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How to detoxify yourself for a more meaningful summer

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We all need a good cleansing from time to time, and here’s an easy way to do it!

Summer is a popular time for detoxing. Many of us commit to cleaner diets with more fruits and vegetables. We do cleanses and fasts to help shed some excess pounds and rid our bodies of toxins we may have accumulated over the winter months.

But detoxing is about more than getting rid of what pollutes the body. There’s a lot that’s toxic to our minds, souls, and relationships, too, and we should focus just as much on getting rid of toxins in those areas of our lives. Of course, it all works together — we are not a bunch of unrelated parts. What we do with our body affects our mind and soul; and what we do with our mind affects our soul and body. But in order to make progress, it can help to look at each area and consider how we can detoxify one step at a time.

What’s the point of detoxifying your life at all? Well, it’s basically like any good cleaning. What happens when you clean a window? More light is able to get in. You can see out more clearly. Detoxifying yourself makes everything lighter, fresher, healthier, simpler, more pure, more lovely. Here are some ways to detoxify your life.

Mentally

What we put in our mind matters. What we look at, read, listen to, the conversations we engage in, what we focus our attention on — all of it affects us. What media are you consuming? What could you cut out or substitute with something more edifying? This passage from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, 4:8 is a perfect guide for what we should focus our minds on:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.

Also, be sure to commit to some activities that help still your mind … swimming and water activities have a way of doing that, as well as taking walks, listening to classical music or chant, and contemplative prayer.

Emotionally

Are there emotions like anger, fear, or sadness that are having a toxic effect on you because you haven’t addressed issues from your past? If so, talk to a confident and seek some professional help.

Our relationships can become toxic to us also if we don’t pay attention. Do you find yourself consistently distressed on social media because of others’ comments? Do you have real life friends that bring you down, gossip, constantly complain, or react out of jealousy? Friendship can be challenging at times and that’s okay, but it’s meant to be something that helps us become better people. And how about your marriage and other relationships in your life? It may be time to do some work on them to brighten them up!

Spiritually

Sin is the big way we pollute our souls. We sin when we knowingly choose to think and behave in ways that are contrary to God’s love and design. One of the best ways to detoxify spiritually is to make a good confession and receive the Eucharist weekly — more frequently if we can. These two sacraments keep us connected to the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness.

To detoxify spiritually, allow the Lord to cleanse your soul, then choose some spiritual practices that will help you stay close to God such as daily prayer, a nightly examen, a patron saint, or reading the Bible.

Physically

This is the area most of us already focus on when it comes to detoxing, but it’s about more than cleaning up our diets. Food and drink is the best place to start, but then you can work your way out from there. Start swapping out your personal care products [hair and body products, make up] for safer, cleaner options. Then start swapping out toxic household cleaners and products for safer ones. Some you can even make on your own!

Make sure the water you drink and the air in your home is clean, and be aware that things like furniture, mattresses, and rugs are often made with toxic chemicals and they release off-gases. There is even some evidence that keeping our smart phones and laptops too close to us, especially when we’re sleeping, can be toxic to our health, so make smart decisions about how you carry and store your digital devices.

Take advantage of these warmer months to clean up your act and you’ll go through summer a much healthier, holier person!

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