Emotional Detox

emotional_detox Alright ladies and gents -- we're about to get down to some real talk. Life isn't all almond milk and organic produce. Things can get seriously serious and downright dicey at times.

Every so often life seems to have its way with us. Maybe you're experiencing a falling out with a friend, a painful breakup, or any kind of loss that has absolutely crushed your spirit. Maybe you've gotten caught up in the details for far too long and lost your 10,000 ft view. And sometimes it's a mix of everything and you're in so deep that you can't even see straight. It really doesn't matter what has set you off balance -- I have found that the way to get centered is similar every time.

{{ NOTE: I'm not here to say: "You have no right to be sad because your life is better than (starving kids in Africa/someone with a terminal illness/etc...)" While that may be true, that doesn't mean that we don't all get emotionally derailed at times. However, this might not be for the folks who constantly are feeling sorry for themselves (the world owes you nothing, I'm sorry). This is for the folks who know how great they have it and want to capture that happiness again. To find stability, you gotta be ready and willing. }}

Here are five ways I reclaim my emotional balance:

  1. Regain Your Perspective...Or Find a New One.

    So you thought one way, and then something happened, and now you have to change your thinking. That's life y'all! Netwon's first law applies emotionally as well. Your thought process that is in motion will stay in motion -- unless it is interrupted by an unbalanced force. This unbalanced force is whatever big trauma (or small drama) that came in and wrecked the whole damn thing. That's alright though, it's good (and healthy) to change it up every so often.

    In college I was experiencing a time of imbalance. I was lost (as any 20 year old constantly is), and laughing with one of my professors about this supremely cliche young adult problem I was having. He told me something I will literally never forget, "Nothing is permanent."  It's so obvious, but hearing someone else say it was the affirmation I was looking for. Since then, I constantly remind myself of this (thank you Dr. Gary Scudder!).

  2. Break the Pattern.

    Think about the things you may be carrying from previous experiences. Concentrate on those, down to the most intimate details. Replay it in your head (this will be painful, but exposing the wound to air is the only way it'll heal), and really understand what happened and why you are still carrying it. Address that it was a hurtful situation. This could bring on feelings on anger, sadness, resent -- but, really, laying blame won't get you any closer to letting it go. Oh, they made you feel bad about yourself because of x, y, and z? Great. Now get over the blame game.

    Releasing these issues allows for you to be free! If you continue to carry them, you likely will hurt someone else in the same way you were hurt and perpetuate a vicious cycle. These things are contagious! Removing yourself from harmful patterns will be difficult, but it truly is as simple as changing your thought process. It takes awareness and the will to work at it. Literally, that's it. Don't "try to change" -- just change. Little tough love for ya.

  3. Appreciation & Gratitude.

    So you lost someone or something that you cared deeply about. That is sad. That sucks. But, what about the million things that are still around you to appreciate? Maybe remind yourself that one person chose to remove themselves from you, not the 7 billion others on this planet?

    Do exactly what you feel like doing. If you want to go out, go out. If you want to stay in and watch Netflix/go on a cleaning binge/lay in bed staring at the ceiling, do that. I kinda strongly believe that you're allowed a certain amount of time for dealing in any way you see fit as long as it isn't hurt you or others (so like -- as much as you would like to not show up to work/break things/punch someone, resist).

    How about your other friends? What about strangers that smile at you? The zucchini bread your roommate makes. The feeling you get when you're able to disconnect and go for a walk in the woods. The cats that roam your driveway in the morning. Whatever makes you feel good. Whatever those things are, focus on those. When you wake up, and before you fall asleep, review one or two (or ten!) of these things. Reflect on why they make you happy and then find ways to work them into your life more often.

  4. Find Your Totem.

    This doesn't have to be as profound and serious as it sounds. Your totem is just an object or thought that has important meaning to you. It doesn't matter what it is or isn't -- it only matters that it brings you happiness.Don't judge yourself. It's not like this object or though has any sort of direct magical properties. The purpose of it is simply to displace some of your negative or sad feelings. It's just another small thing to concentrate on that isn't the emotional trauma you're currently facing. And if you're willing, it can help a lot.

    On a particularly difficult morning, a rock caught my eye in the driveway. I got into my car, but felt so compelled that I actually got back out and grabbed it. I didn't question why, I just did it. I liked the way it felt in my hand, the way it looked -- it just felt special to me. I carry this with me when I'm having a rough day. It's just a small thing that makes me feel more stable and grounded.

  5. Laugh it off.

    My brain is always looking for the joke. The funny part in any shitty situation. I can literally be in the middle of a deeply emotional and serious conversation, and make a joke about the strange sounds coming from my stomach (this is real, and it did happen). Laugh it off. That doesn't mean that life is a total crapshoot, but you can't tell me that a little comic relief ever hurt anybody. For me, personally, this is actually the most powerful step in the process of finding emotional balance again. Nothing works faster, or supplies such instant gratification. Real laughter immediately alleviates stress and sadness. Laughter is what makes me feel the most life-full.

    And if you're not laughin',  you better find something hilarious right now. SUREFIRE WAYS: Most things on Buzzfeed (espeically those Autocorrect Fails), Jim Carrey's Ace Ventura movies, and this video on YouTube.


When you face your emotional stress, and address it directly, all it takes is the want to find the light again. Willingness is the only real secret.

LivingJordan LaCount