Emotional toxicity is just as real and present as toxicity in the body – in fact the two are often enmeshed within one’s body. A variety of factors lead to stuffing down negative emotions like anger, fear, shame, or guilt – some are obvious such as traumatic experiences, but other more subtle things can lead to emotional repression too, like learning from family or society what emotions are socially acceptable to display or not.
Emotions serve very important purposes though—to teach us something. It is of great importance to learn how to stay with an emotion until its insight is revealed. But when we repress, ignore, deny, dismiss or avoid negative emotions, very grave mental and physical ailments can follow such as anxiety and depression, heart disease or chronic wide-spread pain like fibromyalgia.
What is emotional cleansing?
Emotional cleansing mimics body cleansing or detoxing in purging stored or pent-up negative emotions the body and mind are stuck holding on to. One can singly focus on an emotional cleansing process, or emotional cleansing may be stimulated by a body systems detox.
It’s a healing process of old, painful memories and emotions that frees your body and mind from their harmful, lingering effects. Emotional cleansing doesn’t undo painful past experiences, but it does transform those experiences into meaningful lessons, and healing and a sense of freedom often follow.
The real crux of emotional cleansing is learning to have compassion for yourself and for others. Often over time, we develop internal dialogue or self-talk that is harsh and reprimanding of ourselves for feeling negative emotions that are not socially acceptable. Emotional cleansing can begin when you increase awareness of that negative self-talk and practice shifting to approaching your inner self with the same level of compassion you would have for a friend who was telling you about her struggles. The next piece is increasing compassion for parents, other family, or friends who have done you wrong, coming to an understanding that those people were human, imperfect, and operating under their own constraints, and inviting in freeing forgiveness.
How to do an emotional cleanse:
For some people, a simple meditative process and journaling suffices. Others who have suffered more serious trauma may benefit or actually need guidance from a professional to complete this process. Some people may want to physically go to others they have wronged or been wronged by to make repairs, and some people just want to go through the process alone without making contact with others from the past. The frequency of repeating the process can vary greatly too. To get started on your own, try this simple method:
1) With blank sheets of paper or a notebook in front of you, start freely recalling memories associated with negative emotions, perhaps starting with more recent ones and working backward as then more will come up.
2) Write down each memory and the correlating negative emotion, reflecting on what you can learn from that experience.
3) Journal about what you’ve learned, looking for patterns of thought or behavior that emerge that can become areas of improvement.
4) Once you’ve learned all you can from those experiences with negative emotions, focus on the healing power of implementing those lessons going forward.
Try completing this simple emotional cleansing with a physical, tangible release of the memories. Write words or phrases representing the memories you want to release and then either shred, rip, cut or (very safely) burn the paper. This physical representation of letting the negative memories go will signal the brain to let them go too, changing the way your brain thinks about them.
Reasons to do an emotional cleanse:
- Free Yourself From Mental and Physical Pain
Completing an emotional cleansing process will clear your mind and body from excess emotional baggage, making you feel lighter and brighter in mind, body, and spirit.
- Learn How to Effectively Incorporate New Information
It’s true that as the old saying goes, what goes around comes around. A person who is habitually negative will probably continue to be negative until the process is interrupted, because that negative outlook invites and emphasizes more negativity. After an emotional cleanse, a new perspective can be adopted, inviting positivity in.
- Be Able to Finally Let Go of Dysfunctional Patterns
Dysfunction can be handed down through generations! The self-awareness component of emotional cleansing reveals which patterns work and don’t work, allowing you to formulate road map for eradicating bad habits and implementing new, positive ones.
- Have Better Relationships
Letting go of past hurts and resentments can work wonders for existing relationships, and can open to door to leading to new, positive relationships. You may even find the fruits of your emotional cleansing process are contagious, brightening everyone close to you!