We all get anxious, depressed, exhausted, and stressed out, it is part of life. The key to health and self-care is to recognize when we are in these states and take action to change. Sometimes we are too busy to deal with whatever emotional stuff we have going on so we push it aside in order to focus on the task at hand. Humans are remarkable in that way, we can literally shut off our feelings to take care of pressing issues. While this serves us well in business and crisis, over the long haul it is damaging to our health.
When I got serious about yoga I was surprised to find myself crying so much in classes. After a few months of these intense crying sessions I got up the nerve to ask a teacher what was wrong with me, why am I crying like this? She told me our bodies are basically a storage unit for our emotional disturbances and pain. Often times students that are new to yoga experience these profound emotional releases like I did and still do from time to time. Those months of crying on my yoga mat showed me the extent of the emotional healing I needed to do.
Even when we take great care of ourselves on a consistent basis an emotional detox is very beneficial. The amount that we release during any cleanse is typically proportionate to our level of commitment to the cleanse and how much we have let accumulate. Pent up emotional pain effects our mental and physical health and needs to be addressed for long term wellness. The goal here is to feel more balanced and lighter in our emotional life which in turn will have restorative effects on our overall health.
For this detox you will need to set aside 15 minutes in the morning and 1 hour in the evening. I recommend 5 days but if that is too long 3 days is a good start. Below you will find a supply list and details for the detox.
What you will need:
Quiet space to meditate
Lavender essential oil (optional)
5 Day Emotional Detox
Start your mornings by drinking a glass or two of water and write 5 minutes stream of consciousness in your notebook. Set a timer if that helps and write whatever comes to your mind. Do not stop writing until the 5 minutes are up. Do not read back over your writing, censor or worry about what you are writing. Try to just let go and write whatever comes to mind no matter what it is.
Next do 5 minutes of Sun Salutations or other stretches that feel good to your body. It’s okay to be gentle as we are usually the tightest in the mornings, the idea here is to get your blood flowing and your body moving a bit.
Lastly, meditate for 5-10 minutes. If you are new to meditation start by taking a comfortable seat and following your breath for the duration of the practice. For more detailed info read this post I wrote a while back. If any strong emotions come up during your meditation make a few quick notes about them afterwards. This will bring clarity and insight to where your emotional work resides.
During the day
Repeat this affirmation to yourself as frequently as you can remember. Write it down in places where you will see it often and say it out loud:
“I am brave. I release all toxic emotions, allowing myself to heal on a deep level. I handle all of the feelings that come up with grace. I create a clear vision for my life as I make room for new experiences.”
About an hour before you need to be asleep begin your detox exercises. Start by taking a 15 minute bath infused with lavender oil or another essential oil that helps you to relax. If you do not have a bath tub a nice hot shower will suffice.
After your bath journal for 5-10 minutes. This time focus your writing on releasing whatever emotions you feel are blocking you. Anger, fear, insecurities, jealously, sadness. Get those all out on paper. This can be a challenging process but it is very helpful to see in our own writing what is bothering us. If we don’t know what our disturbances are we will not be able to let them go.
Lastly write a gratitude list. This can be as long or short as you like. It’s good to end the evening in this way so we don’t go to sleep with all of the difficult emotions on our minds.
At the end of the five days create a ritual of burning all of your writing. This is an optional step but one I have found very useful. This is a detox, why would we want to hang on to all of the emotions we purged? Burning these pages is a offering to the universe that we are sealing our cleanse and ready to receive a new state of emotional health.
I have used this detox on myself and with clients and it has proven to be very effective. It can bring emotional freedom as well as awareness of what is going on with our emotions. With our busy lives it is rare that we take the time to really focus on our feelings which is a vital key to our wellness. During this detox I would encourage you to get as much rest as possible, eat healthy foods and be gentle with yourself as you go through the process.
Final thoughts: if at the end of the detox you feel raw and vulnerable that is totally normal. This kind of work brings things to the surface and sometimes we need more than 5 days to process. Take whatever time you need and know that if you do not feel immediate relief you are not doing it wrong. We are all in different places in our lives. This as an offering to spend time with ourselves, our emotions and begin detoxing.