Every day we do similar dependable things without much thought, whether that’s snoozing the alarm clock, having a shower, eating breakfast, making coffee, cleaning our teeth, walking the dog and getting ready for work. But is this a daily routine or a ritual? According to experts the only difference between a routine and a ritual is how you think about it – your mindset really.
What’s the difference between a routine and a ritual?
If what you are doing are daily mundane chores that just need to be completed then they are most definitely part of your routine or a habit, but if your repeated actions are intentional (rather than subconscious) and bring meaning, learning or joy into your life, then congratulations you have rituals.
Why are rituals so important?
Rituals are good for us and can be important for spiritual health and overall happiness. They empower us – individually or collectively and can support us as we work through difficult problems and encourage us to develop good habits. By providing energy and enjoyment along with efficiency and structure, they help us to learn, to grow, to connect.
But sometimes a routine like washing your hair can actually make you feel happy if you switch from mindful repeating to mindfulness. The same is true with cooking food for your family, if you feel that what you are doing can bring nourishment to others. Essentially what you are doing is giving the action meaning.
Set your intentions
To have meaningful rituals in your life, there are no rules to follow, you just need to decide what works for you. For success, you need to set your intentions – what you want to focus on, want to achieve, need to make sense of, feel healthier on a daily or weekly basis. I urge you to write them down, say them aloud, like personal affirmations and/or tell a friend or colleague.
And when you are doing your intention, what are your senses experiencing and how can you enhance them? Think about your breathing, think about the words, think about what you want and how you want to feel. Connected? Fulfilled? Energised? Relaxed? Comforted? Thankful?
Examples of meaningful rituals
For examples if your intention is to remember a loved one, then plan to visit somewhere that invokes a happy memory. Or, if you want to explore your creativity through drawing or writing, join a class or group that will help you to indulge in your hobby, so you get a deeper more spiritual experience and feel fulfilled. Finally, if it’s relaxation you want, a massage or soaking in a bath with essential oils candles or music needs to be scheduled in.
Focusing on the positive helps easy worry and pain, brings clarity and will help you to feel an overall sense of wellbeing. Having meaningful rituals makes it easier for you to connect with something bigger than yourself – reducing stress, anxiety and doubt, enabling your focus to be on yourself: who you are, what you do, why you do it. This will mean you will be able to live a fuller life that is of value and has commitment and direction.
How I can help
If you feel that you may need additional help to set you intentions or want to know more about the importance and benefits of meaningful rituals, please get in touch – 07780 692784 or firstname.lastname@example.org