By Milka Gronlund, Ph.D., Psy.D.
Are you ready to start a new lifestyle? Most of us are very familiar with how we feel after eating foods that are unhealthy for us. Bloated, puffy, tired, irritable, nauseated and moody might be some of the ways to describe this unfortunate situation. The intention of this article is to discuss various forms of detoxification for better health and well-being. It is not necessarily a complete list of things to consider, however it does provide a direction to start with. There are many ways to detoxify your body, mind and spirit. These might include not just the physical body, but also emotional and spiritual wellness, relationships in our lives, foods that we eat and the lifestyle we lead. Awareness in these matters is very helpful in order to be able to make positive changes that become a lasting part of your new lifestyle. There are natural ways to balance the body, mind and spirit. Cleaning all of all areas in one’s life can have a powerful impact on the sense of well being and happiness. How would you feel if you detoxified your body, mind & spirit, and in the process created a clean lifestyle with optimal wellness, lowered stress levels clarity and energy to enjoy it all.
Areas to Consider in the Process of Creating the New You
- Exercise. It can “help your body to eliminate toxins and it is essential part of any detoxification” or wellness program. It comes with other benefits, such as “increased stamina, flexibility and strength, which as are all beneficial for greater well being (Rose, Sara. p. 72). There are many forms of exercise, such as yoga, Pilates, strength training, running, dancing, martial arts, team sports, golf and cycling. It is important to pick a form of exercise that you enjoy and look forward to. This makes it easier to stick to your new healthy lifestyle and have fun in the process.
- Food intake and eating patterns. Eating often falls in various categories, which might include eating junk food, celebration with food, eating comfort food, social eating with peer pressure, binge eating, stress related eating, food to soothe emotional pain, covering up emotions with food in presence of others and eating for optimal wellness. Learning to eat healthy foods with appreciative and health promoting mindset can be very nurturing and supportive of your overall health. www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker website offers a free tracking tool for nutritional information.
- Toxic substances. They can create a very unhealthy situation in many areas in your life. Changing alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sugar and other addictive substances to a balanced, active, nutritionally sound and harmonious lifestyle can create an experience that is very healing and nurturing to you. Additionally it can be very supportive of good long-term health, longevity and prevention of diseases.
- Lifestyle habits. Replacing toxic habits such as drinking with health promoting ones can have a powerful impact on your sense of well-being. Some examples of positive and health promoting lifestyle habits are proper sleep, laughter, yoga, relaxation, spending time with supportive friends, proper exercise and healthy diet.
- Spiritual well-being. Having a sense of purpose, feeling centered, following your calling, feeling blessed and being grateful might be beneficial to our overall well-being, for experiencing joy and for a deeper sense of happiness. Lack of appreciation and gratefulness along with lack of peace, harmony and calm within oneself can be hindering your spiritual well-being and health.
- Clean foods. Healthy, nutritious and cleansing foods can help you detox your body and also maintain your status thereafter. The purpose of eating cleansing foods is to support the body, as they are “health-giving” and “supportive” of your organ functions. Some herbs with medicinal properties for detoxification include: “dandelion, parsley, fennel, ginger, milk thistle, rosemary and turmeric”. Some fruits and vegetables with detoxifying properties include: carrots, beets, cabbage, celery, onions, apples, papaya and pineapple”. Be sure to discuss any dietary changes with your doctor (Dr. Christina Scott-Moncrieff, p 74-78).
- Yoga. It is not just relaxing and calming, but also highly beneficial for our health. Yoga offers detoxification of the body, mind and spirit. It might allow one to become more aware of the negative effects of harmful substances, stress and unhealthy lifestyle habits. The consumption of unhealthy foods, toxic chemicals and stimulants is hard on the internal organs. Yoga might help balance the body without hurting it (Patel, P. 168-169).
- Meditation and Relaxation. It “refers to a thinking process that is a mental.” There are many types of meditation practices, with different additional benefits (Pratima Raichur, p. 314). Meditation can be very beneficial in lowering stress levels and calming the busy mind. It can also create a relaxation response, which is “opposite of the stress response”, which has been linked to physical illnesses, that are related to stress. Relaxation has been linked to the “prevention of stress-related illnesses” (Allison, Nancy, C.M.A, p 286-287). Meditation does not have to take a lot of time, be complex or difficult to do. Establishing routine with time and space for meditation in your daily routine is a great way to start. Working with a qualified professional is very helpful when getting started, learning and practicing meditation. www.affirmations.webs.com website offers relaxation audio and positive affirmations to support an ongoing stress management program.
Establishing new lifestyle habits and new routines can be overwhelming. We are often creatures of our own habits and we prefer to repeat our actions from one day to another. Please remember to listen to your body for feedback and work with appropriate health and wellness professionals for optimal results. This is not intended to be a complete detoxification, wellness, nutrition, counseling or exercise program. It is best to work with a team of appropriate professionals for optimal results and for increased support in each specific area. Always do listen to your body and be very sensitive to the needs of your body.
- Patel, Nita. Total Yoga. Thunder Bay press. San Diego, CA. 2003 Yoga Journal online. http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/therapeutic_focus/t_anxiety, http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/therapeutic_focus/t_stress, and http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/therapeutic_focus/t_anxiety Retrieved 5/3/10
- Positive Affirmations, www.affirmations.webs.com
- Raichur, Pratima. “Absolute Beauty- Radiant Skin and Inner harmony”. Harper Collings publishers. New York, New York. 1997
- Rose, Sara. “Detox- the Process of Cleansing and Restoration”. Parragon Publishing. Bath BA1 1HE, United Kingdom. 2004
- USDA, www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker