In the modern world, many of us are so used to performing a detox from time to time when it comes to our physical bodies. We may skip out on substances, turn to clean eating, exercise, rest, and ensure we are getting enough sleep to facilitate a healthier life. While this can be vital for our physical health we also need to think about our mental health too. Mental health goes beyond the body (even though our mental health can affect our physical experience too), in fact - it can affect everything in our daily lives which is why keeping on top of our mind health is so important too. This is where an emotional detox program can come in. An emotional detox basically pulls all those negative emotions from being buried and helps you to clear out those troublesome feelings that have been lingering a little too long. It's like hitting the reset button on your ability to process emotions as when you haven't cleared out your inner junk for so long, pent-up emotions can stagnate and cause overwhelm and overreactions. An emotional cleanse can bring you back into body and mind balance and helps you digest future feelings with positive energy and ease.
What’s an emotional detox?
An emotional cleanse is a way in which you actively work through uncomfortable feelings, negative feelings, and symptoms of anxiety that may have been sitting with you for a long period of time. It's like a purge. It doesn't eliminate or fully removes negative feelings but it does help you to process and work through experiences that have become stagnant or stuck and are no longer serving you. Sometimes, when we go through turbulent times or are feeling overwhelmed, we aren't able to properly process our emotional experiences and reactions. Rather than digesting them and moving on, we cling to them and this can have a knock-on effect on our physical and spiritual health too. Having an emotional detox alongside physical detoxes can offer you nourishing repair for the body, mind, and soul.
Signs You Could Use an Emotional Detox
There's a saying that the body keeps the score so if you are feeling out of balance, overwhelmed, and as though you are struggling with even minor situations, it could be because your body and mind are crying out for an emotional detox. Here are some of the emotional detox symptoms to watch for.
- Overly stressed
- Difficulty reacting calmly to most situations
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dwelling on intense emotional memories
- Difficulty being present
- Consoling yourself with unhealthy habits
- Finding yourself easily distracted
- Toxicity issues or self-medicating with substances to escape life
- Feeling stuck or stagnant
- Unable to connect with those around you
- Having chronic tension or headaches
- Feeling like you can't let go of the past
What to know before you start
Throwing yourself into an emotional detox may take a little planning and mental preparation as dealing with unprocessed emotions can be a lot. Many of us are used to staying busy to avoid deep emotions that don't make us feel good and there is often no quick fix or way around toxic feelings than facing them head-on. Any good emotional detox coach, wellness expert, and psychology professor would advise getting prepped before diving into this deep inner work. Here are some ways you can get ready for emotional cleansing practices.
An emotional detox relies on your ability to face reality and get real about your toxic feelings. Knowing what is causing your emotional issues is a great start in the process of unpacking and digesting. It isn't always easy, to be honest with ourselves particularly when it comes to facing the perceived negative emotions we are experiencing. It can trigger our nervous system and make us feel scared, nervous, anxious, and angry. However, facing reality is one of the most important elements when trying to get access to emotions that have been clogging up your system. Once you acknowledge them, you can then start to sift through and process them.
The heart, mind, and body are connected
It's also important to understand that the heart, mind, and body are all connected and issues with one area will have a knock-on effect on the other areas too. While a physical detox can't completely solve your emotional pains, it can help you to feel strong, better aligned, and ready to do the digging you need to work through those deep emotions. Before committing completely to emotional detoxing, you can look at ways to cleanse your body. Opting for a juice cleanse, eating nutritious food, treating tension with warm baths, skipping your evening glass of wine, and making sure you drink water are all simple ways to boost your body in preparation.
You need a plan
Having a plan of action when it comes to your emotional detox can help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Get practical and don't try to swallow too much at once as this may backfire. Setting out achievable goals and committing to a little time each day is going to be easier to deal with than doing a detox on a weekend whim. Remember, that unprocessed emotions coming to the surface can be energy-draining, emotional, and even triggering so make sure that you have a good aftercare plan in place too.
Being present and aware is one of the best ways to encourage unprocessed emotions to become absorbed emotions. If you want to commit to the emotional detox, it's time to ditch distractions and create a safe and welcoming sanctuary to do this. We can be hard-wired to seek out distractions when we are in an avoidant mode but by leaving your phone out of sight, swerving social media and its triggers, avoiding emotional eating, creating a sacred space, and committing fully to the process you can embrace emotional cleansing practices.
How to do an Emotional Detox
One of the best ways to kickstart your emotional detox is through journaling and automatic writing. By letting your mind dump all over the page, you can bring to the surface anything that has been simmering below. Don't think, don't edit, and don't hesitate. Put aside some time throughout the process to journal and give yourself permission to write without restraint. Having memories, toxic thoughts, and negative experiences released from your body and onto the page means that you have acknowledged them and acknowledgment is the key to processing and shifting energy.
Find gratitude in anything and everything, no matter how small
When dealing with a glut of toxic or negative feelings and emotions, it helps to counteract with positive experiences and thoughts. Being mindful of gratitude and celebrating the smallest moments can help to balance out bad thought patterns. A gratitude journal can help you to recognize the good things that occur in your day-to-day and can keep these moments from going unmissed.
Stop complaining/Focus on the good
Complaining is something we all do - probably more than we even know. Try and grow awareness of your complaints procedure and how much you complain throughout the day. Maybe you complain about impersonal things like the weather or personal things like the choice a friend made that you didn't like. Complaining builds up frustration and negative energy and isn't actually productive. Of course, acknowledging feelings and thoughts is productive and part of digesting - but straight-up complaining without questioning your emotions around these feelings can only build toxic energy. Try to be mindful of complaints and limit unproductive complaining to cultivate a more positive and open mindset.
Write down your vices, and tackle them
It's human nature to have coping strategies for dealing with stress and burnout but some of these vices can actually add to the problem rather than doing the deep work that is needed to deal with our issues. Emotional eating, drinking, smoking, and self-medicating can all actually exasperate anxiety disorders and can cut us off from authentic experiences which can also contribute to disassociation. By writing down your vices and acknowledging them, you can put an action plan in place to tackle them. Instead of pouring wine after a stressful day, you could engage in mind-body practices or look for a 10-minute quick anxiety fix rather than turning to substances.
Forgiveness is key
Empathy, compassion, and understanding are paramount when working through an emotional detox as this is how you learn to shift emotion. These subtle energy-body emotions don't need to feel like a lightning bolt but can be as simple as taking a deep breath, softening the tone of your inner critic, and even naming the emotion and thanking it for showing up. By not judging our emotions and avoiding spiraling into self-blame, we learn to be gentler with ourselves and others which leads to emotions feeling less intense and controlling.
Find time for self-care
Self-care is another important element when it comes to post-detox care. Taking amazing baths, seeing an energy healer, booking a session with a yoga instructor, doing a detox diet to clear out your body, and seeing friends and doing the things you like are all going to help you to stay grounded and connected as you overcome those emotional detox symptoms.
Change your environment
Getting out of your head can also be important when it comes to your post-detox mood so that you don't slip into the habit of overprocessing emotions. By going out with friends and listening to their issues, volunteering or helping at a local charity, or even just offering to walk a neighbor's dog - you can put space between the purging process and your person. This can prevent us from becoming overwhelmed.
Find healthy hobbies
Nurture healthy hobbies that bring your body, mind, and soul into alignment. From meditation to sound healing and therapeutic drumming or dancing, there are many ways in which we can utilize the physical body and the rest of our senses to help us shift energy and process our personal experiences.
Get good sleep
Simple self-care and basking in the basic needs of the body is a good way of ensuring we don't get weighed down by our personal experiences and keeps us fighting fit and ready to tackle whatever comes our way. Eating well and getting enough good sleep are functional issues but have a huge knock-on effect when it comes to our ability to deal with emotional issues. When we are well-rested, we are less likely to overreact and make controversial statements or definitive statements that we don't mean.
Keeping the body moving is another good way of processing emotions. There's a correlation between 'trauma' and negative energy getting stuck in the body and movement can help release stagnant emotions, frustrations, and anger. Exercise also kicks up endorphins and boosts serotonin levels so even works on welcoming positivity on a chemical level.
You can do it!
Emotional detoxes can be tough but they are sometimes necessary so we don't get clogged up or stuck in our past stories. By actively working through our emotions, recognizing when we haven't fully processed something, and hitting the reset button, we keep our bodies and minds aligned and make space for spiritual awareness.
What is an Emotional Detox?
Emotional detox is a process where you encourage repressed feelings to the surface so you can sort through them and digest them. By clearing out stagnant emotions, you may feel less overwhelmed and instead feel calmer, better balanced, and stronger.
How do you detox your body emotionally?
Detoxing your body emotionally can be done through a series of steps. From journalling to nurturing gratitude, working through old issues, and taking time to commit to self-care - these are all ways in which you can bring old emotions to the surface and clear them out.
How long does Emotional Detox take?
Emotional detox isn't centered around a fixed time scale. It really depends on how much emotional baggage you have to clear and your own personal ability to process emotions. You can start to implement daily practices like journaling or talking to someone to keep on top of emotional build-ups.
What are emotional toxins?
Some toxic emotions can be those that make us feel 'bad', although emotions are rarely black and white and don't always subscribe to good and bad feelings. Some people would say that emotions like anger, jealousy, resentment, apathy, fear, rejection, and anxiety fall into this category.