Daily habits for a 7 day mind detox
5 mindfulness activities to detox your mind and help with mental clarity and stress.
The 7 day mind detox
When it comes to looking after our bodies, we all know what to do and practice it regularly. But taking care of our minds tends to take a back seat.
With pandemic anxiety, homeschooling pressures, and so much time spent in our own homes (and minds), it’s more important than ever to prioritise your mind and mental health. Doing so can help to boost your mental resilience, improve your response to stress, and ease the pressure of lockdown.
Take care of your mind with a 7 day mind detox. Here are five, simple, mindful activities to work into every day, to leave your mind feeling cleansed and positive:
Take time to focus on your breathing
Write down three things you are grateful for
Set your priorities
Integrate small meditation sessions
Journal to reflect
5 daily habits for 7 days to detox your mind
The first daily habit is to focus on your breath. It sounds so simple that it might be too good to be true—but regularly practising slow, mindful breathing can create a change in how your body handles and responds to stress and anxiety. This can help you think more clearly and work more efficiently during the day.
To explain it scientifically, the connection between breath and the vagus nerve allows your parasympathetic nervous to activate and balance out your fight or flight response to stressful stimuli.
We breathe every minute of every day, but not everyone is breathing effectively. Chronic stress as a result of, well, 2020, is typically fast and shallow—making your chest rise and fall as opposed to your diaphragm. Deep, mindful breathing from the diaphragm (the belly,) can help decrease your blood pressure, stabilise the nervous system, calm symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression, improve sleep quality, and more.
Start your day with deep breathing exercises for one minute and set reminders on your phone to remind you to breathe throughout your day consciously. One minute of deep breathing, five times a day can calm your nervous system, making you feel more settled and relaxed.
As soon as you wake up, take note of three things you’re grateful for. This plants positivity in your mind to start the day on a positive note. Or, if you’re not a morning person, finishing your day with three things you’re grateful for has the knock-on effect of making you more attune and mindful to what’s happening throughout the day, as subconsciously you know you’ll have to look back on it later.
The mental health benefits of gratitude are far-reaching. They encompass improvements to self-esteem, better sleep, relaxation, more happiness, and more besides.
Organising your days and reflecting on what has happened can help your mind ease itself and minimise stress. Studies have shown that reflexive journaling can have positive effects on emotional well-being, anxiety and overall life satisfaction.
Set out a few minutes in the morning or evening to reflect on yourself, your achievements, your struggles and your overall feelings throughout the day. Don’t worry about how and what you write; just let your thoughts flow naturally.
>Or, if you need more structure—try the techniques listed in your brain on journaling.
Prioritising your to-do list and daily activities is essential in maintaining a healthy mindset through your day. With lockdown keeping us at home, try to prioritise what’s good for you—exercise and eating right should be at the top, (yes, really).
Reflect on your to-do list and keep only what’s significant. If you struggle with this, consider recruiting a friend or family member as an accountability buddy to check in with, work out with, or cook with, to ensure you both stick to prioritising these activities.
>Dr Rangan Chatterjee on scheduling to boost resilience to stress.
Meditation not only calms the mind but also increases clarity. A regular practice can enable you to consciously separate your positive intentions from your negative thoughts, and can declutter your mind leaving it fresh to begin your day with your intentions set.
Start with as little as 2-5 minutes daily and then gradually increase the time as your practice continues and you start to find it easier.
A great way to start meditating and get your mind focused is by repeating positive affirmations. For example: my thoughts are organised, I have strong mental clarity, and I focus on things individually. These can be said out loud or in your mind. Over time your unconscious mind will take these affirmations in and start to believe and achieve them.
>For more on mindfulness and how to get started, read our beginner’s meditation guide.