Creating Healthy Rituals
Are you booking your calendar with more than you can possibly accomplish? Do you feel like life is a chaotic hot mess, at times? You are not alone. The present-day phenomenon of brain overload is a nationwide epidemic. We have plunged ourselves into a mad rush of activity, expecting our brains to keep track of more than they effectively and comfortably can. As Attention Deficit Disorder expert Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., argues this,“The brain overload has reached the point where our entire society is suffering from culturally induced ADD.”
Have you ever considered reassessing, or introducing new and improved rituals into your life that support your worth, meaning, and peace of mind? Part of the reason why we carry out our habits each day is to create a framework, and establish order in life’s constant fluctuation. Ross Nichols says, “Ritual is poetry in the world of acts.” There are a variety of rituals we perform and don’t pay much attention to- for example: brushing teeth/hair, washing face, drinking morning coffee, browsing the internet, eating dinner at a certain time, checking mail on the way home, working out etc. These are so ingrained into our daily functioning that they almost become an inseparable part of us. There is a tremendous power and potential in this. Here are four healthy rituals you can add into your regimen to improve health, and influence a different way of thinking.
Are you having trouble sticking to, or building a daily exercise routine? Don’t worry, according to Malcolm Gladwell, in order to master any one thing it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Start small, we already know there is hardly enough time in the day to exercise, so begin by blocking out a specific segment in your calendar, just as you would schedule an important appointment. You can start building your own ritual by stacking your exercise habit on top of a current habit and by setting a schedule for yourself. Twyla Tharp's hailing the cab ritual is a good example. Next step? Show up! Easier said than done most definitely, but 80% of life is showing up. Get into your workout flow by starting with a light jog, an evening stroll around the neighborhood, or walking your dog. Get your endorphins flowing by starting off your day with a light workout, or physical movement. There are so many amazing benefits to gain by adding regular exercise to your routine.
We all know the importance of staying hydrated throughout the day. Our body is mainly (75%) composed of water, so it is definitely a vital element to our survival. Have you ever considered making hydration a ritual in your life? Seemingly mundane actions like this, can gain so much more meaning and importance when performed on a daily basis with intention. You can start by beginning each morning with consuming a 16oz glass of water and/or before going to bed. Drinking water will also boost your metabolism along with other various beneficial effects. You can add lemon to your water, or heat it up and consume it warm, essential oils are a nice addition, as well. Any way you choose, creating this simple, healthy ritual will truly add positive results to your lifestyle.
Stretching is a great way to release tension and stress especially first thing in the morning or after a long work day. Stretching alleviates the pain that’s felt from stiff muscles that are being forced into a sedentary position. A 10-15 minute session of simple stretching can be a helpful ritual to add to your morning regimen. Stretching and yoga practice aids in circulation- increasing blood flow and oxygen to your brain. This ritual is great because you can basically perform it at any time during the day and you can complete the ritual in almost any space. If you’re feeling an energy decrease during your work day, perhaps begin a habit to stretch it out for increased invigoration and better mobility. During bedtime routines is another great time to insert the awesome power of stretching. Just as you would brush your teeth and turn out the lights before sleeping, adding this habit to your established nighttime rituals will soon become second-nature to you while relaxing your body and clearing your mind. Stretching can physically and mentally help you feel your best!
Virtually every culture has adopted food rituals and have performed them for centuries. Japanese tea ceremonies, religious holidays, and harvest seasons are just a few examples. It’s a known fact that food is crucial for our survival, but it is also symbolic. Small gestures can make a difference in how we experience and appreciate our food. Researchers at Harvard and the University of Minnesota discovered that people who engage in small rituals before eating find their food more flavorful. A great way to create a ritual when eating is to take a few breaths in and out each time before you take a bite. Par-taking in a cleanse is another ritualistic style of eating, especially when paired with food prep, and designated meal times to bring awareness to the food you consume and how it’s prepared. According to Brian Wansink, PhD and author, mindless eating has proven to to be a huge factor in over-eating for individuals. To elaborate, this means that people who are distracted when consuming their food, routinely tend to eat more and lose track of what is actually on their plate. Making small changes to your eating habits can give you control and give you the power to be the nutritional guardian to your body.
Introducing emotionally significant practices into your life routinely is a powerful way to promote more creativity, lead to inner balance, safety, and foster greater connections with yourself and others. Whether you decide to incorporate game-changing habits into your professional or personal life, there are numerous advantages that will reduce stress and disorganization. Also, filling your schedule with purposeful healthy rituals will leave less room for unhealthy habits to form. These acts do not need to be tedious, or duty-bound. Be flexible, the purpose of rituals is to establish more harmony in your life. At SMART Pressed we raise a toast, to you and the healthy habits you form that will create a more balanced and inspired, you!