In a society that is hyper-focused on fitness and diet as the pathway to perfect health, it’s easy to forget the power our mind has on our health & wellness.
Think about it, how often does your doctor prescribe happiness or optimism as a way to heal? I’m going to guess that answer is - never.
As Lissa Rankin M.D. shares in her book, “Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself”, happiness and related mental states reduce the risk or limit the severity of heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, and colds. Bottom line: unhappy people are much more likely to get physically sick.
It’s no secret that negative emotions compromise the health of the mind, body, and spirit. Regret, resentment, shame & guilt are all forms of stress - and stress wreaks havoc on the cells in the body. It affects our energy levels, hormones, immune system, muscles and blood pressure. Not to mention what it does to our mind. Our thinking becomes jumbled, which leads us to making mistakes & rash decisions - resulting in even more stress.
All that being said, it’s time for me to fess up. It’s time for me to take ownership of my own health, stop hiding behind a mask of protection, and start living my truths.
You see, I’ve felt like a bit of a fraud lately. Traipsing around as a Health Coach and emphasizing the importance of emotional health with my clients and followers, all while failing to do so in my own life.
I can eat kale on the regular and workout daily – but none of that is going to make up for the fact that I carry around a lot of toxic energy. It kind of snuck up on me over the past couple of years, in the middle of being knee deep in motherhood. And, because I ignored it for so long – it’s started to affect my health and my marriage.
Our thoughts and beliefs about life and ourselves, are intricately woven within our minds, and seep out into our bodies.
I used to believe that I had no regrets and had let go of resentment, but now I’ve come to learn that I was lying to myself. I know this to be true because when things get hard, I find myself looking in the rearview mirror. And, in case you didn’t know – focusing on the past is a surefire way to limit our happiness.
I felt bad feeling regret, resentment or anger about life, because I was afraid that might mean I wasn't grateful for what I had. For what turned out to be, instead of what could have been.
I started to resent my husband for all the times I’ve had to sacrifice my professional goals for his; and I felt guilty for wanting to follow my own career goals instead of being content with taking care of our boys full-time.
I thought that I was supposed to “live life without regrets” and “be grateful for what I had”, so for a long time I just buried those feelings. I felt selfish when those thoughts & desires to do more for myself popped up, and that’s when the anger and resentment would rear it’s ugly head.
These days I've come to the realization that it's impossible to not have regrets and it's okay to feel anger or resentment. It’s also okay to still have goals as a mother, and crave time to work on myself. Because all those yucky feelings bog us down.
But, it's not okay to hold on to the feelings and not let go - because that is toxic and weighs us down. These limiting thoughts & beliefs hold us back from connecting with ourselves; from finding our unique power & strength; from being truly happy.
Here are some of the icky things I had a tough time letting go of, until recently:
- Saying “yes” when I should have said “no”
- Not saying what I need or asking for help
- Holding on to apologies because of my pride
- Not letting go of resentment & regret
- Feeling sorry for myself (eew, I hate this one)
- The need to be right (all of the time)
- Past mistakes
Now, there was a time I had learned to express my desires, say what I needed, and let go of tough feelings. But as life became harder, instead of leaning in and letting go, I pushed and held on tight to toxic energy. I kept my head down & buried all the “stuff”.
I know, logically, all about the impact that our emotions and thoughts can have on our health. From how it affects our immune system to what it does to our mental health. You would think that given my chosen profession I'd have this figured out, right?
The fuel I put into my body and the movement I do daily certainly help my health, but at the end of the day all that toxic energy has compromised my immune system, zapped my energy, and created a whole lot of tension. So, a month ago I put myself on a special diet that I affectionately call the "negativity detox". And, while some days are a hot mess, most days have been productive and eye opening.
Here are a few things (there are many) I’ve incorporated into my day-to-day to ensure I keep the negativity at a minimum:
A nightly gratitude journal. This is the easiest on the list. At the end of the day, when I’m sitting in bed, I whip out my journal and write three things I’m grateful for. They can be specific to the day, or just in general. If I’m carrying any negative energy before I hit my pillow, this exercise guarantees that I go to bed angry or anxious.
Meditation. I can’t do 30-minute meditation exercises, but I’ve learned several meditations that take less than 5 minutes to do and work wonders on preserving my state of mind. I use them in the morning when I wake up or when I’m in the middle of some negative feelings, a fight, or stressed out. #lifesavors
Holding myself accountable (with those I trust). It’s important to have a few people in our lives that know where you are at – and I’m lucky to have plenty. Knowing that they support me on this journey and are there for me to talk to, helps me stay on top of the work I’m doing on myself.
Final thoughts: Hanging on to regret takes up space and keeps us from enjoying the present moment. The decisions we’ve made and the stuff our past are the very things that have brought us to our present life. We made choices, and those choices led us to where we are today.
If you are struggling with some anger, resentment guilt or any other toxic feelings - repeat this to yourself:
Everything in my past has opened me up to new possibilities and those possibilities are exactly where I’m supposed to be.
If you’d like to know more about what I’m doing to detox from negative energy – contact me for details. If I come out a success with the system I have in place, it will likely become an offering I provide down the road.