I recently had a night where I just couldn't sleep. I couldn't blame it on the baby, though I was tempted to. I was up. Grinding my jaw. Worrying. Sleep would come mercifully here and there, but it was never deep and truly restful. I know what this means, I thought to myself. It's time for a spiritual detox.
Just like the body, the soul needs occasional, mindful cleansing. We're barraged by media of all kinds, and it's all too easy to consume spiritual junk food.
Are you aware of when you might need a spiritual detox? In other words, are you aware of when you're feeding your spirit too much junk for the soul to feel good?
Just in case you aren’t following, here are some spiritual junk food items that you can become addicted to:
- Endless Facebooking
- Constant patrolling of TMZ’s Twitter feed
- Compulsive digging into the latest from Perez Hilton
- Grand Theft Auto 5
- Binge-watching Netflix
Of course, there's nothing wrong with these “junk food” items in moderation, but it's possible to go overboard. The result can be toxic to your soul.
Here are some signs you might need a spiritual detox:
- You find yourself scrolling through your newsfeed seeking negativity. Misery loves company.
- You open your mouth and spew sarcasm unintentionally. You try to be more mindful when you speak, but you can’t seem to help yourself.
- Your friends don't want to be around you.
- Your heart hurts. Or worse, it doesn’t. You are numb.
- You find pleasure in other people’s misfortunes. (Again, misery loves company.)
- Happy people piss you off. You don’t even want to hear the word "joy."
- You don’t sleep well. You’re having bad dreams and catch yourself grinding your jaw. A lot.
- You keep finding yourself in circumstances where you feel like the victim.
- You shy away from prayer, meditation, anything inspirational.
- You are bored — all the time.
- You can’t even remember the last time you took a walk, watched the sunset or sunrise, walked barefoot in the grass, or felt the summer breeze on your face.
Here are a few ways to engage in a spiritual detox. Remember, please do so with compassion. Above all else, be kind to yourself. We are all doing the best we can, and everyone wants to be happy and free from suffering.
1. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and genuinely make you happy.
Laughter is good for your soul. Seek the company of those who make you feel light and buoyant. Don’t question why you enjoy someone. Just enjoy them.
2. Uplift others.
When you feel downtrodden, it can be helpful to find the things you enjoy about others and to offer that feedback liberally. It’s important to remember that the things we see in others are also reflections of ourselves. Find a way to connect with and uplift someone. Attend a yoga class, read a blog, take a spin class — reach out to your favorite wellness warrior and uplift them. You'll feel better almost instantly.
3. Try shifting your addiction to kindness.
Kindness is a drug. When you extend, witness or receive an act of kindness, your body releases serotonin, an endorphin. As cliché as it may be, practice a random act of kindness. You'll feel delicious in doing so.
4. Make time and space to develop a meditation practice.
Meditation soothes the soul. There are incredible sites and courses to lead you through meditations if you don’t already have a meditation practice. Turning inward is a beautiful way to clear away the muck of spiritual junk food. Listening to your internal wisdom is a quick path to shedding that which does not serve you.
5. Get in touch will all of your senses.
Go outside. Enjoy the summer weather. Move, sweat, breathe. This will bring you into a visceral experience of the magic of this life. And it is so worth it.
6. Seek something sacred.
Turn to joy. At our essence, our foundation, we are spiritual beings who share a human experience. Sometimes the heaviness of our human experience can weigh us down. It’s important to remember that you are more than this physical body. You are expansive consciousness incarnate. As such, you can find and experience joy even within difficult circumstances. You mindfully start training yourself to start looking for the gift in the moment. Like anything worth practicing, it can be difficult at first. Over time, it becomes simple and easy.
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