Detox, beyond the physical

You see the titles while standing in line at the supermarket; diet, exercise and yoga magazines touting the value of detoxification. What is it and is it right for you?

Detox beyond the physical; Meditation for mental clarity

The basic concept is that the body accumulates toxins via food, drink, and even breathing. Those toxins are stored in fatty tissue, from whence they produce illness and disease. The various detoxification regimes have been designed to force the body to expel the toxins. The result is restored health, more energy and improved mental alertness.

Most detox programs focus on the physical aspects of the body. That is the easiest for most people to comprehend. As a single example, metropolitan north Texas is inundated with exhaust fumes from planes, trains and automobiles. Environmental regulations do not attempt to eliminate air-born toxins; they merely establish ‘acceptable’ levels. Now apply the same concept to water quality and mass-produced food.

Detox regimes generally include a recommendation that the process be repeated periodically; because the type of exposure we are talking about can never be totally eliminated. As long as you eat, drink and breathe you continue to bring new toxins into the body.

A process less familiar to most people is detoxing the mind. Like the physical environment, mental toxins are derived from multiple sources. It is rather easy to avoid toxic images and language in media (television, movies, radio, etc.). But the most insidious mental toxins are ‘ingested’ via interactions with toxic people you engage with on a daily basis. Like residual car exhaust in the air you breathe, negativity (fear, anger, sadness, etc.) exerts a subtle influence on your own state of mind.
Just as it may not be practical for you to relocate from north Texas in search of cleaner air and water, neither may it be practical to change employment or career. A common strategy to detox the mind is meditation. Like physical detox programs, meditation exists in many forms; but the overall purpose is to release toxic thinking.

Detoxification is beneficial after symptoms of ill health have appeared; but it is even better when applied as a prevention strategy. To be most effective it needs to be done correctly. Half-measures get half-results. For example, continuing to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol while physically detoxing is counterproductive. Just as you should not perseverate on worries and fears as you meditate.

So, is detox right for you? Detox, whether physical or mental, is not a one-time, short-term remedy. To be effective it has to be part of a long term commitment to change. It is less about the regime and more about the mindset with which you approach it. Magazine articles provide only DIY instructions; the mindset may require assistance from a professional. You are then better able to design a detox regime specific to your needs and wishes.

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