7-Day Healthy Challenge: Detox Your Mind

For the third week of our January Healthy Challenge, we are suggesting a mental detox – to spend intentional time decluttering negative, persistent thoughts, to encourage a positive shift in perspective and mental health.

Just like a detox diet to flush out toxins from your body and cleanse your organs, it’s also helpful to flush out toxins from your mind. Mental and emotional toxins often go unnoticed, however the clutter and chaos they create can lead to: low energy, a lack of focus, increased stress and anxiety, overwhelm and unhappiness.

The mental and emotional toxins we are looking to cleanse this week include:  negative self-talk, repressed or bottled up emotions (especially fear and anger), feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and emotional abuse. The goal is not to simply get rid of the emotions we perceive as negative, but rather to properly process them so that we can learn to understand, make sense of and deal with them in healthy productive ways.

This week we are recommending:

  • Start each day with an intention and end it with a reflection
    • Begin each morning by setting an intention to manage your negative thoughts throughout the day. You can set this intention by saying the following to yourself:
      • Just for today I will carefully monitor what I’m thinking.
      • Just for today I will only think thoughts that are beneficial to me.
      • Just for today I will challenge any negative thoughts I may have and replace them with more empowering thoughts.
      • Just for today if I find myself dwelling on a problem I will switch my focus to looking for a solution.
    • You can reaffirm this intention throughout the day by restating it.
    • Before bedtime, take a few minutes’ time to reflect on the day, using the rose, bud, thorn method. For your rose, choose a highlight/success/small win, or something positive that happened. For the thorn, think of a challenge you experienced or something you can use more support with. Lastly, for the bud, think of an opportunity/brainstorm new ideas that have blossomed/something you are looking forward to knowing more about or experiencing.
  • Schedule time for yourself for a daily mini-break(s) focused on paying attention and self-care. This could be a simple five-minute guided mediation, breathing exercise or visualization. Here are some examples of ones we like:
    • Visualization using the Liquid Mind technique
      • Step 1: Visualize ‘quiet’ as a thick, clear liquid, filling your head with peace and quiet.
      • Step 2: See it pouring slowly down your body, filling you with that clear liquid until you feel like a liquid ball.
      • Step 3: Once you’re in this zone, breathe deeply and stay here for a few minutes.
  • Choose one daily activity that you do each day, however do it with the intention of staying present, in the moment. Naturally, your mind will wander to thoughts and emotions, and when this does happen, gently and without judgement, bring it back to the activity. Here are some examples:
    • Take a Zen shower: be mindful of the wave of pleasure as the warm water washes over you; mindful of the smell of the soap/shampoo, etc.
    • Mindful Cleaning: mindful dishwashing or vacuuming.
    • Walking in nature: notice the colours, smells, sounds and sensations when out on a walk.

Beyond this intentional week of mental decluttering, the three suggestions above can be helpful whenever you feel overwhelmed, flooded and need to de-stress.