We eat every day. A part of the food nourishes us and the rest (the waste) is thrown out of our body each morning through different channels of elimination. The smoother and more regular the elimination, the cleaner we are from inside. Needless to say, unless you are eating super clean, lots of natural fibre and water rich food, plus the elimination channels are allowed an opportunity to work efficiently, the waste may get stuck inside, and you get constipated! If this is happening regularly, then every once in a while, you need – a detox, else it could lead to more serious health issues.
What about our thoughts and emotions?
Experts estimate that the mind thinks a mind boggling 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour! Add to this, the constant stimulation from the internet and social media and you gotta whole lot of emotional junk that needs a clean passage out, else it’s going to build up inside.
How can thoughts build up inside you’d ask? They are just.. thoughts. Do they really need space?
Signs that you need an emotional detox.
Well, have you ever felt your head being so full of thoughts, that you are going round and round, stuck on certain thoughts, unable to think straight any more?
Or have you woken up one morning feeling like just shutting yourself out of everything, and doing nothing at all, not talking, not wanting to deal with anything?
Or, at some point have you felt so self absorbed, that everything that is happening around you seems to not have any emotional reaction, you’re emotionally numb?
For lack of a better word – this is what emotional constipation could feel like.
This stuff is serious. If not addressed, it will take a toll on your physical health. It’ll start with your energy being sapped, your gut going out of whack, immune system packing up so you’ll find yourself falling sick more often. Most of all you’ll find your creativity and motivation plummet. But this is really just the tip of the iceberg. All ancient medicine systems agree that the all diseases begin in the mind. Any cancer survivor will tell you, that the real battle they fought was of the mind, of some deeply rooted negative emotion they had to uproot to finally heal.
So what can you do to ensure you do not reach this stage? Just like we’ll poop well if we eat well every day, it’s best to address our mental ‘shit’ on a daily basis, that keeps it clear and moving. Here are my top tried and tested techniques that you just can try out :-
- Deep breathing. My yoga Guru B.K.S. Iyengar said ‘ The breath is the master of the mind.’ Yes. Our very own breath, is the easiest tool we have to gain back control of and clarity of mind.
Try this little experiment. Sit down in a quiet space with your back erect. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Observe your breath as it goes in through your nostrils and fills up your lungs and the warm moist breath that exits. Allow yourself to slow down your breathing. Do this for anything between 2 – 10 minutes (depending on how much time you have). See how you feel once you are done.
Do this 4 -5 times daily. And honestly, you can do it anywhere, even in your office stairway landing. Great way to stop our thoughts and leash the racing mind.
If you’re practicing Yoga and pranayama few times a week, that is even better!
2. Silent Nature Feasting. If you can set aside 30 minutes in a day to keep your gadgets away and tune in to nature in silence, it just works wonders. You can close your eyes and listen to the sounds of birds, the rustle of the wind in the trees, the sea waves and let any thoughts freely come and go.
Or you could just watch the greenery from your window, tend to some potted plants in your balcony, watch the sun go down, watch the waves continuously wash up the shore, whatever it is that will fully engage you in that moment.
Nature is so therapeutic. And so is silence. Together they are healing.
3. Daily Spiritual practice. Someone once said, ‘We are spiritual beings having a human experience.’ (whether we believe it or not). A solid philosophical basis can ground us. It can help us go inwards, give clarity and keep our spirit free and light. It can bring us in touch with gratitude, forgiveness and a let go of resentment or disappointment, accept life situations with grace and these are some of the underlying emotions that make it sticky inside.
4. Weekly Digital Detox. Get off your phone, tablet, laptop for a whole 24 hours, once a week. If not 24, start with 12 hours. you’ll be refreshed and renewed, as good as new!
5. Getting creative. Giving play to our creative side, in any small daily activity is a great way to gain emotional strength. Be it drawing, coloring, writing something, playing a musical instrument, dancing, taking a picture, even cooking or plating a dish! Find that one activity in your daily life that you enjoy getting creative and engaging with, even if for just 10 minutes a day!
6. Morning pages. Now is is what I call a daily mental dump. If you’re really constipated, try this method, that I know a lot of people swear by!
Set an alarm to wake up 45 minutes earlier than your usual wake up time in the morning. Keep 3 blank sheets and a pen next to your bed side. Keep anything else you might need when you wake up in the morning (eg. water).
As soon as your alarm goes off in the morning, you get up and in your half sleepy state, start writing your thoughts on the sheet. Write whatever comes to your mind. The thoughts do not have to make sense. They do not have to connect. They can be broken or complete. Just keep writing till you’re done with the 3 pages. Do this every day for a couple of weeks and see how you are feeling.
Apart from the above, engaging in a creative activity, music or dance are other ways which can help you offload emotionally.
I’d love to hear back from you if you tried any of this and it worked. Or is there anything else that you tried that worked for you? I’d love to know and try too!
Liked what you read? Then do share it with someone you know who needs to read this and benefit from it!
*The tips are not a substitute for medical advice.