Getting Your Mind Right: How To Do a Mental Cleanse
“Detox” seems to be a bit of a buzzword these days. We constantly hear and read about countless diets, cleansing kits and “detox spas” that are said to have all these endless health benefits. The truth is that our bodies are already equipped with a detoxification system that can defend itself pretty well, as long as you’re in good general health.
The idea of a mental cleanse or a “detox” is the same as with cleansing or detoxing your body: it’s getting rid of and eliminating certain “bad” things. Things like limiting beliefs, negative emotions, and habits that do not serve you. The thing is that when it comes to a mental cleanse, you have to put in some effort. Just like your lifestyle and the foods you eat can either fuel or limit your body, feeding your mind with positive thoughts and engaging in good habits and keeping it healthy is just as important.
Most of the time, we are too busy to properly deal with our emotions and often just “put” them aside. We’re also not always aware of where our energy goes. Doing a mental cleanse is not as simple as saying “okay, well, let me just replace my bad thoughts and feelings with something happy and positive.”
It’s really about gaining clarity, staying resilient and reclaiming control. Having that clarity will help you with reaching your goals, learning to move past a setback and embracing change, all without fear. It can also help you better understand your emotional reactions.
GETTING YOUR MIND RIGHT: HOW TO DO A MENTAL CLEANSE
The idea behind an emotional detox isn’t so much about getting rid of any feelings or emotions that you’d consider to be “negative” but to rather find and identify any emotions that might be displaced. Repressed anger, for example, will draw in more anger and more unresolved emotions. There are many ways to approach an emotional detox- my favorite is through guided journaling or simple free-writing. Find a quiet, comfortable place, you can light up a candle or put on some soft, soothing music and grab a notebook/journal. You can start with answering questions like these:
Lately, I’ve been experiencing a lot of feelings of…
I feel most like myself when I…
The one thought that has been getting the best of me lately is…
Some of the things that have been causing me stress are…
The things that bring me the most joy are…
The one old pattern that doesn’t serve me that I wish to let go of is…
When approaching journaling, it’s very important that you be honest with yourself and not hold anything back. You have to allow yourself to feel everything. This will help you spot any patterns, and discover any misplaced feelings that manifest themselves into your daily life under a disguise. You might, for example, discover that the reason why you put things off is due to a fear of failure (or fear of success, as that can be intimidating, too). Maybe the reason why you sometimes lash out at a loved one is that you feel angry about something else- something that has nothing to do with that person?
Alternatively, you can also explore your thinking patterns by keeping track of your emotions for the entire day (or even an entire week). Keep a notebook handy, and keep track of any feelings or thought patterns that are negative or redundant, and then analyze them to spot any patterns or connections to your actions.
One of the things that can help you get rid of the mental clutter, is to actually get rid of any physical clutter, first. Your desk, wardrobe, office- keeping things tidy will help improve your mental clarity. Having a small, sacred place where you can disconnect from the rest of the outside world is also important for that clarity. Make it a place where you can go to gather your thoughts, reflect, and renew your connection with yourself. Mind-mapping is another great tool for getting rid of that mental clutter and organizing your thoughts, ideas, and goals.
FOCUS ON THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL
Whenever I feel like some things are slowly slipping out of my control, when stress is taking over, I try my best to focus on things that I can control.
Is it always easy?
When you’re facing a situation where you know you can’t change certain things, you can very easily find yourself feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Any energy you give to things that are beyond your control is a waste. There is a big difference between taking action and solving problems, and ruminating. What you CAN control, is where you direct your focus- and there lies your power. Focus on things that you can control.
PROTECT YOUR ENERGY
It’s not always that the noise and clutter surrounding our mind is our doing- sometimes we can act as an emotional sponge and soak up other people’s emotions and feelings. Empaths and highly sensitive people can very easily absorb that energy from other people and places. The need for learning to detach myself from other people’s negative emotions is something that I’ve been working on for years. Sometimes you interact with someone and can immediately feel your own energy change as you immerse yourself in the emotions and feelings of that person. You might even find yourself asking: “Is what I’m feeling right now my feeling or someone else’s feeling?”
Setting up healthy boundaries is one way to protect your energy- and it’s all an important part of that mental cleanse. Fear is another culprit- when you become fearful (for whatever reason) you can immediately sense your energy levels shift. To let go of those feelings of fear, imagine and feel yourself being strong, standing strong, tell yourself “I am safe” and remember that your energy and protecting it, is your responsibility.
Related reading: How to Protect Your Energy
Life moves at a very fast pace and sometimes it’s easy to lose track of some of the things that matter the most. We tend to spend a lot of time both worrying about the future and reliving the past. Being present is all about letting go of those fears and allowing your mind to be free of judgment in every single moment and thought. Don’t spend your time wishing you were someplace else- teach your mind to pay attention to and be present in the current moment, even when it’s not always a fun place to be. Staying present will help improve your mental clarity and practicing it is a crucial part of a mental cleanse. The kitchen is actually a great place to start practicing mindfulness and being present- I talked about it right here.
EMBRACE THE STILLNESS
Meditation is one of the essential ingredients in restoring mental balance in your life- especially when you feel like that mind clutter is weighing you down. There are many kinds of meditation- I personally really enjoy Kundalini meditation and yoga which is amazing for developing more awareness and spiritual strength (you can checkout YogaDownload and take a class at home which is what I do). Guided meditations are very easy to follow and are awesome for beginners- see this Beginner’s Guide to Meditation written by one of my favorite authors and bloggers, Gabby Bernstein, to learn more about meditating.
Being still and silent can be very intimidating and even scary at first if it’s not something that you’re used to. We don’t always love being all alone with our thoughts and feelings. Once you get over that fear and fully embrace the stillness though, it will help you find that peace and clarity.
Doing a mental cleanse can help guide you back to your authentic self. There will be days when you find yourself feeling lost; when you don’t know what your next step should be. Days when there is so much going on around you that you don’t know how to find yourself again.
You can’t be afraid of letting yourself feel because the more you try to push any negative thoughts and feelings away, the harder they can hit you. Cleansing your mind is not just about embracing the good, it’s also about allowing yourself to feel the “bad” and realizing that your negative thoughts have their purpose, too.