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Have you tried an Emotional Detox?

Detoxes are known by reputation to be extreme, unrealistic and harsh, but their application can also be subtle and rewarding. A detox should be about gentle elimination and repair, rather than torturous deprivation and stress.

Often we don’t have the time or energy to deal with emotionally draining situations and it’s easier to push issues away or ignore them thinking that’s the best course of action. And sometimes it is! We shouldn’t sweat the small stuff because it’s just small stuff. But not everything can be released with ease, nor fixed with a Richard Carlson book (

The build-up of toxins in our bodies from pollution, smoking, pesticides and chemical food additives usually have subtle entry into our blood stream and body tissues. Without assistance in removal they can fester and struggle for release, the same way grief or anger can lie dormant, but one day threatening to erupt.

Every day stresses are similar to the physical affect of having a couple of drinks every day. You probably don’t notice any negative affect in the short term, but over time adverse symptoms will start to emerge. Major life events that cause grief, disappointment, rejection and sadness are more like going on a drinking bender when you have half a liver – it’s more than we can handle at the time so it will take a bit more time to overcome.

You’ll know when it’s time to detox your emotions. Bad moods, horrible attitudes, impatience and sensitivity may abound. Nothing in particular is wrong but at the same time, everything could be wrong. Often accompanying physical symptoms can emerge that can’t be fully explained. Frequent colds, physical aches and pains, fatigue and gut issues.

Sound familiar?

Our emotional health can benefit from the same principles as a physical detox program.

STEP ONE - Open your “detox pathways” Physically, we ensure our digestive and urinary tracts are working optimally before encouraging removal during a detox. Emotionally we need to stop blocking any feelings that want to come forth. Start dealing with anything negative that comes up either from the past or present. Get angry, sad and cry if you find it necessary. Talk to friends who are willing to listen or even better - go and see a counsellor! Writing is another way to help get out what needs to come out. Expression is the key action here.

If you’re a non-crier or someone who doesn’t want to feel sorry for themselves, now may be a good time to learn. Solitude may be your best option to open the floodgates.

STEP TWO - Remove Toxins & Introduce Healthy Changes While letting out the emotions, see if you can identify their cause. What event has implanted its toxic seed in your soul? What have you not dealt with? What is still hurting you? Remember that anger is fear that hasn't been dealt with. What are you afraid of? Are you making decisions based on fear or love? Once identified, continue to let it out or write it down. If current situations are a problem such a job, relationship or home – do you need to change? When situations do not bring us joy, we are allowed to let them go. This is easier said than done, but be honest with yourself. This is about taking a break from the “alcohol or sugar” in your life. Sometimes we cut these nasties out temporarily with the eventual conclusion that they were never doing us any good, so they never get re-introduced. A situation, place or person may be exactly the same.

STEP 3 - Repair the Damage So just say you decide to cut out coffee from your life for a month to give your body a break, but the previous 20 years of caffeine abuse has left your adrenals exhausted. You have to take some extra vitamins that help to support the repair and restoration of these glands. They can’t do it on their own. While some not-so-nice symptoms appear from your emotional detox, do the things in life that bring you joy. Do things that are your soul’s vitamins. Pursue artistic ventures, enrol in classes or workshops, exercise, meditate, cook, decorate, read, organise an event, hang out with friends that make you happy. A fruitful exercise is to do a big clean out of your home and say goodbye to clutter. If you want change, start writing a plan and some achievable goals that make you excited.

STEP 4 – Ongoing Maintenance Make a long term vow to deal with situations as they arise – let “toxins” be removed shortly after they are introduced to avoid a build-up. This doesn’t mean you’re going to turn into an emotional wreck. It may mean in future you deal with situations as they arise, stand up to people that bully you (including friends & family), be open and honest with others (and yourself) about how you feel and quit wrongful situations earlier than usual.

Always set higher standards for your happiness.

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