What Counts as a Ritual and Why?

Take three breaths just before you click into your next zoom meeting, and see how you feel. It could be just the ritual you need!

Though you've experienced rituals that mark life transitions, such as weddings and graduations, daily rituals are an activity or a sequence of activities that happen at a regular time, for a particular reason, or as a regular part of your day. You already have a ritualistic morning routine of brushing your teeth, etc. Add rituals throughout your day for an enhanced practice of self-reassurance and measured health benefits.

"The very act of engaging in a scripted sequence of ritualistic movements tricks the brain into thinking that it’s experiencing the pleasant state of predictability and stability." - Psychology Today

Rituals can be words, gestures, interaction with an object, or a physical motion that sets the next part of your day in motion. They reassure you by grounding you in reliable behaviors. The Harvard Business Review says rituals create structure and help us restore a sense of control and support performance, focus, and moving through the grieving process of losing our "normal" lives.

Rituals might be small, but their impact is mighty.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Wake up the same time each day and take three deep breaths

  • Practice sun salutations in the morning before breakfast to greet a new day

  • Call a loved one each day at the same time

  • Recite a mantra before starting the work day, #wfh or otherwise

  • Spend 15 minutes tending to plants in your home and don't check your phone

  • Write in your gratitude journal each night before getting into bed

  • Read a poem for inspiration once a day

  • Stretch at the top of each hour and release at least one negative thought

  • Give your dog a high five at the end of a walk

You can invent a ritual, or, if you pay attention, you might just notice one happening organically. What matters is the personal meaning and intention. Name it as a ritual, do it (and don't just think about doing it). Experts do caution against creating so many rituals you can't actually live your life freely, because you're stuck in a regimen of requirements.

Here are a few rituals from my daily life:

  • Each morning, I walk my dog around the neighborhood, morning coffee in hand, and I make a point not to look at my phone

  • Before I open my computer screen for work, I pause for a moment of meditative inspiration and ask myself how I want to apply my energies today

  • Based on that energy, I pick an essential oil or blend and add it to my office diffuser for mood support

  • I clean the dishes after every meal at home so that the next trip to the kitchen is a fresh start for nourishment

  • My husband and I sit down to eat together every night (as much as possible)

  • I video chat with my dad after dinner

  • Right before bed, I diffuse a sleep blend of essential oils and roll on magnolia or rose to induce harmony, peace, and emotional well-being

Think of moderate touch points during your day, or on a regular basis, to create positive structure and comfort. Reignite some forgotten rituals. Create new ones, too. Rituals can be part of our spiritual practice for a sense of renewal and purpose each day.

Helpful/Fun Links

  • My dog's life on Instagram: @dashidoodle

  • My go-to essential oil blends for work: Motivate, Cheer, Adaptiv, Breathe (rollers) and Green Mandarin, Bergamot, Spearmint (diffuser) - Get this bundle

  • Video chatting with my dad on the Amazon Echo Show 8"

  • My go-to essential oils for bedtime rituals: Serenity, Breathe, Magnolia, Rose - Get this bundle

©2020 by Christine Chen Yoga | Chen Communications, LLC