Intimacy is what we most long for and what we most fear. -Erwin MacManus
To be in an active partnership with life, we must maintain the wellbeing of our bodies. Many people are unaware of how deeply our physical systems affect our emotional wellness.
In fact, more and more research is showing that gut health and inflammation are causal factors in nearly all mental health conditions.
That means you may be making excellent progress in terms of your insight and personal development, but if your gut health and inflammation is not addressed there may be a ceiling that prevents you from progressing beyond a certain point.
That’s why it’s so important to take a holistic, whole-person approach to healing when it comes to mental health. Because every part of our lives contributes to our wellness.
Functional medicine does just that. Not only that, but functional medicine centers around understanding and healing the root cause of our concerns rather than simply suppressing symptoms––which isn’t a long-term solution and can even lead to further mental and physical problems.
One area we can pay attention to when it comes to taking the first steps toward holistic physical and mental healing is learning to detoxify our environment.
Just navigating through our everyday experiences, we will encounter toxins in our environments that can interfere with our hormone levels, alter our moods, and increase inflammation that leads to physical and mental ailments.
The body has processes in place to detoxify naturally, but it’s important that we actively collaborate with these processes in order to care for the body as the sacred lifeform that it is.
Detoxifying our bodies can reduce symptoms such as stress, headaches, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as allow us to create disciplines that generate energy, vitality, joy, and growth.
In this short video, our functional medicine doctor, Dr. Sadi, walks us through six of the most important ways in which we can detoxify our bodies and lives.
Here are some key takeaways from Dr. Sadi’s video:
Get Good Sleep
Our brains detoxify when we get a good night of sleep, but a night of quality rest is not simply dependent on the number of hours we get.
A useful gauge of the quality of sleep is a quick assessment of how you feel in the morning. Do you feel rested and ready for the day, or do you feel tired and sluggish?
Having good sleep hygiene means creating a routine and structure around your sleep habits. For example, have a consistent sleep and wake time, which will allow your circadian cycle to remain in rhythm. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine a few hours before bed.
Put away your devices, including your cell phone. The blue light emitted slows melatonin production, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Creating rituals around sleep allows the body and soul to approach rest with more ease and care.
Drink Your Bodyweight
Water can be healing. Drinking enough water is important for your body’s natural detoxification processes, including sweating, defecation, and urination.
Drink your bodyweight in ounces daily so that you are sufficiently hydrated. And make sure it’s natural spring water to avoid environmental toxins and chemicals found in filtered and tap water.
It can be helpful to create structure around your water consumption. Choose a water bottle that you want to drink from. There are even apps or water bottles that can help remind you to drink enough throughout the day.
When our body has regular bowel movements, it is naturally clearing itself of toxins. Drink plenty of water and eat foods such as dark and leafy greens, berries, and fiber to allow your body to detoxify naturally and decrease gut infections and inflammation.
Our physical and emotional bodies interact to create an overall sense of balance. When our bodies are in a negative feeling state, their energy is devoted to continual reparation, and they cannot detoxify. Being surrounded by healthy and loving relationships, not only contributes to our emotional well-being, but research has shown it has real and lasting impacts on our physical health and longevity.
Relationships that nurture us and accept us for who we are communicate to the body that it is safe. These feelings of safety have a tangible impact on our nervous systems, which mediate every other aspect of health and wellbeing.
We are whole people and functional medicine is about whole-person healing.
Each body has its own rhythms and relationships with movement. Tuning into the forms of exercise that bring you joy and energy is a vital part of creating a sustaining, life-giving routine.
Regular exercise can take many forms: walking, dancing, hiking, yoga, rock climbing, sports, or horseback riding. Finding ways to move the body increases circulation, making it easier for our liver, lungs, lymphatic system, and immune system to cleanse and detoxify.
Functional medicine doctors are trained in holistic interventions that target inflammatory markers from all angles to improve your energy, balance, and overall sense of peace.
Proper Micro and Macro Nutrition
Micronutrients are nutrients necessary to the body in small amounts, while macronutrients are the ones we need in higher amounts, such as fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
Some nutrients that increase our body’s ability to detoxify include Vitamins B, C, E, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, and Iron. Because of our modern uses of soil, many of these nutrients are missing in our diets, and it may be necessary to supplement. Talk to a functional medicine doctor to determine which supplements will help you find optimal neurotransmitter and hormone levels to balance your system.
Take a moment to consider your relationship with each of the previously listed ways in which we can detoxify our bodies. Which of these do you have dialed in? In which of these areas might you need to create more awareness and intention?
Choose an area and create a plan. After a week, check in with your body and observe how it feels.
Always be in conversation with your body. Listen to and honor it.
Indeed, cultivating connection with our bodily wisdom is the source of intuitive power, peace, and vitality.
Brooke Sprowl is the Founder of My LA Therapy, a concierge therapy practice, and My Truest North, a cross-disciplinary coaching and consultancy firm specializing in mission-driven entrepreneurs seeking greater integrity, spiritual awakening, and deeper ways to actualizing their higher purpose through collective service. With 15 years of clinical experience as an individual, couples, and family therapist, she is trained in a wide-range of approaches, from evidence-based therapy practices to peak performance and flow neuroscience techniques. Brooke is also the host of the podcast, On Living with Brooke Sprowl. She is passionate about writing, cognitive science, philosophy, integrity, spirituality, effective altruism, personal and collective healing, and curating luxury, transformational retreat experiences for people who are committed to self-discovery and using their unique gifts in service of the world.