It’s post silly season and like so many people I’ve got clean living on my mind, again. Over the years I’ve been on all manner of prescribed detoxes, cleanses and fasts but these days I tend to take a more sustainable approach to it - you can read the February health article for my main tips on this.
What I find more and more interesting for achieving optimal physical health, beyond all the “eat well and exercise regularly” stuff we’ve had drummed into us for years……is finding emotional and mental clarity. After years of working as a health professional, and even longer working on my own health, I’ve noticed that there are just some things that each of us struggle to move past, regardless of how clean our diet and lifestyle is. It could be shifting that excess weight that has crept on, getting on top of those allergies or other chronic conditions, or in my current case, having a healthy pregnancy. I can’t speak for what mental or emotional barriers you may be carrying, even some of mine still elude me, but I believe we all carry some and that they have a really powerful ability to manifest in our body (hello mind-body connection, or psycho-somatic link if you prefer).
Now a common catch-all that is used in cases where the cause of our physical condition can’t be pin-pointed is “stress”. I certainly agree that stress can cause all sorts of physical and emotional havoc. But the question that really needs to be addressed is why are you reacting to the situation that way? Why is this thing causing you to feel so stressed out?
“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s what you’re made of, not the circumstance.”
So how do we improve our reaction to stressful situations? Well I think we need to have a regular assessment of our mental and emotional state, part of that includes addressing things rather than shutting them in a cupboard in the back of your mind where they’re likely to jump out and bite you on the bum later on (like literally manifest as some form of physical injury, maybe not on your bum….but somewhere). You may approach this by taking time for a little self-inquiry and self-awareness, seeing if you can identify things that push your buttons, and then of course try to figure out ways to diffuse the triggers (hint: yoga is really good for this). Of course the stubborn, old things we’ve held onto for years may take a little longer to diffuse, but I really believe you will feel so much better, physically and mentally for dealing with them and letting them go. There is room in all of our lives for a bit more self-reflection and honesty into our emotional and mental behaviour and beliefs without the fear of becoming narcissistic.
So if you’re thinking about a detox, don’t forget to take some time for a wee mental tidy too, it may just be the key to improving your health.
If you’re interested in learning more about how yoga philosophy can help to bring about increased self-awareness, acceptance and transform the negative into the positive then I recommend reading up on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which goes into the 8 limbs of yoga – there are some easily digestible articles on Patanjali’s original writings.