In the spirit of spring and all the spring cleaning, internally and externally, I want to share with you a “cleanse” that most people overlook during this time of the year: the emotional cleanse. As a collective body of people, the world is becoming more health conscious by the day. We have evolved in technologies, exercise, and even our nutrition to find our way to our highest potential. As we become more health conscious we can see a trend in all areas of health. Whether we are experimenting with diet or exercise there is a consistent factor always present, the level of our awareness. We all know how a workout and meal can become wasteful when we are not present. During semi-conscious workouts we slack form, breathing, and overall effectiveness. When we are not totally alert during meal time we skimp on chewing, eat when stressed, and only partially digest our food.
We have all experienced a bad workout, diet fail, or life struggle some time or another in our lives. However, our habitual response is to try to solve the problem at the level of the problem. Instead of using those “failures” as opportunities to become more alert we try another set of push-ups, another diet, or we argue until we prove our point. Though this type of persistence can have certain values, unless we solve the problem at the level of the solution we will continue to fall short of our goals.
That being said, I want to offer you a simple “emotional cleanse” that will aid you in lightening your mental load and enhancing your spring cleaning this year. The purpose for an emotional cleanse is to bring you to a higher state of awareness and mental simplicity. As we can see from the former insights, a more acute sense of awareness will always positively affect our lives. When we let go of negative emotions and thoughts we get clearer on what we are doing and become more empowered. Not only will an emotional cleanse assist you in taking action—perhaps a dietary cleanse such as switching to a plant-based diet—but it will also aid in the benefits you reap from the cleanse.
One of the greatest personal discoveries we can have is that we can alter our lives by altering our attitudes. When we learn this, we enhance everything we do by adding purpose and clarity to it. When we are free from emotional turbulence we are free of negative habits and conditioned responses. We not only stop overreacting, but we stop reacting completely and start creating.
Change the things that can be changed, accept what cannot, and have the wisdom to know the difference.
- Change your Focus: Often we get caught up in the wrong things. We overreact to everything; someone cuts us off while driving to work and we freak out for 15 minutes instead of focusing on the fact we are still alive on our way to see someone we love. The next time you find yourself becoming angry and wasting valuable life energy ask yourself “Will this matter in 10 minutes from now? Tomorrow? Or in 5 years?” Chances are it won’t. The things that won’t matter much in the future are things that don’t matter much right now. These minor things usually include the situations that are out of our control: traffic, judgments, criticism, bad weather, and so on. There is really only one major need in our lives, happiness. If you are not feeling happiness or peace in your current situation, it’s usually a red flag that you are focused on the wrong stats. For example, many people who try to lose weight constantly focus on how much weight they still have to lose instead of how much weight they have lost and how far they have come. Spend the next week watching your emotions for guidance; if you are feeling negativity ask yourself, “What am I focused on that is making me feel this way?” Once you find out the source and you confirm it’s only a minor matter, see if you can focus on what’s important, what’s good, what’s helping you, and so on.
- Practice being an imperfectionist: I know many of the passionately driven perfectionists out there, much like myself, are cringing at first read of this. But let’s be honest for a moment, do you know any perfectionist whose life was filled with inner peace? The answer to that rhetorical question is an absolute NO. Our need for perfection conflicts with our truest desire for inner peace. They just cannot exist at the same time. A profound discovery of the mind is how endless its desires are. Think about it, why do we becoming obsessive over a goal anyways? Because in our mind we believe if we complete the task perfectly it will buy our ticket to freedom, peace, pride, and happiness down the road. The problem is that part of your mind is your egoist, fearful mind that always needs something to feel fulfilled. However, how long does that ever last? Happiness from external objects only last as long as the item, which is never that long, and the mind creates new desires quickly. So learn to let go of “doing your best,” especially when taking on a spring detox such as a juice fast or other dietary change. There will always be room for improvement, ALWAYS! Again, instead of focusing on what’s unfinished and what’s wrong, focus on what’s to come, what you are learning, and the peace that comes with knowing you are always in the process.
- Happily Achieve: We tend to live life in a hurried fashion here in the Western World. We are overly competitive, rushed, and frightened. We have taught our brains to act in a state of haste in order to achieve. Somewhere in our cultural condition we gained a disempowering belief that pain is the only motivator to achieve anything, that if we are angry enough and scared enough we will finally take action. This holds true to the human psyche. However, eventually pain wears and when the pain is gone we find a way out. When pain is the only motivator for our success—for example, when someone develops a disease and are motivated into becoming healthy—a lot of the times, people who act out of fear fall right back into their old habits once they regain health. The reason is that they never let the power of passion or pleasure fuel their habits. When we link happiness and a positive outcome with our goals, we are less stressed and enjoy the process of our achievements. Instead of acting out of fear, learn to act in spite of fear. Tell yourself that it might be scary and challenging at times, but you know there is the immediate reward of self-confidence and internal self-love for following your plans. You may not be able to keep this all in your head, so write it down where you can see it often. This year as you spring clean, instead of your weight problems, skin problems, and list of other problems being your motivation, write down a long list of the positive motivators. How will your life become more exciting, loving, and fulfilling by improving your diet and lifestyle?
Remember, life is too important to take so seriously. Enjoy yourself, treasure yourself, and honor all your actions and achievements this spring with refreshing thoughts by looking at the how far you’ve come, finding the beauty in imperfection, and of course, always remaining grateful for all that you have. Happy Cleansing!