When it comes to our bodies, we know that detoxing with a healthy diet and regular exercise are beneficial to our health. However, when it comes to our minds, we are less likely to give it the same gift. Just as our bodies retain toxins and waste, our minds do too. The stress from our fast-paced world and overly packed schedules leaves us with a lot of anxiety and negative energy. And what about all those hours spent mindlessly in front of screens? With all the stimulation we take in every day, we rarely slow down and create the space to just “be”.
It is absolutely essential that we take a break from negative thinking so our minds don’t hold on to toxic outlooks and attitudes. When our minds retain negative thinking, we stay in a state of stress. This puts us in fight-or-flight mode, which expends so much energy and negatively impacts our immune system as well as our mental health.
Doing a mental detox gives you the opportunity to temporarily stop unhealthy patterns of thought. Being able to quiet your mind will allow you to feel more peaceful, optimistic and be present in the moment.
How often do we actually give ourselves some time to truly unwind?
There’s no better time to do a mental detox than at the start of a New Year. To make sure you take on 2019 as your best, healthiest self, commit to these simple steps:
1 – Meditate, Meditate, Meditate - Even If It’s Only For 5 Minutes A Day!
Sit and focus on your breathing in order to quiet the mind and create space between thought and response. This allows us to empty from the day and fill up on new guidance and shift into our restorative nervous system and fully rejuvenate from the inside out.
2 – Unplug From Technology
Burying our faces in a screen for a large part of the day wreaks havoc on mental health. Studies show that young adults who overuse technology show similar brain patterns to those addicted to alcohol and cocaine. While going “off the grid” and living totally without technology isn’t a viable option for most of us, we can learn to cut down on our tech habits and still be functioning members of society.
3 easy ways to unplug are:
1 - Plan a tech-less day per week or a tech-less part of your day each day. Set an alarm to remind yourself to shut down your phone, computer, etc. Instead treat yourself with a good book, magazine or just listen to some music.
2 - Make meals tech-free. Connect and bond with others and fully enjoy the experience of a meal by leaving the technology aside.
3 - Experience the benefits of shutting down at least 2 hours before bed. You will fall asleep faster, sleep better, and feel better when you wake up!
3 – Take A Break From The News
The media is notoriously negative, as the news doesn’t show an equal amount of good and bad events. As a result, watching the news or checking the headlines too often can create anxiety, lead to negative thinking and put you in a bad mood. This makes it harder to consciously create positive thoughts. Try taking a break for a while and see if it affects your mental wellbeing.
4 – Spend Time In Nature
The simple act of spending time in nature, even for short amounts of time has been found to benefit us both mentally and physically. Nature brings on a sense of calm, and lowers heart rates and cortisol levels. It helps boost our mood, lessen anxiety and mitigate negative thoughts that can take over our minds. Even a quick 20-minute walk every day can improve your overall wellbeing.
5 – Take A Calming Bath
One of my favorite ways to naturally relieve stress is taking a healing and detoxifying bath. Besides being incredibly relaxing, a calming bath reduces muscle pain and stiffness, improves circulation of the lymphatic fluid, improves sleep and cleanses the body of toxins.
Making space for quietness is so important as we’re often rushing around and focusing all our attention on others throughout the day. It’s essential that we give this gift to ourselves. Your body and mind can do amazing things when you give it the time and space to rest, refresh and recharge and this mental detox is a great way to start off on the right foot for the New Year!