03/09/2020 Personal Growth
One of the biggest changes over the past few decades in medicine concerns the notion of toxic and toxins. Medical schools used to define both only in terms of chemical poisons and addictive drugs and alcohol. Now people speak of toxic emotions, toxic relationships, even a toxic lifestyle.
This shift reflects a very healthy trend toward lifelong well-being. Even minor toxins can accumulate to create damaging effects. Anger, for example, isn’t just psychological. It triggers a range of toxic effects in the body through stress and inflammation. Being unhappy is a state most people find tolerable, but your cells would disagree. The biochemistry of unhappiness is toxic and pervades the whole system.
The best thing you can do for yourself today and every day is to perform the seven steps of detox, or even just one of them. Here are the steps that rid the body-mind of the most potent toxins, beginning with toxic emotions.
1. Take Responsibility for Your Emotions
Don’t blame someone outside you. Even if you get triggered by other people, they cannot change your emotions—only you can.
2. Witness Your Emotions without Judgment
Emotions get sticky if you dwell on them and constantly relive them. You don’t have to plunge into negative emotions to heal them. In fact, that never works. Be aware of the first signs of a toxic emotion and stand a little ways apart, observing it without judgment, fear, distaste, or the need to get rid of them. Only in detachment can you detox the stickiest emotions.
3. Label the Emotion
As soon as it comes up, name your emotion. This helps give you distance from participating in the emotion. You can even treat the emotion as if it applies to someone else: This is anger, this is anxiety, this is jealousy, etc. Naming an emotion helps to lessen the charge it carries for you.
4. Describe the Emotion in Detail
The best way to do this is in writing. First, sit down and write in detail how and why you feel the way you do. Express everything. Hold nothing back. Then shift gears, and write another version of the same emotion in the third person, as if you are a reporter getting down the story of someone who is not you but is feeling all the things you are feeling. In this way, you defuse the emotional charge you are feeling.
5. Share the Emotion with Someone You Trust
Most people have some degree of secrecy about their darker emotions, and often this comes with shame and guilt. Those things keep the emotion close to home. You want it to leave instead, and one of the best ways is to share it with a confidant you trust, someone who is sympathetic and nonjudgmental.
6. Release the Emotion Through a Ritual
This step occurs when you have gotten to a satisfying stage of no longer feeling an emotional charge. You have taken responsibility and detached yourself from the stickiness of your emotion. Now is the time to cut all ties with the past, for a negative emotion echoes the past. Perform a ritual such as writing the motion on a piece of paper and burning it, or throw it into the sea.
7. Celebrate Your Emotional Release
This is the step by which you rejoin the present moment and allow fresh, life-supporting feelings in. Don’t simply eat and drink in a good mood. Gather friends, announce what you are celebrating, and let everyone become part of the new beginning you are embarking on.
Just to repeat, doing even one of these steps every day represents a big release. Each step allows you to experience the difference between holding on and letting go, between nursing a toxic emotion and telling it you no longer need to feel this way.
Emotions are the finest level of relationships, family life, self-esteem, body image, and personal growth. That’s why detox begins with emotions. It is how you feel about your life and everything in it that creates your personal reality. It is undeniably healthy to drink pure water, eat organic whole foods, and avoid chemical toxins in tobacco and alcohol. But the purest food becomes toxic when you eat in a state of stress, anger, anxiety, or worry.
The lesson here is that Nature is the most powerful at the subtlest level. Emotions are invisible and fleeting. They come and they go. Yet where they come from is the core of your being. Purify your life at the core, and you will let light into the very essence of who you are. That’s the real goal of a detox program that leads to true transformation.