Emotional Detoxes Are Necessary For Your Mental Health. Here’s How To Take One

It’s time for a detox, but this one won’t involve juice.

Everyone seems to be detoxing their bodies now. Whether it’s celery juice, detox smoothies, or lemon water, we have so many ways to clean out our tummies and guts. While there’s nothing wrong with those, the detox we all need goes far beyond fruits and veggies. 

Emotional detoxes aren’t talked about as often as other cleanses. These are the detoxes that aren’t all over Instagram and don’t taste fresh. An emotional detox forces you to focus on your past and confront the emotions you try to hide or bury under everything else. And when you fish those negative things out, you make a mess.


What is an Emotional Detox? 

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You can’t emotionally detox the way you detox your stomach. In food-related detoxes, people won’t eat anything other than fresh fruits. We can’t do that with our brains. 

Emotionally detoxing your brain doesn’t mean you have to get rid of every negative thought or emotion. You can’t do that. But it is about clearing out the emotions that are stuck inside of you. 

We hold so much in our bodies. We hold onto trauma, memories, fear, guilt, and doubt, and when we cleanse ourselves of these emotions, we make room for new and better emotions to come in.

Why Do We Need an Emotional Detox? 

Emotions can get stuck in your body for multiple reasons. Your body stores trauma and emotions without you even realizing it. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class where they focus on stretching out your hips and you’ve been put in one too many wide-legged positions, that’s because your body stores the most emotions in your hips. This idea is rooted in the chakras and you can remedy it with practices like yoga and Reiki.

It’s Time to Detox

@aishahtatum Do you need an Emotional Detox? Here are 7 signs. Want to learn more? DM “GirlHeal” #detox #holistichealth #emotional #wellnesstips #selflove ♬ original sound – Aishah Tatum

Your body will tell you when you need to detox; all you have to do is learn to listen and respect it.  We’ve all complained that we’re so over a job or we need a break from someone. That’s not us being whiney, it’s something deep inside of us prompting a detox.  

Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you need an emotional detox:

  • When was the last time I let myself feel my emotions? 

  • How good is my sleep? Am I having nightmares or strange dreams?

  • Am I responding to everything in a negative or snarky way?

  • Am I unmotivated?

  • Am I holding on to negative emotions and memories of the past? 

  • When was the last time I felt truly rested?

I’m answering these as I go along, and it’s definitely time for an emotional detox for me.

Just a Warning

Detoxes are gross. You see influencers with their green juices and their cleanses online, but you don’t see what comes out when their bodies are getting purified. Even though emotional detoxes aren’t food-related, the release of stress and trauma won’t be pretty.

How to Detox

Make Time For You

When was the last time you dated yourself? When did you last give yourself a night off? Better yet, when did you realize that working ahead, working out, and cleaning weren’t these things? I’m so guilty of having a night to myself and then cleaning my entire house. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing things and being productive, that’s not you-time. 

Take time to step away from your life for a second and analyze how you feel about it. Acknowledge the Sunday scaries in your life and see if you can cut any of them out. Take this time to delve deep into your brain and heart to find anything that might not be serving you.

Improve Your Space

It is so true that a cluttered space means a cluttered mind. That being said, you don’t want a house that’s so clean that you can’t ‘live’ in it. Look around your environment and gauge how you feel. If you walk into your home and feel comforted and cozy, don’t change anything. If your home makes you feel uncomfortable, examine why and fix it. 

Pay attention to your senses when you’re in your home. Do the things you see bring you joy? Are the smells good? Is the furniture soft and comforting? Do you hear relaxing things? Is there good and nutritious food in the kitchen? If you work to improve these sensory aspects, your life will improve.

Track Your Emotions

I started doing this two months ago and it helps immensely. If you have a bullet journal, make space in your monthly spread to track your emotions. This month, I have a pumpkin for every day and I color it in based on how the day felt: great, good, okay, bad, or horrible. At the end of the month, I check when the bad days were and try to assess why they happened.

If you’re not much for journaling, ask your partner to help you. Start unwinding every night by giving highlights and lowlights. Discuss how you felt and have conversations about why you felt that way.

Go on a Negativity Strike

In detoxes, we eliminate the bad things that make us feel not great. Constantly complaining and focusing on the bad won’t help us. What’s more, if we only look at negative things, we will only remember negative things. Start catching yourself every time you’re about to complain and actively choose to say two positive things instead.

Acknowledge and Let Go

One thing my Headspace instructor always says is to remember the blue sky. He asks you to relax and let go of your emotions and thoughts. When a thought comes up, all you have to do during the meditation is acknowledge it, thank it, and let it go. 

Humans have more than 6,000 thoughts every day. I don’t know about you, but I have about 5 good ideas that come out of those 6,000 thoughts. If we hold onto all of those 6,000 thoughts, we won’t have room to concentrate on those 5 great ideas. Acknowledge what takes up space in your mind, but let go of what doesn’t need to. 

Use the CLEANSE Method

Sherianna Boyle is the author of Emotional Detox: 7 Steps to Release Toxicity and Energize Joy. In this book, she reviews the stages of a cleanse:

1. Clear reactivity: Start stretching so that you can physically rid your body of these constraining emotions.

2. Look inward: Acknowledge how your body feels and why it feels that way. Try to eliminate the stressors. 

3. Emit: This can be done by making a sound to trigger your brain into releasing things it’s held onto. 

4. Activate: Visualizing calming situations and landscapes to create a better reality for your brain. 

5. Nourish: Activate your senses and become nourished by this imaginary scene that’s taking place in your mind. 

6. Surrender: Allow yourself to feel these things. 

7. Ease: Be calm and accept that you’ve done your best.

Talk to Someone

You don’t have to do this on your own and you probably shouldn’t. Talk to your partner and work together to pinpoint your triggers and your emotional wounds. They have an outsider’s perspective on you and can see when you close off or get triggered. They’re also going to witness the messiness of the emotions coming out. 

Talk to a therapist or a licensed professional if you’re going to deal with some serious topics. Look into DBT or CBT and see what you’re comfortable with. Therapy is always an amazing option if you’re dealing with some darker subjects.

Be Patient and Gentle with Yourself 

An emotional detox isn’t like a week-long juice cleanse. It’s tough and it might bring up some topics that you don’t want to face again. Our bodies hide and store memories because we can’t always deal with them when they happen. It might be messy, but it will be so worth it to rid your body of all that tough stuff.


Have you ever heard of an emotional detox? Are you going to try one? Comment below!

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