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By Jazmine Reed
Going on a cleanse appears to be very current. And hey, it does the body good. (Or so I hear. I could never go more than three days without some meat.) But let’s not forget about the cleanses we should all be on—the ones that are good for the soul. Here are the five best ways to rid your life of everything you don’t want, need or like – and find some peace of mind at the same time.
1. The “Following” Cleanse
What it is: Unfollow each and every person you’re “friends” with because you want to cyber-stalk them out of jealousy, selfish amusement, to see if they’re dating someone new, etc. Yes, ladies, this includes ex-boyfriends. As well as frenemies, casual acquaintances, and that person from your hometown you follow just to know you aren’t the saddest person in existence.
Why you should do it: I’ll start with the shallow reason first; it clogs your feed. How many damn Starbucks lattes with misspelled names do you have to scroll through just to find a picture of your ex-BFF calling a beach her “office for the day”? The answer is too many. On a more thoughtful note, you should because making the conscious decision to follow someone out of spite or jealousy or because you might need something from them one day, is equivalent to paying good money to a movie you know is going to suck; what’s the point? To spectate? That just makes you self-righteous critic (read: asshole). Its level of foul intent is on-par with the student in ‘Mean Girls’ who says, “I don’t hate you because you’re fat. You’re fat because I hate you.” Do you want to be that girl? No. Everyone wants to be Damien or the principal who “did not leave the South Side for this!”
Its proven benefits: I recently went on this cleanse after experiencing a feeling I had become too familiar with: loathing. Social media is this remarkable, paradoxical vortex of self-absorption and self-loathing. Since unfollowing the random and the forgotten, I’ve experienced a disposition far greater than anything I could experience from snarking at someone’s latest picture or over-protested caption.
2. The Digital Detox
What it is: Keeping ‘quiet hours’ each day in which you cannot have your phone or go on the computer. I would suggest starting off with an hour and steadily working up to two or three. Or pledge a week of ‘cyber celibacy’.
Why you should do it: I am not naïve and think foregoing all technological advancement for a long stretch of time is realistic, but to disconnect from your phone and tune into your real life is essential. A Netflix documentary exposed a startling correlation between depression and suicidal ideation with social media and our decrease in human-to-human communication. Yikes.
Its proven benefits: For Lent, I accepted Mission Impossible (literally, though, I only lasted about 22 days): leaving my phone in my glove compartment and (gasp!) living my life. First, it’s nearly impossible because sometimes people are having car trouble, and they will call you, and you will look like a dick friend. (Again, Ellen, I’m sorry. Hence, the ‘quiet hours’ suggestion.) But in that time, I became more present with my surroundings. I went to a Bo Burnham comedy show, and because I wasn’t worried about getting the perfect shot or recording a performance of my favorite song, I have a perfect memory of the show in my mind. I like that I don’t have to grab my iPhone to recall a memory. I’m embarrassed to admit that was not a sensation I could have had in 2014.
3. The “Turned Down” Cleanse
What it is: Not treating alcohol as an aspirin or personality pick-me-up.
Why you should do it: Now, now, before you go calling me “straight-edge” or a judgmental four-letter word, allow me to stress; this advice does not come from a place of moral high ground but a place of lying—wasted–on the actual ground.
Let’s face it; after consuming decades of television and real life observation, we associate a “hard day” with an earned hard drink; an invitation to a party is basically a hall pass to be obscene; and the liquor store might as well double as the pharmacy for some of us.
This can only lead to a downward spiral or an addition. Treating alcohol as an aid is dangerous and frankly, not cute after 22. I still enjoy a drink and I still consider brunch “mimosas with some bread”, but I choose to see alcohol as an occasional indulgence, not a necessity.
Its proven benefits: Again, I will start will the shallow benefit first. You lose weight like that! I lost eight pounds just by putting down the wine bottle and picking up a water bottle. And the internal benefits are just as great. When you don’t rely on alcohol to bring you out of your shell at a party or on a date, you’re forced to muster up that confidence you save for singing along to Beyonce in the car with the windows down. After time, that confidence begins to radiate throughout, and you become naturally more secure. And when you’ve had a tough day, you go for a run or paint or seek out a friend—making you more resilient to the bullshit when it’s bound to repay you a visit. This cleanse rewards you physically, mentally and emotionally. When life gives you lemons, you don’t always have to make a lemon drop.
4. The Closet Cleanse
What it is: Cleaning out your closet. (I tried to reword this so that I wouldn’t be quoting the Eminem song and subsequently getting it stuck in your head. My sincerest apologies.) Remove the clothing you no longer fit into but are saving ‘just in case you get back to your high school weight’. Trash the memory box with old pictures and notes from your ex-love. Get rid of anything that makes you say, “Oh! I totally forgot I had this,” or “So that’s where I put it!” Don’t keep something you haven’t missed or shouldn’t be missing.
Why you should do it: A physical cleanse has a profound effect on the brain. Choosing to let go of possessions gives you a sense of control and reinforces the very fact that you determine what and who you give your energy to. The only thing that makes something real is how much life you give it. Allowing clothes you can’t wear or keeping tokens of affection from someone you can’t have is provoking the idea that you have more faith in the past than the future, and are currently rejecting the present. Your space should be a clear reflection of where you are and will continue to be.
Its proven benefits: Keeping old dresses from anniversary dinners and past lives was just a frequent reminder of what was and no longer is. This cleanse is refreshing, uplifting and allows more room for storage.
5. The Negativity Cleanse
What it is: Yes, the obvious “don’t be negative” and “don’t say negative things”, but additionally to find at least one silver lining in any last thing that annoys you. That includes even the everyday things like traffic, chatty co-workers or loud neighbors. I came across this by listening to Abraham Hicks. She explains that positivity and attraction comes from perception. The example she gives; if a neighbor is being loud due to having a party, do not constantly moan about how loud and disruptive they are. Instead think, “Good for them. They are having a good time. This could even be an opportunity to go over and introduce myself.” Of course, this is not saying that you can never feel distaste towards something, but remember to find and proclaim something good in everything.
Why you should do it: Perhaps it began with the introduction of trolling or self-deprecating humor, but we have been conditioned to puncture anything seemingly whole, fine or suitable with a snide remark or “…yeah but.”
“I love your hair.” “Yeah, but I asked for something else.”
“Susie got a promotion.” “That’s because she’s butt buddies with Jane in HR.”
“Our waiter is so slow.”
“Traffic is always a nightmare.”
“I can’t stand him.”
We always look at what we can pick apart.
Whether it stems from social conditioning, insecurity or what have you, we need to work on decreasing our negative vibes.
Its proven benefits: Simple, it humbles you completely.
Image: Naomi Yamada