By Shane Young, MA, LPC, Neurotherapy Institute of Central Illinois
It’s time for spring cleaning again; time to get excited! No, really, get excited! This is the time when you bust open the windows, declutter, rearrange, and give your home a fresh start for the rest of the year. I’ve always been a big fan of spring cleaning. It all started when I was young. Mom would come home and announce, “don’t make plans,” next weekend we’re deep cleaning! Most kids grumble at the thought, but I knew it was quality time with mom, we would work together, and our home would be spic and span.
Ever since then, I’ve always gotten a little giddy when Spring Cleaning time rolls around. I completely understand that not everyone feels the same way, but whether you like it or not, it needs to be done. Giving your home a good spring cleaning can be very satisfying. So too, we can deep clean the mind for a cleaner and better brain. In fact, it’s your brain that carries the heaviest toxic load in your entire body. For many of us, that load has never been greater. With the pandemic, rampant anxiety, and other stressors, now is the best time ever to spring clean your brain.
Rather than increasing your brain’s toxic load with junk food, bad habits, and negative thoughts, it’s time to rid yourself of biological, psychological, and social toxicity. This will cleanse your brain for more optimal function, which will lead to a clearer mind, more stable emotions, happier relationships, and a better life. Start spring cleaning your brain with these simple strategies:
Detox your home and life. Every single day, we are exposed to a host of chemicals, fumes, and products. Products such as household cleaning supplies, personal care products, and gasoline fumes, are poison to the human brain. Toss household cleaners and personal care products that are filled with harmful chemicals and opt for chemical-free, scent-free options whenever possible.
Clear out your refrigerator. Most refrigerators are filled with pro-inflammatory, allergenic foods laced with artificial chemicals that will damage and prematurely age your brain and increase your risk for depression, ADD/ADHD, anxiety disorders, and dementia. To reduce anxiousness, depressed moods, inattention, and memory issues, it’s time to do a clean sweep of your refrigerator (and your entire kitchen) and toss all of the foods that don’t serve you. Not having junk food in the house helps prevent impulsive, mindless eating. It’s easier to make one decision to get rid of it instead of 30 decisions over time not to eat it in a weak moment!
Develop a fitness schedule. Did you know that physical exercise is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to keep your brain healthy over time? Physical exercise not only boosts blood flow and other positive nutrients to the brain, it actually stimulates the brain’s ability to generate new brain cells. It’s really important to find activities you enjoy—cycling, swimming, walking, hiking, aerobic classes, Cross-Fit, tennis, or dancing. Try something new! Set a goal to increase the amount and intensity of the physical exercise every week until you are exercising four to five times per week for at least 30 minutes.
Go tech-free. Are you constantly checking your phone for new messages, scrolling through your social media feed, or streaming the latest Netflix series? Technology is taking over our lives and leading to tech addiction, anxiety, mood problems, inattention, self-esteem issues, forgetfulness, impulsivity, relationship woes, and more. If you’re struggling with the adverse effects of digital obsession, it’s time to try intermittent internet fasting. The same way intermittent fasting has become a popular and effective way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, the same concept can be used to develop a more blissful relationship with your gadgets.
What are you waiting for? If you need help spring cleaning your brain, we’re here for you. During these uncertain times, your emotional and cognitive well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time. We offer in-office brain mapping, neurotherapy training, traditional talk therapy, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples.
Find out more by contacting Shane G. Young, MA, NCC, LPC, Licensed Counselor, and trained Neurotherapist at the Neurotherapy Institute of Central Illinois, a division of Chapin and Russell, Associates, located at 3020 W. Willow Knolls Dr. Peoria, IL 61614. Call us at 309.681.5850, visit us online at www.chapinandrussell.com/neurotherapy/, or find us on Facebook at @chapinandrussell · Mental Health Service. Shane G. Young can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.