Finding rituals

photo by Solveig

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with morning and evening rituals. I’ve read good things about adding rituals into our lives, and I wanted to start making mine more intentional. I know I have things I routinely do in the morning or evening, but I tend to think of them as routine (or not think about them at all and just do them – like brushing my teeth).

I’ve been incorporating two new morning rituals, and I’m pretty into them.

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Mindfulness

The first new morning ritual relates to mindfulness and meditation. Everywhere we turn, it seems, there’s research turning up on the value of practicing mindfulness.

I find the Stop, Breathe & Think  app to suit me quite well. Every time you open the app, it asks you how you’re feeling physically and mentally ~ and gives you several options to track.  From there, you choose the top five emotions you’re feeling (brilliant for building our emotional intelligence and self-awareness). Given that information, it will suggest a few meditation practices you might benefit from in that moment, and you can choose. After you complete your meditation, it tracks the time you’ve meditated, and even gives you motivational stickers for completing different types of meditation.

My new morning ritual is to wake up and do a meditation while I’m waking up. (The meditation – Welcoming the Day is a lovely start to most days, and I also recommend Relax Ground Clear as a particularly useful one.) I find this sets me up for success throughout the day, to remember to breathe and be mindful if life starts to get overly busy.

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Gratitude

After that, I’ve been writing in my gratitude journal for a few minutes. I think of at least five things in my life I feel grateful for – and record them.  I started this practice several years ago when I found myself having a tough time at work.  The practice helped me see things I was feeling thankful for, despite frustrations in other parts of my life. At some point, life got easier for a while and I lost the ritual.

A few weeks ago, I listened to a fantastic podcast episode on The Lively Show about experiencing more positive emotions with Brooke Castillo. Jess Lively, the host, spoke about starting her day off with her writing in her gratitude journal. I was reminded in the episode that our thoughts affect our feelings, and our feelings affect our actions. Castillo advocates becoming very aware of our thought processes in an effort to experience more positive feelings.

Starting my day off with my gratitude journal has proven to be a valuable new practice for experiencing more positive emotions in my own life.

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So, these are my two recent morning rituals. I love starting off my day with a little meditation and a few minutes reflecting on gratitude. When I spend the few minutes doing this, it helps me in living aligned with my values of love, kindness, courage, and optimism.

What are your daily rituals? Do you have any to share? I’d love to hear what you find valuable these days.

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