Calgary Herald

Spring cleaning to ease your mind


Spring is a natural time for clearing out dirt and clutter. We do this for our houses and even for our bodies, but how often do we do it for our minds?

In the same way you might cleanse your body of toxins and waste, you can cleanse your mind of mental toxins like bitterness and unforgiven­ess.

To replenish our energy and regain our balance, we have to stop feeding off mental “anti-nutrients” like perfection­ism and the need to always be right.

These 10 tips are cleansing for everyone, but they are especially freeing for those stuck in unhealthy eating and self-care patterns.

Some you can put into practice the second you decide to. Others involve more deeply embedded patterns that will take time and a sustained effort to clear, but you can begin today. 1. Mind your own business. Spiritual teacher Byron Katie, says that before stressing out about something, you should always ask yourself whose business it is: yours, mine or God’s. If it’s not your business, why are you in it? 2. Let go of the need to be right. Is it truly more important to be right about something than to preserve your relationsh­ips with others? Have you ever loved anyone more because they were right and you were wrong? Decide if you’d rather be right or close to people.

3. Stop blaming, shaming and complainin­g.

Every one of these toxic habits is about giving your core power to something outside of your control. Stop it. It can’t save you. It’s not the difficult person or situation that causes your distress. It’s the story you tell yourself about what it means that causes you pain.

Take control of what you tell yourself about difficulti­es and challenges and the circumstan­ces will no longer have the power to blow you around like a tumbleweed.

4. Stop trying to please and impress everybody.

You won’t die if someone disapprove­s of something you say or do. Who are you? If you’re always trying to measure up to other people’s standards, you’ll never find out. 5. Clean up unfinished business. Pick an unpleasant task you’ve been putting off and do it. Today. 6. Forgive someone. Often we believe that forgiving someone will let them off the hook, so we hold on to our unforgiven­ess to punish them. When we forgive others, we free ourselves.

7. If you’re in the wrong, make it right.

When we mess up, we can become so paralyzed by guilt or shame that we make excuses, lie about our part, or run away from our responsibi­lities. Because the essential pain of not owning our wrongs is in our own hearts, there’s no real escape that way. Here’s what we told our kids when they were growing up: When you do something wrong, tell the truth. Apologize. Owning up means it won’t own you. 8. Let go of perfection­ism. This may be the single most toxic mental habit of them all. If you let it, perfection­ism will seep its poison into everything you do and you will never be at peace. Nothing about life is perfect. If you believe you have to be, you won’t ever feel at home in this life. 9. Let go of self-limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs about what we can or can’t do are like chalk lines we draw on the floor around ourselves. They don’t have a lot of substance, but we act like they’re brick walls we can’t cross. Just because you think you can never lose weight or hit some performanc­e goal doesn’t make it true. Don’t believe everything you think.

10. Stop mismanagin­g emotions. Stop stuffing unpleasant feelings down with too much food or exercise or venting. Try feeling your feelings instead. You will be nourished by what you need and will effortless­ly eliminate the rest.

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