5 Powerful Ways to Toss Toxic Thoughts with a Mind Detox
By Marilee Nelson |
If recent events have you stuck in a cycle of worry, mental fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, or chronic stress, it’s time to toss your toxic thoughts! Just like a detox cleanse purges your body of toxins or tossing the toxins to create a healthy home removes harmful chemicals from your environment, tossing toxic thoughts interrupts and uproots the negative thought patterns that perpetuate a state of chronic stress, fatigue, and pessimism. It also creates a renewed state of mental resilience, which is sorely needed during these uncertain and often tumultuous times. If you’re ready to shift your perspective and get your thoughts and your brain back on track, then join me as we explore five powerful ways to detox your toxic thoughts in the comfort of your own home.
First, we need to identify toxic thoughts and make stress management a top priority.
Before we dive into ways to toss toxic thoughts, we need to become aware of negative thoughts we may be harboring. This may seem like an obvious exercise, but it’s definitely worth a thorough look. I’ve included a list of toxic thoughts or emotions below alongside their healthier or more positive emotion.
- Fear | Courage
- Anxiety l Calm
- Shame l Confidence
- Worry l Trust
- Anger l Love
- Bitterness l Forgiveness or Understanding
- Pessimism l Optimism
- Envy l Encouragement
- Jealousy l Admiration
- Despair l Joy
- Hopelessness l Hope
Now that we’ve brought these thoughts into our awareness, let’s do a quick overview of why stress management is so important to mental health.
Did you know stress contributes to nearly every type of chronic degenerative disease?
In fact, studies have shown that stress directly affects our immune system by weakening our defenses and gut microbiome
#1: Expressive Writing
Expressive Writing is a form of journaling in which you write about a traumatic or difficult event in your life. Developed by Dr. James Pennebaker of the University of Texas and author of Writing to Heal: A guided journal for recovering from trauma and emotional upheaval, this powerful, simple, and no-cost tool has been proven to improve immunity
Studies show how expressive writing for just 15 minutes for four days boosts the immune system, physical well-being, and emotional status
To learn more, check out this video summary with Dr. Pennebaker.
#2: The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
The Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT utilizes simple skin tapping on nine specific acupuncture meridian points along with positive affirmations to help neutralize and eliminate negative emotions or trauma. While it may sound unusual, EFT has been shown effective in over 100 studies
The Tapping Solution has an app with many videos, including free guides.
#3: Retrain the Brain
This method goes a bit deeper by addressing neurological imbalances or injuries that create a heightened state of fight or flight (aka: chronic stress), which can lead to a variety of health conditions. The identification and removal of toxic thinking is the first step to retrain the brain. If you’re suffering from mysterious illness, chronic disease, or declining cognitive function holistic brain re-training is highly recommended. While there are many different programs and methods available, the reputable ones use a combination of natural therapies like mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, neural linguistic programming, visualizations, breath work, and more. They’re completely non-invasive, can be self-taught or learned with a coach, and are incredibly healing and empowering.
Two of my favorite science-backed programs are:
#4: Do a Mind Fast
Just as fasting from food can accelerate detoxification and weight-loss, “fasting” from thinking can help to accelerate detoxification of stored emotions that are adversely affecting the body--- even those that are not known by the conscious mind.
One well-known example is called “The Relaxation Technique” developed by Harvard cardiologist, Dr. Herbert Benson. The Relaxation Response is a way to turn off the “fight or flight stress response and help clear out stored negative emotions. You choose a single word to help focus your attention away from thoughts, and when a thought comes to mind you just recognize it and return to your word. When practiced regularly the body goes into what is the physiological opposite mode from the “Fight or Flight Stress Response”. The rest or fast from thinking facilitates the body going into a deep relaxation state, which allows the release of unconscious tension and stress which results in a freeing of the body’s healing energy.
#5: Focused Gratitude
No matter how busy we are we can always take a minute or two to express gratitude for something or someone. Research has shown that the more gratitude we have the less likely we are to experience depression, low self-esteem, or even suicidal tendencies...it’s that powerful
Practicing focused gratitude can be as simple as paying someone a compliment on a daily basis, or more intentional like writing down what you’re thankful for at the end of each day, praying, or meditating on your blessings. It may seem trivial, but its effects on happiness and increasing positive thinking cannot be underestimated.
For more inspiration and information on research, check out this article from Harvard Mental Health Letter: In Praise of Gratitude.
These are indeed unprecedented and challenging times, but a silver lining is that they do provide a unique opportunity to implement practices that help change our perspective, that will improve our mental wellness and resiliency for a lifetime. We’d love to hear your favorite healthy thinking tools, please share in the comments below.
Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.