5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Emotions
A new season always inspires us to reflect, set some new goals and focus on bringing more of what we want into our lives (and less of what we don’t).
We all know that in order to do that, you gotta make some space. And we don’t just mean in your closet (although that can totally help).
We mean in your mind.
Here are five ways to give all that stuff in your head a good ol’ loving spring cleaning, based on advice from veteran holistic physician and bestselling author Dr. Bradley Nelson, plus a few tips of our own.
5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Emotions
1. Find and release trapped emotions. Dr. Nelson says that unresolved emotions from negative and traumatic life experiences are responsible for guiding (or misguiding) our choices on a daily basis. “For example, if you have a trapped emotion of anger from a past event, you’ll be more likely to become angry when future situations arise that may upset you.” Becoming aware of and acknowledging feelings that lurk beneath the surface is important, he says.
How to do it: Dr. Nelson has a free guide on how to do this here and we’ve got more tips here.
2. Get serious about boundary setting. Don’t volunteer to take on additional tasks if it interferes with your health, your family, or your stress level, he says. It simply won’t be worth it.
How to do it: This podcast ep is all about it and gives some really great practical tips.
3. Make being active a daily habit. You don’t have to hit the gym every day, but do look for extra ways to move more — from walking to standing to playing. Movement is a great way to sweat some of those emotions out and naturally get your vibing higher.
How to do it: Try going for a meditative run or walk.
4. Be mindful when you eat. It’s easy to turn to food when difficult emotions arise. Really pay attention to when, why and what you’re eating. Are you really hungry? Are you full? Are you eating foods that are really serving your higher goals?
How to do it: See how you’re using food to serve your emotional needs — and then explore healthier ways to meet them.
5. Get curious when other people trigger you. If the people you’re with are stressing you out, take a break, get some fresh air and see what you can learn, Dr. Nelson recommends.
How to do it: “Ask yourself if you’re overreacting,” he says. “Recognize your own feelings and analyze what the other person meant to say. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt — it’s likely no offense was meant. If you aren’t sure, ask for clarification, then respond appropriately, with kindness, with love, and with forgiveness if you can. Some people really don’t have a handle on their behavior, but it doesn’t have to affect how you feel. It doesn’t have to be your problem.”
How else do you spring clean those emotions to be more positive? I also like to set hourly reminders on my phone to focus on what I’m grateful for or to take a few deep breaths to repeat a mantra or inspirational phrase. It works! —Jenn
This is all true. Paying attention to what I eat directly affects my emotional health. If I eat something greasy, for example, the bloated feeling of yuck just turns my mood south. I have also made a pretty big effort recently into incorporating movement into my everyday. I keep an yoga mat out in my bedroom and if I find myself scrolling Facebook, I just put down the phone, go to the mat and I start doing simple stretches. Sometimes this leads to crunches, sometimes to yoga… but it feels good and it feel right. The body naturally wants to curl into a ball and eat greasy comfort food when sad… so practicing the opposite is bound to make you feel better.
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