Being thankful and practicing gratitude have played, and still do, a major role in my recovery from depression and anxiety.
The challenge is, like everything worth doing in life, you must do it regularly and consistently to reap the benefits.
Sadly, gratitude expressed only once every blue moon will not do much for your general well-being and mental health; you must make it a daily habit.
However, once you’ve been doing it for a while, you will notice the birth of new habits, new rituals, that sustain your practice of gratitude.
What’s a ritual?
A ritual refers to a series of actions or behaviors done regularly or invariably by someone (source: Oxford Languages). Rituals are basically habits you’ve created.
Because most of us are so often on auto-pilot mode, we don’t even notice anymore all the little things we think and do every single day. The problem is all these repetitive actions and behaviors, no matter how small they are, profoundly affect our lives and well-being.
The way I see it, if I’m going to have rituals, whether I’m aware of it or not, then I might as well be intentional about it and pick (and cultivate) rituals that will nourish my soul and stimulate peace and serenity.
Rituals don’t have to be fancy to become rituals. A ritual can be as simple as drinking a glass of water every morning.
All that is required for something to become a ritual is intention and regularity.
My intention when adopting rituals is to create peace of mind, gratitude, and serenity.
And here are the simplest daily rituals you can put in place today, for a calmer, more grateful day.
Daily rituals when waking up
- Wiggle your toes
- Look at the morning light coming through the window
- Appreciate the softness of your bed sheets on your skin, under your fingers
- Hug yourself and say: Good morning!
- Stretch like a cat
- Feel the cold floor under your bare feet
- Make your bed
- Drink a glass of water
Daily rituals for hygiene
- Brush your teeth
- Sing or hum in the shower
- Shower with your favorite soap
- Wear a subtly fragranced oil before bed
Daily rituals when outside
- Walk outside for at least 10 minutes everyday. Not in a hurry.
- Look up to the sky. Did you notice the clouds today?
- (Literally) touch a tree
- Look someone in the eye and say “Hello” like you mean it. Anyone: your neighbor, the bus driver, the baker…
- Text someone who might be lonely: a grandparent, a friend, a relative.
Daily rituals with food
- Eat a fruit
- Do your dishes
- Smell your food before eating it
Daily rituals for calm
- Practice making easy doodles
- Pay attention to ambient sound and background noise: do you hear the sound of wind in the trees? The different noises in your apartment? People’s voices on the subway? The cars under your window?
- Sit, and don’t do anything for 90 seconds
Daily rituals at bedtime:
- Spray your bedsheet with a mix of lavender essential oil and water 15 minutes before bed
- Express gratitude for at least one thing that happened today, or for at least one person
- Massage the sole of your feet with a relaxing oil (mint, lavender, or arnica).
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