Decluttering Yourself

Cleaning up your life inside and out makes for harmonious, healthy living

After reading about Marie Kondo’s theory that if an object doesn’t “spark joy,” you should let it go (after thanking it for its service!), I decided to apply her “KonMari Method” of tidying up at home. I am pleased with the results: it’s easier to find things and there is a levity and a deep satisfaction that comes from purging unnecessary or unloved items. (Of course, there are things we own that don’t necessarily spark joy, but we need them anyway: a toothbrush comes to mind…)

It was this sense of harmony that made me consider how decluttering might pertain to lifestyle: if we clean up our diets, our distractions, our sleep cycles, our fitness regimens in the same way, can we achieve this same sense of balance? This is, after all, the goal in Chinese medicine: moderation and balance in all things, which is the cornerstone of health. Most patients tell me that they can’t keep up with healthy lifestyle habits because they lack time, they get distracted, or they just don’t like doing it. Much like the Konmari Method, tidying up one’s lifestyle is really an investment in quality of life- and it must be done in a way that either sparks joy or is somewhat enjoyable. Shifting one’s thinking to the desired long- term goal (good health, feeling rested, feeling fit, etc.) is the key, rather than the instant gratification that our culture promotes so well.

Ask yourself these questions: How long would you like to live and enjoy good health? How good would it feel to get a full night’s sleep on a regular basis? How energized, capable, and confident would you feel if you exercised just a few times per week? How well would your digestion work if you stopped eating processed food and sugar? How much happier would you feel if you eliminated toxic relationships in your life and focused on positivity?

Spring is the season of the liver, and many people attempt a “detox” period to cleanse their bodies and reset their lifestyles this time of year. The liver is an organ that thrives on a clean diet and strongly responds to the lifestyle issues in the above questions: sleep, diet, fitness, emotional well-being. How can you shift things in your life to make your liver healthier? Try doing more things you enjoy that support your liver. For example, if you hate working out, but love to dance, take a Zumba class; if you hate broccoli, there are dozens of super foods to take its place in your diet; if you hate going to bed early, but feel sleep-deprived, incorporate a nighttime routine that relaxes you and get into bed at least 30 minutes earlier; if you feel depressed or stuck, write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for. You must do what works for you in order to sustain the positive habit.

It’s the season of change and rebirth, the season of cleansing and decluttering: what do you want to clean up this spring?

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