This time of year inspires many of us to get our physical bodies in better shape and perhaps do a little detoxing from unhealthy foods and substances. But to truly feel good and not just look good, we need to get our mind, emotional body and spirit in tip-top shape as well.
Think about how your relationships, behaviors and thoughts influence the quality of your life. Relationships can consume a great deal of our time, emotions and energy. Behaviors create results and consequences. And thoughts are the soundtrack of our daily experience. If there is toxicity or negativity in any of these areas, what happens? We feel upset, frustrated, stressed and so on. And I know you know that consuming these feelings on a regular basis is not good for your overall health!
Today my invitation is to identify a toxic relationship in your life, behavior you engage in, and thought you think on a regular basis. By toxic I mean it is negatively influencing the quality of your life in some way. And now get ready for some detoxing?
Let’s start with a relationship that is depleting you – and I am not only talking about romantic relationships. You may physically be in a relationship with someone that you know is toxic OR you may be still attached to someone you are not in an active relationship with by stalking that person on Facebook, continuing to talk about him/her with your friends and/or obsessing about that person on a regular basis.
Disconnecting means cutting all ties to the relationship. We end it by initiating a break-up, stopping communication, defriending on Facebook, and bringing that relationship to completion. Often times we try to draw out relationships we know are toxic using the excuse of needing closure or not wanting to upset anyone. But prolonging the end of a relationship that you know is unhealthy is like ripping a band-aid off slowly…it prolongs the pain! Granted not all relationships can be brought to an end especially with colleagues or family members. That is when we have the choice to disengage from internal and external actions that perpetuate the toxicity of the relationship. Setting boundaries, speaking our truth, and limiting contact with someone are all examples of disengaging.
Next turn your attention to a particular behavior that you know is creating undesirable results in your life. Perhaps it is over-eating, going to bed too late, gossiping, or driving too fast. Understand that repetitive behaviors create neural pathways in our brain that create the experience of feeling like something is a habit; we all know habits can be challenging to break. But here is the good news: we are extremely capable of forming new habits! To detox a behavior that is not creating the kind of results you want in life, commit to engaging in a more supportive behavior every day for forty days in a row so that it becomes a habit. And voila! New neural pathways in your brain will be formed making it easier to engage in a healthier behavior.
Finally bring your awareness to a particular toxic thought such as negative judgments about yourself/others, irrational fears, or what-if’s. To detox that thought, go on a thought diet by decreasing the charge of the thought. Let’s use a popular toxic thought that I see in my coaching practice: “I am not good enough.” That is a heavy thought loaded with judgment calories! A healthier serving of thought could be: “I am doing the best I can” or “I am not better or no worse than anyone else.” When reframing your thoughts it is important to consume ones that are still believable but feel better.
As you shape up for summer by detoxing relationships, behaviors and thoughts it is natural to experience some withdrawal symptoms and maybe even “fall off the wagon.”
The important thing is that you quickly recognize the toxicity and realign to healthier choices. I assure you that cleaning up your relationships, behaviors and thoughts yields more substantial benefits than looking good in a swimsuit. Believe me, no one has ever found peace, fulfillment or lasting happiness from having six-pack abs.
To your health,
P.S. I have a new podcast where I coach people LIVE on the air. Head over to Over it and On With It and listen in for inspiration and action steps.
Christine Hassler has broken down the complex and overwhelming experience of recovering from disappointment into a step-by-step treatment plan in her new book Expectation Hangover. This book reveals the formula for how to process disappointment on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels to immediately ease suffering. Instead of wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, or anger, we can see these experiences as catalysts for profound transformation and doorways that open to possibility. You can find more info on her website, and follow her on Twitter and FB.
Image courtesy of skeeze.