Last year, I detailed a list of ways I would detoxify my life, both mentally and physically, in aims to jump-start a better future ahead. For one month, I spoke to someone I cared for on the phone on a daily basis, incorporated fictional reading into my routine, started practicing meditation, and gave up alcohol, in addition to other small notions.
The difference I noticed, over the course of a single month, is astonishing.
Today’s technological era removes personal communication from so much of what we do. By hearing the voice of someone with value in my life — listening to their stories rather than reading them — I went from a passive role in their lives to re-establishing an active connection. I built a bridge over what was otherwise an emotional gap. According to the American Psychological Association, “emotional health can lead to success in work, relationships . . . and attract others with their energy optimism.”
Reading on a semi-daily basis widened my vocabulary. As I read, I highlighted words I was unfamiliar with to look up their definitions. I found myself thinking sharper and suddenly using such words in my regular vernacular that I otherwise may not have known.
Meditating can be done anywhere at any time, and it’s certainly not just for yogis. I went to intro classes ranging from religious affiliations to scientific studies to better understand how to calm my mind, more-so my reactions, amid the daily stressors in my life. In a nutshell, I learned that all happiness comes from within. As this is an ongoing practice, the acknowledgement of seeking out what I didn’t know opened up my heart and mind to a healthier mental future ahead.
The biggest difference was giving up alcohol and actively seeking healthier foods to consume. In the time I stopped drinking, limited red meat intake to once a week and incorporated a cleaner way of eating, my body completely changed. In March, I awoke, naturally, at 9:30 AM. Today, my body is ready to go (after some coffee, of course) at 7 AM without an alarm. I used to suffer from insomnia most nights but now find myself sleeping a solid eight or so hours without disruption, making me an overall happier person. Appearance wise, my skin is clearer and all my workouts are providing faster results. It’s truly amazing.
I was in the San Francisco area during the concluding days of my detox, which I will still continue in moderation. To celebrate my personal accomplishments, I rented a bike from Blazing Saddles and challenged myself to a 20-mile ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, into the Marin Headlands, down to the Pacific Ocean and back. Up until that point, I had never biked so far or so steeply. One unexpected suntan later, I had successfully completed all of my goals with the biggest smile on my face.
Jump-starting a new lifestyle wasn’t easy. Overcoming daily struggles that were once my norm took self-discipline and constant reminding of the greater goal. But it was worth it, and it changed my life.
This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here