Spring is the season of fresh starts and renewal. My mantra during spring is often “Out with the old and in with the new.” This notion is what leads many of us to tidy up and clean our homes during the transition from winter to spring. In a similar way, spring often sends us to clean up our health — making it a popular time to detox the body and lose weight.
The symbolism of rebirth and new life that is synonymous with the spring season can be applied to the mind. Spring can be the perfect time to detox your mind, reenergize your routine and mindset, and assess what in your life is working — and what isn’t. With a little guidance, you can make your routines more efficient and energizing, and let go of any habits, beliefs, or parts of your life that are no longer serving you — to make space for what is new and fresh.
Just like when you go on a detox diet to flush out the toxins from your body and cleanse your internal organs, it’s also helpful to flush out toxins from the mind. Mental and emotional toxins often go unnoticed, but they are just as essential to tidy up given the era of digital overload we live in and the busyness our lives can become. Mind clutter can lead to:
- Lack of focus
- Overwhelm and over commitment
- Communication breakdowns
- Mistakes and errors
- Health issues
To avoid these pitfalls, jump-start the process of uncluttering your mind—and reenergizing yourself this spring. Follow these steps to learn how to detox your mind.
1. Set an Intention
A helpful way to begin the detox process is to set an intention for the season, or next chapter of your life. This helps you step into a new dynamic in a conscious way, instead of leaving it up to chance. Take an inventory of all the ways you wish to grow in your life — dream big in terms of where you want to be. If you could identify a word of phrase that describes the overarching feeling of what you want to achieve, what would it be?
When you think of this intention, write it down in a place you see often so you can remind yourself of your highest intention for the season.
2. Spend Time Outdoors
Time spent outside has the power to invite encouragement, inspiration, and increased energy levels to your mind and body. It’s also improves overall physical and mental health, lowers stress levels, enhances the ability to concentrate, and quiets the mind. With this kind of power, getting outdoors may just be the best way to detox your mind.
Yet, according to the Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology as surveyed in 44 U.S. cities, Americans only spend 2 percent of their time outdoors, 6 percent in transit, and 92 percent of their time indoors. Yes, you heard that correctly: Americans spend only 2 percent of their time outdoors.
Spring is a great time to break out of the bubble and get outside. Go for a walk, hit the park, lie in a hammock, or start a garden. After all, the sun is shining and the birds are singing.
3. Schedule Time and Space Without Technology
In order to get into a deeper state of self-reflection and mental clarity, you’ll want to set aside time without distractions — to detach from the nonstop electronic and social demands on daily life.
Carve out time away from your smart phone, access to social media, and steady stream of texts, calls, and emails. When you are at the mercy of notifications, it means you are living according to someone else’s agenda. When you detach from these things, you are in charge of your time. The best way to do this is to set up tech-free boundaries in advance. Here are some ideas:
- Go for a walk every day without your phone.
- Ditch your phone one day a week. If that is too much, try a half-day or a four-hour tech-free window once a week.
- Silence your notifications and phone for a one- or two-hour window every day.
- Disconnect from electronics 30 minutes before bedtime each night and don’t reconnect until a specified time each morning (i.e. after your workout, meditation, or conversation with spouse.)
- Designate a room or zone in your house where electronics are not allowed — and have all members of the household stick to those rules.
- Create conscious intentions around picking up your phone: ask yourself, “Do I really need that info or do I need something else?”
The average human mind has at least 50,000 thoughts every day, which means you have a new thought about every 1.2 seconds. This is why the human mind is often referred to as the monkey mind. It’s easy for the mind to follow the many random thoughts and get lost and distracted from priorities, so having a way to detox your mind is important to help you keep your focus.
Meditation is an effective way to help calm the monkey mind. When you practice focusing on one thing at a time during meditation, you become more adept at focusing on one thing at a time in other areas of your life, too —essentially making the unhelpful and distracting thoughts that enter your mind less important, and enhancing your ability to focus on what needs your attention. This is how meditation helps you detox your mind and enhance your ability to focus.
Not into meditation? Here are 10 ways to clear your mind without meditating.
5. Journal or Vent
Sometimes you just need to get out what’s on your mind. Try setting a timer for 30 minutes and doing a brain dump of all of the things you want to complain about or challenges you are struggling with to let it all go and detox your mind from those nagging worries.
If you are journaling, write down anything that’s been bugging you. The people that get under your skin, the details that irritate you, and the problems that are in front of you.
If you are venting to a friend, give them a heads up that you need to get some things off your chest, and ask for their permission. Perhaps they need to unload also and you can take turns. The goal here isn’t necessarily to find solutions — although if you’re open to solutions, you can let them know. The goal is just to let it out.
Unload it all so it doesn’t have to weigh as heavy on your mind. When you’re finished, take a few cleansing breaths and reset your attention on your intention for the new season.
6. Ask Yourself Some Important Questions
Now is the time to take inventory of where you are in life and what you want to focus on and release. Ask yourself:
- What’s working in my life, and what’s not?
- What could be improved?
- Are there any relationships in my life that are not offering me value or joy?
- What is one bad habit that I feel ready to break?
- Are there any activities, events, routines, or tasks in my life that are not worthy of my time and attention?
- What’s the biggest mistake I’ve made this year so far, and what did I learn from it?
- What do I really want?
- What obstacle(s) is in my way of achieving this goal?
As you go through these questions, consider any roadblocks that are keeping you from being where you want to be. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself in identifying where those roadblocks are coming from — whether externally or within your own state of mind.
7. Let Go
Reflect on your responses and goals in life. What or who may be in the way of achieving your goals in life? What are you ready to release from your life in order to create space for something new? This could be a job, relationship, type of food, emotion, responsibility, limiting belief, time commitment, chore, or otherwise. Write down as many things as you can think of that are standing in between you and your success and happiness.
Then, commit to let it go.
8. Trim the Excess Fat from Your Calendar
After you’ve answered the tough questions and decided on what you want to let go of in your life, go through your calendar and remove anything that does not align with your highest intention and biggest priorities. If it’s not serving you, release it and take it off your calendar to create space for the things that light you up and move you forward in the right ways.
9. Say No
Now that you’ve detoxed your calendar of non-essentials, don’t add anything new that you don’t wish you add!
If you have a habit of being a people pleaser, or if you often find yourself overbooked or overwhelmed because you too-quickly say yes to requests for your time, take heed. While saying NO is very difficult for some people, it’s one of the most effective ways to keep your mind clutter and stress in check.
If you are not incredibly judicious about what you agree to, it means you will have to say NO to some of the things you truly care about — no one has enough time to do all the things they want to do, so life becomes a process of prioritizing the things that are most important and nearest to your heart.
If you have trouble saying NO and are trying to detox your mind, follow the advice in this article about how to say no with grace and diplomacy.
Come back to your intention from Step 1, and imagine that this intention is already part of your life. Visualize for a moment that you’ve already embodied it fully. As if you’ve already integrated this intention into every area of your life, notice all of the details that come along with this. Observe how you feel in this imagined future and explore what your life looks like, with this intention being brought to life.
Whenever you feel like you need to de-stress, de-clutter, and detox your mind, follow these 10 steps and enjoy the clarity that follows.
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As an ICF Certified Executive Coach, Melissa partners with leaders to develop their executive presence, strategic and systems thinking, resilience, communication skills, and influence in order to reach their goals. Melissa is passionate about supporting leaders and teams on their growth journeys toward greater impact, more collaborative teams, and stronger results.