Tips for Mental Detoxing
Tips for Mental Detoxing
by Joanne Forster, Co-founder of Mindful Her & Founder of Mojo PR Group
Earlier this week, I posted an article offering tips on detoxing the body. For me, getting the body clean and feeling good is the easy part. The mental part is what takes a little more effort, as negative thoughts enter my mind all the time. I’m human after all! Worrying and impatience are my weakest traits. I struggle with both of them on a daily basis. What helps me put a stop to them is comparing my negative thoughts to weeds in my garden. If I let the weeds grow, they will take over my garden. If I pull them early, my garden will flourish.
If you let them, negative thoughts can get in the way of your happiness, substantially harming your quality of life and your relationships. To stress out, worry, get angry, overthink, or hold grudges, is exhausting and can make you physically ill.
The good news is that it is possible to train yourself to recognize when negative thoughts begin to creep into your mind and empower yourself to stop them in their tracks.
Happiness truly does come from the inside, not something we achieve outside of ourselves, and certainly not from money, vacations, or our significant other. We can’t look to other people or things to make ourselves happy. We are the only ones who have the power to do that for ourselves.
Here are some tips that I have found useful in my path to mindfulness:
Meditate Any kind of mediation works! Because of my lack of patience, sitting quietly doesn’t work so well for me. My meditation is walking on the beach every morning with my dogs. So whatever your calm state is, which can be sitting quietly, washing the dishes, or folding the laundry, focus on breathing deeply and clearing your mind of all thoughts. Try to stop the voice in your head that wants to review your to-do list and “just be.”
Be mindful of your surroundings Take notice of outside influences like stories in the media and social media that negatively affect you and analyze the impact they have on your mental state. Work to become mindfully aware of how these things make you feel and eliminate the things that don’t serve you.
Change “have to” to “want to” Thinking that you “have to” do something, or a whole list of things, can stress you out. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, let some things on your to-do list go. Spend your time on tasks that you “want to” do and which are the most important. Sometimes just changing your words from “have to” to “want to” when you talk about your to-do list can help make you feel happier.
Count your blessings Generating a constant stream of gratitude can have a tremendous affect on your life. Take a quiet moment to flip through your phone pictures and let happy memories wash over you. Place sticky notes filled with positive mantras throughout your home and leave them there for the rest of the week.
Leave the past in the past Stop replaying negative scenes or conversations from the past in your head. When negative thoughts from the past arise, press fast-forward to the present and focus on the positive things happening right now.
Resist reacting When you start to feel angry, anxious or sad, take 10 deep breaths, which will help calm you down. Once you feel calmer, try to identify your emotion. Identifying what you are feeling and why when you are calm will help you respond in a more appropriate manner, or you might find that you don’t need to respond at all.
Take notice of the good and bad At the end of the week, take a moment to reflect about all the positive things that happened that week — a great conversation with a friend, laughing with your kids, a well-done work assignment, or a beautiful sunset. Help your mind become more aware of the wonderful things about life and overwrite those things that don’t deserve your attention.
Forgive easily Holding onto grudges for anything is toxic. Forgive your loved ones, forgive strangers, but most of all, forgive yourself daily.
Lastly, wallow in self-pity when necessary As hard as I try on all of the above, I’m a woman, I’m human, and sometimes bad stuff happens that I just need to feel and think about so I can process. Sometimes, wallowing in self-pity is necessary for me. If it’s warranted, I’ll let myself wallow for a day, but I consider that a gift to myself, and the next day I will wake up, put my big girl pants on, a smile on my face, and start the above process all over again.
Learn other great tips to detox the mind and body at “Spring Detox” on Sunday, May 1st.