Emotional Detox in 4 Steps

What a funny word! “Detox” has so many negative connotations. In this instance, it means letting go or releasing the unnecessary emotions we gather through the year.

Through the year we accumulate emotions. This is a wonderful thing, as long as we also release them in a timely manner. We experience loss, tragedy, joy, excitement, anticipation, comfort, love, and on and on. Once we experience these emotions, we often hold on to them, as if they will never return to us. This causes a block in our soul – a sense of being overwhelmed. What we need to do is acknowledge their worth, and then find appropriate means for letting them go.

Think of emotions like money.

The more you work to earn money, the more money you make, right? The same is true with emotions. The more you experience life, the more emotions you feel. And, every emotion has a value and purpose.

Lets take it one step further. Say you are one of those people who works hard and you make a lot of money. What would happen if you decide not to spend another dime? What if you want to keep it in a pretty little box under the bed.

Eventually, your bedroom would be full of these funny looking pieces of green paper. Green doesn't even match your decorating scheme! It would become a nuisance, right? Cleaning around them. Moving around them. Finding other creative hiding places for them. It would take up a lot of your time just figuring out where to put the next dollar. You would end up working less because you were taking care of the green mess in your house.

The best way to fix this growing problem is to GET RID OF YOUR MONEY! I am not telling you to spend every penny in a retail store because then you would be bringing home more stuff to clutter your house. I am telling you to spend it where necessary, and invest what you want. The same is true with your emotions – quick “surface” fixes that will only add to the emotional clutter.

There are several simple things you can do to find meaningful ways to express yourself and let go of the excess.

Here are four simple action steps to emotionally detox:

1. Make a list of 5 negative events that happened this year. If necessary, write out all of the details. Now, make a list of the positive outcomes that resulted from those events. This may be difficult, but trust me on this. If you are having a hard time finding the positive points, write this statement: “The positive outcome of ________ is that I survived.” Then, shred the negative events page. Refer to the positive outcome page when the old emotions come up.

2. Find a small stone or piece of jewelry that you are willing to keep with you or wear every day for two weeks. Every time an old emotion comes up,follow this ritual: hold the stone in your hand, close your eyes, take a breath in as you think “I have this old stuff,” breathe out as you think “and now I let release it to make room for newness.” After two weeks, leave the stone at home, trusting that you have released all you need to release. Yeah, this one is a little fru-fru, but I know it works – the power of ritual :-)

3. Everyone has a preferred method of expression. For me, it is music. For my best friend, it is photography. For another friend, it is solitude and writing. Other examples are: volunteering, art, social interaction, communication, research, reading, exercise, the list goes on and on. Find your method of expression. Most of us know what it is, but we either deny it or ignore it. We tend to hold our emotions in more when we neglect this expressive part of ourselves. Get reconnected with this part of you. Find ways to engage in it at least once per week for a month, even if it does not directly relate to the emotions you want to release. You may bee surprised to see how engaging with your core self allows you to release seemingly unrelated events!

4. Find a local seminar or group dedicated to releasing the past, such as “The Art of Letting Go” Seminar. It is a place to take time for yourself, and with the help of a professional, find healing for the old wounds – big and small – that continue to weigh us down. There are other similar seminars in all parts of the country. Take advantage of this type of community event!

Author's Bio: 

Sybil R Smith is a life coach and expressive arts therapist. She has a wide range of expertise, including music therapy, hospice, child psychotherapy, EMDR, and a M.A. degree in marriage and family therapy. She has helped clients deal with a range of issues including anxiety and panic disorders, life transitions, depression, and grief. Her mission is to show people how to live empowered lives so they can move past therapy and into forward motion. Sybil R Smith uses her training as a musician and performer to present creative ways to help move people through anxiety, depression, and grief to create smooth and joy-filled transitions. You can sign up for her thought-provoking EZine and meet her at www.sybilRsmith.com.