An Indigenous approach to inner beauty

We all face challenges in our lives, but sometimes the pain and negativity we feel outweighs our ability to focus on the good. How can we cultivate mental strength and improve our resiliency to maintain our energy, our life force—even though we can’t control the world around us?

Why cultivate a practice of continual inner detoxing?

Ridding ourselves of negative forces or circumstances to ensure our overall health is, ultimately, an expression of unconditional love for ourselves. Think of it as quieting the critic, allowing the effusive child within to remember joy, of exploring the four quadrants of life: mind, body, spirit, and heart.

Our ability to cultivate all the quadrants to maintain inner balance for life equals our spiritual power (our unique energy imprint). We can build resiliency so that when the unexpected occurs, we are robust: we release stress and troubling emotions and nurture a healthy state of mind, body, spirit, heart.

How do we own our inner lives and learn to detox them continually?

Live consciously

We can start by living consciously, by not allowing stress and circumstance to set the tone for our happiness or lack of it. We can accept that we are not our minds, but rather that our minds are part of the organic system that is us. And we can accept that we can control our thoughts—that our thoughts do not control us.

Be aware of your thoughts

It’s critical to be aware of our thoughts, to act as gatekeeper of our thoughts. Are you aware of your ability to direct your thoughts away from hyperarousal?

Think of who you love

When you’re experiencing negative feelings, bring those you love into your mind. When I slip, I think for at least one minute of who I love, those whose presence was healing. I feel them. I begin to smile, and soon I have ceased catastrophizing.

Use your body

If your mind feels out of control, use your body. Train yourself to breathe deeply as often as possible, to meditate, to be in nature. Focus only on what is around you, what you can smell, hear, feel, and see. Break stressful projects or situations down into tangible, doable tasks, positive actions that can relieve that wild mind.

Step away for self-reflection

If we have a negative emotion because of others—for example, toward our partner—whose emotion is it? Step away. Take time for self-reflection. Ask “What’s going on with me that I’m angry?” Own your emotions. Like pain in the body, emotions are information. Sit with them, let them tell their story, then release them.

Be honest with yourself

Be honest with yourself about addictions (with food, your phone, and spending, for example). What can you reach for instead that does not cause self-abandonment and avoids discomfort, pain, and processing? What beauty is on the other side for you?

By Karen Lee White