meditation, take comfort in the truth that meditation can be done anywhere at anytime. It is simply a quieting of the mind and an intent focus. We concentrate on one point, one thought, and let the everything else in the mind clear away. Meditation can be done walking, commuting, waiting in line, a few moments before eating, laying in bed, or virtually anywhere else. If you can pause for one minute or longer and pay attention to your breath — watch the inhales and the exhales — you are meditating. You are pressing the reset button for the brain. Meditation is the ultimate green juice for the mind.
Whenever you feel yourself starting to get overwhelmed, anxious, or bogged down by the complex pressures of being a human being, know that you have the power to release yourself from these mental and emotional strains. In the same way that we physically exert ourselves to strengthen the body and de-stress, so too can we undergo mental practices to relinquish unnecessary suffering that is consequence of habitual thought patterns. When we actively work to detox the mind, we make the choice to wake up, to notice, and most importantly to choose how we show up each moment, armed with the power of positive thought and clear mind to take on this beautiful, tumultuous life.