The Power of Rituals

By Alexa Ashworth – MFTC

verified by Psychology Today

Morning Ritual

I awake for my day and the first thing I read is a message I have set on my phone that states, “I am worthy of good things”.  I inhale strengths and exhale any unsettling thoughts that would cause me to become anxious about the day.

After I bring my focus to the present moment, I heat water on the stove and stretch out my limbs on the floor.  As I start to stretch, I listen to the subtle sounds around me; birds chattering outside, a car driving down the road, the furnace groaning, or the boiling of the water on the stove.

I tell myself in these moments “I am in the right place at the right time” and “Enjoy right here, right now”.

This is a short introduction to my everyday morning ritual.  It reads simply, however, re-wiring the brain to create a positive mindset in the morning is something you cannot just read on paper.  It takes practice, increasing attention and entering full consciousness.  I like to think of rituals as the rich soil our soul needs, so we can flourish in our daily activities and visualize dreams.

Turning off the Autopilot

Rituals transform the mundane, so we stop living on autopilot.  It is an interesting concept to think we mostly sleepwalk into our choice’s made day in and day out.  Take a moment to reflect on ways in which you may default to autopilot when interacting with others or simply choosing what you’re going to eat for the day.

  • What parts of your day are you most distracted?
  • What is happening around you that keeps you in your head and out of an engaged experience?

You may uncover something you never realized before.  For example, if you are someone that carries work home with you after a long day, you might give short answers to your family members while still problem-solving in your head for the next day.  By disregarding an open invite to a conversation with a family member, we miss out on an opportunity to create a positive, impactful connection.

Why do we cruise by these opportunities to interact in the present moment?  Possibly because it is uncomfortable.  When we start to tune in and connect with another person, we start to experience our emotions and challenge our behavior.  Discomfort is the first step into personal growth and discovery of Self to live life with more intention.

I believe when we are on autopilot, it allows for negativity and uncertainties to build within our unconscious, causing anxiety and fear.  When we start to exercise new healthy thought patterns through ritual, we gain our sense of Self back.  Further taking the reign over anxiety and fear, stirring into a directional path that allows us to overcome instead of overcame by constraints.

“If you engage in a ritual prior to a potentially high anxiety task, like singing in public or solving difficult math problems, you end up being calmer by the time you approach the task, and more confident.” -Francesca Gino

The Benefits of Rituals

Rituals build meaningful habits, transform ordinary experiences, and shape our self-perception.  Rituals create deeper connections, are a way to celebrate new beginnings and is a tool for solidarity in an everchanging world.  I have learned by slowing down my mornings, I set a renewed mindset and slow down racing thoughts that could derail the course of my day.  With a renewed and humbled mind, I know I am capable of handling any challenges the day brings.

When I acknowledge I am capable of working through challenges I form more intentional connections because the stress of something going wrong is erased.  When we have the space to envision the course of our day, we will rise to certain occasions and make it known to others we truly care about the moment we are in.  Whether this is through the warmth of chosen words, the act of helping someone else, or wearing a smile.

Our inner work is infectious work.” -Alexa Ashworth  

For further information on how to start building powerful life rituals click this link below.

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