Detox Time: Part Deux

On Friday I went over the best way to dietarily detox ones body, now we’re going to look into how to detox our bodies emotionally.

You see, in order to efficiently ‘detox’, one must emotionally detox too. That’s what the Chill Out part in Chill Out and Get Healthy means.

In Oriental Medicine we believe that each and every disease (where dis-ease means any dis-comfort or dis-harmony) has an emotional component. For instance if someone comes into my office with TMJ, it’s often associated with what we would call “repressed emotions”. The way I often see it, and of course I am generalizing here, it’s as if this person suffering with TMJ is walking around with constant tension and perhaps, repressed anger, which makes them constantly clench their jaw… and, voila, they have TMJ. It usually takes many years of a repressed emotion to show up with a physical manifestation, but believe you me, it happens.

This is where the importance of the emotional detox comes in. In Oriental Medicine theory, any emotion over experienced can cause physical harm to our body (read more about this here).

So what can we do?

Well, there are a few things that are helpful.

First and foremost, get in touch with your emotions. Feel them in your body. See what they do to your physical self. Take note of what emotion you feel when you wake up in the morning. When you get to work. When you see your partner. When your mother calls. When you have to sit down and pay your bills. You get it, right? It’s all about being present in your body and your mind and recognizing your emotional states and where you seem to “hold” them in your body.

Some people hold them in their jaw (and get TMJ); some in their stomach and suffer with IBS (or some sort of gastro-intestinal symptom); some in their neck and get tension headaches; some in their chest and suffer from anxiety and heart palpitations. There’s a plethora of places we hold our emotions. Getting in tune with this self-induced emotional “toxification” will benefit your health tremendously.

Next, I want you to let it go. You can do it. Just feel what you feel, say how it is you are feeling (even if its only to yourself) and then make the conscious-whole-hearted decision to just let it go. It’s not that hard. Just, make the choice and let it go. The key here is to be present. To be in your body and feel that emotion rather than just being a constant reactionary robot of your emotions.

A reactionary robot?

Yes. You know, how every time you walk into the office you get tense. Or every time you see a certain co-worker you seethe. Or how you get anxious at the thought of the Yankees not making it to the post-season again. Instead of just getting tense, anxious or boiling over, check in with yourself, feel the emotion–recognize what it’s doing to your body–and then make the conscious decision to NOT be a function of your emotions.

Let it go.

Chill out.

Expressing emotion is the ultimate way to mentally detox. Try some of these tools to manage your emotions and free yourself from emotional toxification:

* Exercise. This is probably the best way to relieve tension and stress. Do it in whatever form works for you. A run. A long walk. A boogie down in your living room to your favorite tune. A round in the ring. A few kicks to a bag. Just get it out. Put that pent up energy some place else other than your precious body.

* Write. Journaling ones thoughts and emotions, although it sounds trite, is a phenomenal way to unleash the toxic demons of repressed emotions.

* Meditate. Breathe it out. One breath at a time. It’s so much easier than you think. And, whoa what a difference it makes!

* Read. One of my favorite books at this moment in time (I’ve probably recommended it to a handful of you already) is Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”. Give it a read. Sure, it’s one of those cliche self-help books, but as a friend of mine recently said, after I had given him the book, “I think this book has changed my life.” It’s worth the read.

* And, don’t forget to chill out because, seriously, life is just too damn short.

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