When it comes to our bodies, we know that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the occasional detox or cleanse are beneficial to our health.
But what about when it comes to our minds? Just as our bodies retain toxins and waste, our minds hold on to toxic outlooks and attitudes. A poisonous mentality can sour pretty much every life event.
Start this year on the right foot by cleansing your outlook with this seven-day mental detox. Take on each day's exercise, and by the end of the week you'll feel more settled and at peace in your mind.
Day 1: Be more mindful of your surroundings.
In today's world, everyone is influenced by environmental triggers — whether they be stories in the media, advertisements on billboards, or social media posts from friends. It's important to be aware of those outside influences and analyze the impact they have on your mental state. Today, work to become mindfully aware of how your surroundings make you feel.
As you go about your day, stop once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once before bed to jot down notes on the day's events and how they made you feel. Were you stressed, invigorated, overwhelmed? No judgment, just journaling. Work to come up with ways to phase out the activities that negatively affected you and play up the positive ones.
Day 2: Get rid of clutter.
When our day or week isn't planned, it often leaves us feeling powerless in our own lives. On Day 2, mentally organize your day from morning to night. It’s best to use a day planner or lined notebook. Pencil in your schedule and avoid the temptation to fill in every single time slot. If an interruption in the schedule arises as the day goes on, add it to the calendar too. Keep yourself focused and clear by knowing what you need to be doing when, and actually do it! You won't have to wonder what happened to the day — you will know and it will lead to increased confidence and security in the days to come.
Day 3: Let go of obsessions.
You likely hear the sentence "I have so much going on" in daily conversation. Maybe you even say it yourself from time to time. Busy people can often list their never-ending montage of tasks verbatim and end with a flurry of “Whew!” They’re obsessed with handling every one of life's details and they love the feeling of control. But at the same time, they are stressed. If you find yourself overwhelmed with your to-do list, you need to let some things go. Today, look for ways to delegate your energy to those tasks that are most important and drop the rest.
Day 4: Count (and recount) your blessings.
Counting your blessings once a day just isn't enough to keep your mind feeling squeaky clean. Today, work to harness a constant stream of gratitude. Take a quiet moment to flip through your phone pictures and let joyous memories wash over you. Place sticky notes filled with positive mantras throughout your home and leave them there for the rest of the week.
Day 5: Hit fast-forward on the replays.
One of the most destructive games our minds play with itself is replaying painful events on a loop. Someone could have said or done something hurtful to us years ago, and our mind will hit rewind and punch play over and over again. When those negative thoughts arise today, press fast-forward to the present and focus on the positive things happening right now.
Day 6: Resist the reactive.
Today, it’s time to take a breath and think about the first five days of your mental resent. Did you respond mindfully to the situations placed in front of you? Where were you reactive? When did your mind and mouth get out of control? Take a few minutes to write those instances down and reflect. Ask yourself how you can respond differently next time.
Day 7: Scrub your brain.
One final exercise: Go back through your entire week and write down positive influences, great conversations, and celebrated wins. Remember those fun moments with friends. Recall that well-done work assignment. Scrub your brain with the good and positive. Help your mind become more aware of the wonderful things about life and overwrite those things that don’t deserve your attention.
Once you finish the seven-day mental detox, let a few of your favorite exercises become habit. Make them a part of your daily routine, and eventually you won't even realize you are doing them.
Paul Evans speaks, writes and consults in the area of accelerated achievement. He started his first business at the age of 20, a fitness center, and has been focused on growth and results ever since. Like most of us, Paul's turning point came through tragedy. The loss of his wife when their son was five weeks old created an intense focus to live on purpose. His mission is to help people get more done, in less time, more accurately.