11 Signs You Need A Spiritual Detox & How To Make It Happen, by Rebecca Butler

MGB  |  I recently had a night where I just couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t blame it on the baby, though I was tempted to. I was up. Grinding my jaw. Worrying. Sleep would come mercifully here and there, but it was never deep and truly restful. I know what this means, I thought to myself. It’s time for a spiritual detox.

Just like the body, the soul needs occasional, mindful cleansing. We’re barraged by media of all kinds, and it’s all too easy to consume spiritual junk food.

Are you aware of when you might need a spiritual detox? In other words, are you aware of when you’re feeding your spirit too much junk for the soul to feel good?

Just in case you aren’t following, here are some spiritual junk food items that you can become addicted to:

  • Endless Facebooking
  • Constant patrolling of TMZ’s Twitter feed
  • Compulsive digging into the latest from Perez Hilton
  • Grand Theft Auto 5
  • Binge-watching Netflix

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with these “junk food” items in moderation, but it’s possible to go overboard. The result can be toxic to your soul.

Here are some signs you might need a spiritual detox:

  1. You find yourself scrolling through your newsfeed seeking negativity. Misery loves company.
  2. You open your mouth and spew sarcasm unintentionally. You try to be more mindful when you speak, but you can’t seem to help yourself.
  3. Your friends don’t want to be around you.
  4. Your heart hurts. Or worse, it doesn’t. You are numb.
  5. You find pleasure in other people’s misfortunes. (Again, misery loves company.)
  6. Happy people piss you off. You don’t even want to hear the word “joy.”
  7. You don’t sleep well. You’re having bad dreams and catch yourself grinding your jaw. A lot.
  8. You keep finding yourself in circumstances where you feel like the victim.
  9. You shy away from prayer, meditation, anything inspirational.
  10. You are bored — all the time.
  11. You can’t even remember the last time you took a walk, watched the sunset or sunrise, walked barefoot in the grass, or felt the summer breeze on your face.

Here are a few ways to engage in a spiritual detox. Remember, please do so with compassion. Above all else, be kind to yourself. We are all doing the best we can, and everyone wants to be happy and free from suffering.

1. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and genuinely make you happy.

Laughter is good for your soul. Seek the company of those who make you feel light and buoyant. Don’t question why you enjoy someone. Just enjoy them.

2. Uplift others.

When you feel downtrodden, it can be helpful to find the things you enjoy about others and to offer that feedback liberally. It’s important to remember that the things we see in others are also reflections of ourselves. Find a way to connect with and uplift someone. Attend a yoga class, read a blog, take a spin class — reach out to your favorite wellness warrior and uplift them. You’ll feel better almost instantly.

3. Try shifting your addiction to kindness.

Kindness is a drug. When you extend, witness or receive an act of kindness, your body releases serotonin, an endorphin. As cliché as it may be, practice a random act of kindness. You’ll feel delicious in doing so.

4. Make time and space to develop a meditation practice.

Meditation soothes the soul. There are incredible sites and courses to lead you through meditations if you don’t already have a meditation practice. Turning inward is a beautiful way to clear away the muck of spiritual junk food. Listening to your internal wisdom is a quick path to shedding that which does not serve you.

5. Get in touch will all of your senses.

Go outside. Enjoy the summer weather. Move, sweat, breathe. This will bring you into a visceral experience of the magic of this life. And it is so worth it.

6. Seek something sacred.

Turn to joy. At our essence, our foundation, we are spiritual beings who share a human experience. Sometimes the heaviness of our human experience can weigh us down. It’s important to remember that you are more than this physical body. You are expansive consciousness incarnate. As such, you can find and experience joy even within difficult circumstances. You mindfully start training yourself to start looking for the gift in the moment. Like anything worth practicing, it can be difficult at first. Over time, it becomes simple and easy.

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laughing monksHeal others through laughter and joy. Laughter is a natural medicine – it lifts our spirits and makes us feel happy. Laughter is contagious. It brings people together and helps us feel more alive and empowered. Laughter therapy aims to use the natural physiological process of laughter to help relieve physical or emotional stresses or discomfort.

 

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” ~ Victor Borge

The Dalai Lama: “On Why I Laugh”

laughing dalai lama

Anger and hatred are the real enemies that we must confront and defeat, not the “enemies” who appear from time to time in our lives. ~ The Dalai Lama

Those who have had the chance to be in his presence, know him — in part — by his infectious laugh. “I have been confronted with many difficulties throughout the course of my life, and my country is going through a critical period. But I laugh often, and my laughter is contagious.”

I have been confronted with many difficulties throughout the course of my life, and my country is going through a critical period. But I laugh often, and my laughter is contagious. When people ask me how I find the strength to laugh now, I reply that I am a professional laugher. […]

The life of exile is an unfortunate life, but I have always tried to cultivate a happy state of mind, appreciating the opportunities this existence without a settled home, far from all protocol, has offered me. This way I have been able to preserve my inner peace.

If we are content just to think that compassion, rationality, and patience are good, that is not actually enough to develop these qualities. Difficulties provide the occasion to put them into practice. Who can make such occasions arise? Certainly not our friends, but rather our enemies, for they are the ones who pose the most problems. So that we truly want to progress on the path, we must regard our enemies as our best teachers.

For whoever holds love and compassion in high esteem, the practice of tolerance is essential, and it requires an enemy. We must be grateful to our enemies, then, because they help us best engender a serene mind! Anger and hatred are the real enemies that we must confront and defeat, not the “enemies” who appear from time to time in our lives.

Of course it is natural and right that we all want to have friends. I often say jokingly that a truly selfish person must be altruistic! You have to take care of others, of their well-being, by helping them and serving them, to have even more friends and make more smiles blossom. The result? When you yourself need help, you will find all you need! On the other hand, if you neglect others’ happiness, you will be the loser in the long run. Is friendship born of arguments, anger, jealousy, and unbridled competition? I don’t think so. Only affection produces authentic friends. […]

As for me, I always want more friends. I love smiles, and my wish is to see more smiles, real smiles, for there are many kinds—sarcastic, artificial, or diplomatic. Some smiles don’t arouse any satisfaction, and some even engender suspicion or fear. An authentic smile, though, arouses an authentic feeling of freshness, and I think the smile belongs only to human beings. If we want those smiles, we must create the reasons that make them appear.

— The Dalai Lama, in an excerpt from his book “My Spiritual Journey”.