5 Ways To Detox Your Negative Thoughts

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By MariaShriver.com, Featured Columnist - June 17, 2014

By Dr. Jaime Kulaga for MariaShriver.com

We hear about detoxing the body from toxins. When people detox, they work hard to remove impurities from the blood and liver. While we often hear about the pros of physical detoxes, we also need to understand the importance of mental detoxes. The body and mind work in harmony. No matter how “clean” your physical body is, if your mind is filled with toxins, you will still feel unclean, unclear, and unhappy.

Here are 5 Tips on Detoxing the Negativity from your Mind:

1. Rid of the Toxic People

Rid of the things or people that bring you down. Toxic people consist of the bi-polars (these people take you up and down. I love you, I hate you), the criers, the takers, the down-right mean people, the users, the bull-shitters, the gossipers, and the passive aggressives. Take control of your happiness by not allowing others to steer your emotions up and dow or steal them altogether. If you can’t completely rid of the negative people, you can definitely set boundaries to minimize your interactions with them. Saying GoodBye means Hello to Happiness.

2. Clear Out the Grudges with a Dose of Forgiveness

When you hold grudges, possess anger or find yourself always looking backwards, it is hard to see what is so positive in this life. The great thing about forgiveness is you don’t have to feel it, you just do it. And, you are doing it for you, not the other person. If you are angry with someone, your attention and energy is given to them, not you. You can’t control your past, and that can be upsetting sometimes. But you can control your present and future, and you can drive yourself right up to happiness.

3. Add Some Positive Thoughts

The more positive thoughts you think on a daily basis, the more grateful you will be for what you have and the more effective you will be in handling the stressors in your life. Instead of finding the negative in what appears to be a tough situation, reframe it to something more positive and handle it. Start your day off with a positive inspiration. Whether you have a small motivational book or anapp on your phone, start your mind off on the right foot.

4. Purge the Perfection

Perfection induces guilt because your brain is telling you all these things you “should” and “must” do or be, and when you find yourself not doing or being all of those things, you are riddled with guilt and a sense of failure. You can always try to be better at something and improve, but you will never be perfect. Once you accept that, you free up a lot of stress and negative energy and you can actually focus on the things that you can do.

5. Flush out the Rumination

Rumination happens when we spend hours going over the same thing, again and again. When we face stressors, our brain immediately has memories of when we were in similar situations. The issue with women is that we tend to remember events of where we were wrong or where we messed up. We then spiral our brains down into this self-defeating, self-bashing event where we then “ruminate” for hours on what went wrong. This rumination of “things we have done bad,” becomes a pattern. Patterns get stronger and quicker over time.

To reduce stress, catch the negativity before you spend hours ruminating. When you begin to think poorly about yourself or decisions, try to find support for your faulty assumption, usually there is not support for self-defeating thoughts. Then, begin to reframe your negative thinking and challenge these thoughts. Don’t turn one bad decision into a lifetime of bad choices and do not think that one bad decision means that you are bad at “everything,” learn from it and march on.

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