I am learning to walk away from people and situations that threaten my peace of mind, self-respect and self-worth.Steve Maraboli
This post was inspired after I got an iMessage from a woman who needed advice on how to detox her soul and mind. She’d been embarrassed by someone she’d considered a friend: the said friend had embarked on a smear campaign about this woman and her family. She was angry for days.
Anger is an intense emotion in response to provocation, hurt or threat, however if persistent it can have a detrimental effect on mental health.
Every new year almost everyone comes up with ideas and resolutions on how to improve their lives – from how to detox your physical body to how to declutter your home to how to live better. However, fewer people ever think of ways to detox their mind and soul. Cleansing the mind means getting rid of things or people that affect your mental wellbeing in a negative way.
Get rid of toxicity
The best mind-detox plan that works every time without fail is getting rid of toxic people in your life. These are the people I like to call energy vampires. The kind of people, who, after spending any amount of time with you leaves you feeling deflated, irritated, angry, tired, worse than ever, and in worst-case scenarios these people leave you feeling homicidal or suicidal. Usually, these people masquerade as caring friends (frenemies) or even family, but they have no respect for you or your boundaries. They thrive on adding stress and drama in your relationships.
One of their main characteristics is that they lie constantly. If they can’t lie, they like to twist the truth for their benefit. The drama they create in people’s lives often leave everyone fighting with everyone while they look on from the side-lines. Avoid these people at all costs. And if they are in your life, cut them off like you would carbs. Most people don’t realise, but the amount of emotional energy spent on accommodating this type of people is cluttering your mind and soul and can be the source of a host of mental health issues. Cut them loose.
Often after getting rid of relationships, no matter how toxic, emotions run high and because society has us thinking that showing emotions is a sign of weakness, we don’t let it out. We hold it in and show a brave face while we are crumbling on the inside. I think it’s high time we drop that society’s idea of having a good cry is a weakness. It is good to feel all you need to feel, let it all out and cry when you need to.
However, one of the most debilitating human traits is the innate need to want to protect others, so letting it all out doesn’t come easy for most: mothers, for example, would not cry in front of their children because they don’t want to worry the children needlessly, and besides there’s not much the children can do, (mind you this doesn’t happen with narcissistic people – story for another day). For the overprotective among us, a good idea is to dedicate time and place to mourn and let it out, the shower is a great place to let it flow, or set aside at least 15 minutes a day to unpack your worries on paper i.e. journaling.
The next step after decluttering the energy suckers out of your life is to learn a little more about self-love. You often find people who have a lot of toxic relationships usually don’t dedicate anytime for looking after number one – themselves! When you spend a considerable amount time making sure everyone around you is catered for, and you forget about yourself, you clog your mind because looking after people, especially toxic ones, leaves you literally gasping for air. Give yourself time to detox and declutter your mind by looking after yourself.
Bear in mind, the toxic people you just offloaded, most likely will call you selfish, self-absorbed, self-centric etc, ignore them and do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. Self-love is not selfish. Taking pride in yourself is not arrogance. Your mental health should come first; besides, there are a few people in your life who are good for you and you for them, and they need you as the best you.
Some ideas on how to look after yourself, for example, is to treat yourself to a spa day. Of course, due to COVID these facilities are not open but that doesn’t mean you can’t do-it-yourself a spa day at home – give yourself a facial, pedicure, head massage and a long bath while listening to cool music that calms you down.
Another thing you can do is teach yourself meditation. From my experience, this is the best thing I’ve done for myself. It helps with relaxation, combating stress and anxiety and restoration of inner peace. I practice meditation every time an energy vampire tries to invade my mental space with junk, and it’s lifechanging. Whenever someone comes to you guns blazing and all, put that fire right out with meditation. Of course, this doesn’t mean you start ohm-ring and ahm-ring at them, it means putting your mind in a meditative state and any junk they offload on you doesn’t stick. Your mind space becomes a Teflon plate – nothing sticks unless you want it to.
Accept and be grateful
Other than people or things or situations muddling our minds, sometimes we do it to ourselves. We set impossible standards on ourselves, we compare ourselves mercilessly against other people, we beat ourselves down when we don’t live up to societal expectations of ‘the-perfect-person’. Living like these wreaks havoc on mental health. Although we live in a competitive world and some societal expectations are hardwired in the brains, the best thing to do in order to maintain optimum mental health is to concentrate on the good in your life, and to focus on what you love about yourself and not what you don’t.
It is safe to say there isn’t a single human on earth who is 100% happy with everything nature dealt them, this is normal, and therefore it is in our best interest to focus on the things or features we love about ourselves rather than on the ones we don’t. Acceptance is key. As well as focusing on the good in our lives, expressing gratitude for it is essential.
Acceptance and expressing gratitude are the ultimate mind/soul cleansers – recommended minimum dosage, 3 times daily.
Photo credit: @pixabay