April 2019 ET Magazine.
Your mind is working for you every second of every day – even while you’re sleeping. In fact one of the major ways we detox our brain is via the glymphatic system, yes it starts with a ‘G’. The glymphatic system is the innate process that removes toxins from our brain during our sleep and gives you that refreshed feeling after a good night’s slumber. During deep sleep, there is a natural expansion and contraction of the brain’s extracellular space which promotes waste clearance for the central nervous system. How cool is that?
There’s a variety of ways that you can detox your mind. We have a new thought nearly every second of the day totaling around 70,000 thoughts a day. Thoughts are automatic, subtle and can even come in telegraphic form. The thoughts come before your feelings. I can’t stress this enough, so it’s worth repeating: YOUR THOUGHTS COME FIRST and then your feelings follow. This is why it’s so important to slow down in life to truly uncover your self-talk in order to have an understanding of your feelings.
Taking time to reflect after a long day is a good practice to start if you are not already doing so. This mindful practice will be particularly useful during times of stress because it helps you to remember to think through a situation before reacting. Meditation helps this process and can also help to increase focus by calming down distracting thoughts. Deep breathing supports this aspect of your parasympathetic nervous system which helps you to rest. Go ahead, take 10 deep breaths right now… how do you feel?
In order to get thoughts out of your head, try doing a mental purge by writing it down. This is especially useful for someone who wakes during the night thinking about things to do the following day. Simply leave a pen and notepad next to your bed and each night list everything you need to do the following day – this way your brain doesn’t keep thinking about it!
Re-arranging your living space or work space can be a mood booster too. We are continually and subconsciously triggering negative or stagnant associations with our surroundings. Give your brain a new way to process your surroundings with a fresh look!