3 Tools to Aid in Emotional Detox

 
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When you think about cleansing and detoxing, you might only think about what to eat, drink or supplement to clear out unwanted toxic build up in your body. It turns out some of the most dangerous residual toxic materials are related to excessive stress hormones that can accumulate in your body. Excessive stress hormones negatively impact sleep, mood, energy and overall wellness by disrupting all the systems of your body.

While detoxing through wellness practices, nutritional additions or even supplements can help get the process started, there are other practices you can incorporate that will help aid in restoring balance from excessive toxic emotional residue due to stress, anxiety, grief, anger, resentment, overwhelm, fear, contempt and other emotional build up that can settle into your being and cause significant tension and discomfort internally.

Have you ever felt as though you have been emotionally “slimed?” Where you feel like you just can’t shake or rid yourself a particular emotion and the triggering thoughts associated with those emotions? If so, you are not alone! Emotions can be difficult to cope with, feel and release. These three tools below can help to detox the “slimy” internal residue of uncomfortable emotions and stress. A big part of releasing toxic emotional build-up in the body is acknowledging it and having a method to release. These three tools are helpful as they can offer an opportunity to create a space to explore the emotions and let them go.

1.    Journaling

Writing in a journal can act as a container for your thoughts, feelings and emotions. When you hold on to stressful thoughts and feelings, you keep your mind and body in a state of fight or flight—this is not healthy or helpful. Journaling has been proven to help reduce stress hormones, to improve the quality of your life and create a healthier perspective on emotions and life in general.

The next time you just can’t seem to “let-go” of an uncomfortable emotion or stressor, dust off an old journal or notebook—or even open up a document on your computer—and just start writing. If you are not sure where to begin, start with the emotion, the stressor and write-write-write. See how it feels to get it out, to purge these thoughts and feelings, close the journal and move forward. Think of journaling as a detoxing process for your mind, which will consequently help to clear your body of built up tension and stress.

2.    Art Making

Creativity is a major component to living a full life. Art making by its nature is healing and life enhancing. Creating a mandala is similar to journaling. To create a mandala, draw a circle on a piece of paper and then use any art materials such as colored pencils, markers, oil pastels or even crayons to release your feelings onto the page. The mandala (circle) acts as a guide, not a barrier. Begin by selecting a color that represents your internal emotions or stress and use line, shape color and form to let it out! You can change colors throughout, just begin with one that represents the emotions you are desiring to release.

Mandalas are one of my favorites because the circle acts as a balancing form on the page, however, even scribbling, doodling or doing soothing painting with water colors can have the same impact. Try not to focus on the product (what your picture looks like!. This is not relevant to the desired outcome: releasing uncomfortable stress and emotions! Art making acts as an emotional detox by letting it flow through you, out and away from you. Art making can be more freeing as you are not limited by words. The next time you are feeling stuck in pattern of holding onto a negative feeling, try creating with art materials and notice how it impacts your mood state. 

3.    Breathe

Your breath offers a direct passageway to greater health in mind, body, and spirit. You will breathe whether you think about it or not, it is a marker of being alive. However, you can bring your breath into your conscious awareness and access the healing benefits through specific actions of your breath.

When you breathe diaphragmatically you engage the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that calms you down. Parasympathetic nervous system response is referred to as “rest and digest mode.” The other function of the nervous system is the sympathetic nervous system response which is referred to as “fight or flight mode.” When you are harboring stress, uncomfortable emotions, or thoughts that are triggering those emotions, even subconsciously, you expose yourself to the toxic residue of these emotions. Emotions themselves are not good or bad, they are valuable information about our experience of our lives. However, if you hold onto emotions they can become a negative experience inside and out, causing significant discomfort that gets shoved into your physical body and creates toxicity.

Breathing helps to calm the nervous system and offers more clarity of thought. This can open you to deeper awareness of why the emotion is there, and how it came to be stuck or stagnant as you may originally not have been open or comfortable with receiving the message it was there to offer you. To begin, place one hand on your abdomen and the other hand on your chest. Then, direct your breath in through your nose and expand your abdomen as you inhale slowly. Then, breathe out through your nose drawing your navel in towards your spine slowly.

Continue with this pattern, breathing slowly and deeply and notice the impact on how you feel. Try not force it, just assure that your abdomen is expanding with your inhale, not your chest. You can pair this diaphragmatic breathing with a phrase, such as “let go”—saying “let” in your mind as you inhale and “go” in your mind as you exhale. This helps to free stuck emotional residue and can significantly reduce your stress. This practice also gives your mind a point of focus making it less likely that it will wander off to any other stressful or distressing thoughts.

Emotions are a part of life. Learning to experience, manage and release them is a tremendously valuable part of life. The paradox is often that if you avoid the discomfort you perpetuate its existence. If you allow yourself to feel your emotions, be present with them and make a decision about how to respond in the moment, you offer yourself to feel it as it’s related to the triggering circumstances—versus feeling all of the toxic build up and residue from long-term avoidance and fear.

Try integrating one or more of these tools and notice the impact it has on your life, your body, and your self-awareness. When you free yourself of the discomfort of holding onto emotions that are not needed for your present moment experience, you open yourself to the possibility of offering a deeper space of peace and contentment within.

3 Nutritional Ways to Aid Your Body's Natural Detox Process

 
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Earlier this week I posted about how this time of year is synonymous with a desire to create change, cleanse, detox and just overall feel more balanced and healthy. In case you missed it, you can catch it here! I wanted to follow up with a post about how you can address the concept of cleansing and detoxing from a nutritional perspective as well!

