Today I would like to take a look inside the most toxic environment to your health.
This week (October 6 – 12) marks the time of observance for National Mental Illness Awareness week, making this the perfect time to discuss this topic.
At the head of all that we are is our brain, receiving, gathering, processing, and sending information and commands to and from every cell in our body.
Our brain is so much more than the primary structure keeping us alive, it is the very essence and center of who we are.
Its power is undeniable; at its command we think, we breathe. We walk, we talk. We are.
It watches over every function within our body. Working endlessly to make sure none of our body’s needs goes unmet.
So, what happens when toxicity takes hold of such a powerful thing?
While it is important to consider external toxicity that can no doubt have a severe impact on our mental health, I would like to shine light on a more discrete toxin. A darkness of the mind with effects further reaching and deeper rooted than any external thing we could encounter; our own thoughts.
Your internal environment is arguably the most impactful environment you are exposed to.
Think about it for a second.
Your thoughts and attitudes have a direct influence on your body. A perfect example of this would be the effects on your body during an anxiety attack.
One simple thought can trigger your brain to manifest your feelings as physical symptoms.
Anxiety can present itself as observable symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, gut discomfort, high blood pressure, and whole body shaking.
This is why it is vital to take control of our thoughts and cultivate and internal environment that will help nourish your body.
Many of my patients have expressed to me their concerns about their struggles with issues like depression and anxiety. If you struggle regularly with mood imbalances, please know that you are not alone. In fact, 1 in 5 adults experience some sort of mental illness every year, and the numbers just seem to be rising.
With the physical and emotional toll placed on us daily to work, along with unrealistic displays of life all over social media, and many other things, it is far too easy to succumb to the toxic thoughts these influences can create.
Though difficult, I urge each individual facing difficulty to keep your chin up.
In times of emotional trouble, it is the most important to keep your outlook positive. Your thoughts have a very strong impact on your entire being and your internal environment is the one environment you are constantly exposed to.
So, try to keep in mind when under stress and pressure that your thoughts set the tone and direction for your life.
Your thoughts set the tone and direction for your life
You are what you eat and the same goes for what you think.
Your thoughts, your attitudes, your beliefs shape who you are. We must feed our minds with nourishing and holistic thoughts if we want to truly heal.
As energetic beings, we all have a frequency, a vibe if you will. This vibe sets the tone for what we receive and experience in life.
Albert Einstein once said, “Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want, and you cannot help but get in that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. It is physics.”
Our thoughts are powerful.
They have their own vibrational frequency. When in states of lower moods like anxiety, fear, and depression, we vibrate at a much lower frequency than when we are experiencing joy, hope, and happiness. Remaining at a lower frequency for too long can attract illness to our bodies and prevent healing.
Raising the (vibrational) bar
Fortunately, just as there are a multitude of reasons throughout our lives to cause us to struggle emotionally, there are just as many solutions to help us battle back and take charge of our health.
I am a large advocate for counseling. Many of us have experienced trauma and damage to our psyche that can only be healed with the help of a professional. When dealing with feelings bigger than yourself, always seek professional help when trying to manage those deep and traumatic issues.
For day to day help, I’ve made a list of a few practices you can try to clear your energy and promote positive vibes along with seeking proper help:
1. Daily meditation
Living in the moment and practicing mindfulness allows you to constructively live through each experience that you have. Mindfulness is a practice that allows you to be aware of where you are and what you are doing without overreacting to the environment around you.
You can practice mindful meditation when feeling overwhelmed by following these simple steps:
- Taking a seat in a calm and quiet place
- Give yourself some time and set aside a few minutes dedicated exclusively to this process – 5 minutes is a perfect window for this exercise
- Notice your body and the sensations you feel in the moment
- Bring your attention to your breath. Follow closely the feeling of each inhale and exhale
- Watch your mind – your mind will wander, and that’s okay. Try your best to sit with whatever thoughts come to you and do not place judgment on them. Just simply be. Return your attention to your breath as often as you can until you’ve fulfilled the time goal you set aside for this practice
2. Getting outdoors and Grounding
In this case, it’s good to sweat the small stuff. Studies have shown that hiking and exposure to the great outdoors can significantly boost our mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
Nature possesses a pure energetic vibration. When you’re outdoors next, take off your shoes and feel the Earth beneath your feet. Earthing is a great way to realign your energy.
3. Get inside your head
Usually, the advice is the opposite when speaking of how to work through a depression spell, but I have noticed a significant impact how getting to know yourself as a cognitive function stack can help you notice stuck behaviors and reprogram your mind to look at the world in a new light. The Myers Briggs-based 16personalities personality test is a frequently used tool by my own staff when focusing on digging deep internally to get to the core of who they are and personally resolve their mental blocks.
4. Be your own friend
We are often our own worst enemy and biggest critic. When looking at ourselves with the lenses tuned to the ideals portrayed on social media and success stories around us, it is easy to succumb to thoughts of self-depreciation.
One of the greatest pieces of advice that has been shared with me in my lifetime is to treat yourself like your own best friend.
Would you criticize or put down your friend the same way you do to yourself? You have value, even if you might struggle to see it.
I invite you to be your own best friend. Grab a piece of paper and write down the qualities you possess as kindly as you would for a friend. Think hard and don’t stop until you have found 10 attributes that you love about yourself. Try reaching out to a friend for help if you have struggles getting started. Practice this frequently until you have truly learned how to love yourself.
While this is one of the most important places to focus on removing toxicity from your life, it is also one of the hardest.
Progress should be measured in small increments because even the most mentally happy and healthy still have room for growth.
We are all on our own journey to better health.
Have patience with yourself. You’re doing better than you think you are.