When your body is well nourished you create a solid foundation to find and create balance in body, mind and spirit. When you feel healthy and vital physically, you have an opportunity to focus your energy in many other fulfilling areas of your life. However, when you are feeling unwell and as is if your body is “toxic”, it can be challenging to live in balance or focus on wellness beyond the physical.

When your body is in a state of wellness and balance, there is no need for any major or extreme measures of cleansing or detoxing. As I previously stated (and will probably mention countless times in the future), your body is amazing. Your body is designed to find and remain in balance. When you create an environment of wellness, your body will work hard to heal itself!

If you started some of the cleansing practices I discussed in the previous post, I hope you are finding them to be useful. Below are three nutrition-based elements to incorporate into your wellness routine. These nutritional additions will assist your body in the process of maintaining balance by keeping its natural detox channels working efficiently and effectively. Here are three super simple and quite delicious additions you can add today!

1.    Chia Seeds

Many parts of our body are lined with a mucous membrane that secrete mucus, which is a thick protective fluid (I know—kinda gross to think about). The mucus helps to rid your body of toxins, microbes and pathogens. I remember learning in my anatomy training to become a yoga teacher that we swallow some disgusting amount of mucus daily. This mucosal lining helps assist these foreign invaders to the exit routes of elimination! The exits again are elimination through your bowels, urinary tract, your breath on the exhale and through your skin.

Here is where chia seeds come in! Many of us may have a slightly challenged digestive tract, so if you are like me, I’m sure yours can use all the help it can get! Chia seeds, when soaked in liquid, become viscous or gelatinous. The membrane that surrounds the chia seed—once eaten and as it swells—helps assist your body in the process of absorbing microbes, pathogens and toxins from the digestive tract and move them into the proper elimination channels: the bowels. Chia seeds also contain antioxidants, fiber, omega 3’s and protein. Try adding chia seeds to salads and smoothies and make chia pudding (there is a recipe on my resources page) as a super tasty and super nutritious treat! 

2.    Fresh Herbs: Spotlight on Cilantro and Parsley

While all fresh herbs offer a ton of nutritional benefits, cilantro and parsley offer some special super powers! Not only are these herbs rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants and delicious flavor (although there is a small slice of the population to whom cilantro tastes like soap—so sorry—it may not be so delicious to everyone!) they are also shown to bind to toxic metals, loosen them from your tissues and assist with eliminating them from your body! That’s pretty amazing.

Heavy metal toxicity is becoming more common with the amount of heavy toxic metals we are exposed to through our food containers, binders in vaccinations and otherwise. Heavy metal toxicity has been shown to decrease mental wellness and memory while increasing headaches, anxiety, depression—and it can cause disruption in the elimination systems and immune system. This is not good! Adding in cilantro and parsley regularly will help keep your body healthy in ways you may never have imagined. 

Try adding fresh organic cilantro to stir fry’s, salads, guacamole, dressings and other dishes. Add parsley to salads, sauces, dressings, and marinades to receive all of the powerful benefits.

3.    Turmeric-Ginger-Lemon-Honey-Super-Shot

The health benefits of fresh turmeric and ginger are many—add in some lemon and local raw honey—and you have a power shot to keep your body functioning in top notch form! I prefer to blend all of the ingredients together (recipe below!) and drink it as a shot. You can juice the turmeric, ginger and lemon and add in honey as well. 

Turmeric is known to be a helpful aid to your body’s natural detox processes as it helps your liver to efficiently process metabolic wastes and toxins. Turmeric heals your liver by rejuvenating liver cells and protects your bile ducts. It also soothes the digestive tract with its anti-inflammatory properties, helping to ease digestion. That’s pretty awesome—and this is only how turmeric benefits your body’s natural detox channels, it really does much, much more!

Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties and is used in typical “cleanses” because it stimulates digestion and circulation. Due to the warming qualities of ginger it induces sweating—another of the body’s natural channels for detoxing—elimination of toxins through your skin! The increased digestive power helps to cleanse any built-up waste and toxins in your digestive tract and colon. Healthy elimination equals a healthy body, and a healthy body helps to create the opportunity for a healthy mind, spirit and life!

Lemon is another powerful natural cleanser. It adds so much more than delicious flavor to this cleansing super-shot! Lemon helps to flush toxins and potentially harmful bacteria out of your body by giving your liver a boost with its high vitamin C content and increased hydration. Lemon juice also strengthens your digestive fires and encourages the production of bile. That’s some good cleansing that’s safe to do every day. 

Raw, local honey has many health benefits as well. When you focus on its ability to assist with ridding your body of harmful toxins, it is right up there with the other three ingredients in this super-shot. In addition, honey adds sweetness and allows the flavors to all come together. Raw honey offers many healing enzymes and bacteria eliminating properties that aid your body in finding balance and overall wellness. Adding honey to this natural cleansing power shot assists in healing your digestive tract and releasing toxins from your system through elimination.

Recipe:

2 inches fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Juice of ½ a lemon

½ teaspoon raw, (local if possible) honey

¼ cup filtered water

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

While there are certainly MANY other beneficial nutrient dense foods that aid in your body’s natural cleansing and detoxing processes, these three options are a simple and great place to begin. If you begin to incorporate any of these into your daily wellness routine, I’d love to hear how they work for you!