What image comes to mind when you hear the word "ritual?" It may be different depending on your background. For me, it's something meaningful that I do to keep myself aligned with my best version of myself. For some, it's a spiritual experience. For others, it's simply a time to be still and hear yourself think. For me, it's a little bit of both.
I'M AWAKE NOW WHAT?
When you get up in the morning- you have a few choices. You can have a plan or aimlessly wander around until you "feel inspired," but that rarely produces any long-lasting results. If you are not careful, you may unknowingly allow someone else's plan to become your plan. How, you may ask? "By not having your own thoughts and plans and by turning on the news, watching social media, reading emails, etc., all events which are more than willing to bombard your mind with a negativity plan before you've even had a chance to think in quiet and plan what truly makes you feel inspired.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
If you find yourself ruminating over thoughts that don't seem to give you energy, then you may benefit from "a ritual." A morning ritual helps you focus on thoughts, ideas, and actions that generate long lasting positive energy that lasts the whole day. I don't think anyone purposely desires to go in the direction of unhappiness, but that's precisely how many people go about life- uninspired. They meander aimlessly and without a plan or meaningful daily ritual. If your ritual isn't working - then change it! Thoughts become actions and and actions become character- for better or for worse so choose wisely...
What are you "feeding on" daily? Is it going to benefit you in the long run? Does it create joy or does it drag you down? Do your thoughts serve you and others or do they steal your energy? Don't be afraid to examine it.
ASK YOURSELF 2 QUESTIONS.
Your mind, and your thinking can go down some interesting paths. I like to ask myself if thoughts serve me. Always ask yourself these two questions when your mind wanders to questionable areas. 1. Does this thought serve me? 2. Is it true?
Thoughts can sap our energy or give us renewed energy and so can people. If you don't have any mental direction for your mind, then you leave yourself open to the "airways" so to speak. In that case, someone else's ideas and thoughts are actually directing your "energies". Thoughts and feelings come and go but if you consciously plan your day with a morning routine that inspires you then you will take control of your ship and steer it in a productive direction that serves you and the ones you love.
If you don't rein in your thoughts, then you are giving away your precious freedom and vital power to choose. Pretty soon, if you continue down that path- you may start to notice feelings of frustration, irritability, anxiety, and, if left for too long- energy-sapping depression. Real choice is the freedom to choose the direction we want our mind and life to go in. When we feel "cognitive dissonance" then life can feel draining and lose its "fragrance." That's what allowing someone else's' agenda can do to us if we aren't more mindful. By beholding, we become...
JUST SAY NO TO NEWS
Most people get up and check their phone, emails, social media, and news, before even getting out of bed in the morning. The statistics are very high and it leads to depression the studies show. Allowing screens (TV, phones, computers iPads etc) to dictate our mood is the perfect recipe for depression and anxiety. I used to do this (check my phone in the morning). I would use up my vital force before I even had a chance to decide what I wanted to think about! Everyone's else's thoughts, ideas and "emergencies" became my own-without me realizing it. It drained and sapped me.
THE OPPOSITE OF CHANGE IS STAGNATION
Staying stuck feels icky doesn't it? You have to break out of the dreaded "comfort zone". Our brains wire and fire the way we train it- by our thoughts and actions. What's sad is that when we are addicted to news and drama all the time, our brains actually develop an addictive response mechanism- called a dopamine hit. In other words, you can't help it- you are addicted to negativity and news because you are getting a temporary pay- off- dopamine. It's a drug, and it's addictive. Like most drugs, it will take you down. You think you are in control. But you aren't. When fear and news control your life, hearing about it gives the illusion we are in control. We are not, and guess what? You could turn the news off for a whole year and come back to the same sensational stories year after year so, why not build a meaningful life and tap into your full potential and enjoy more happiness and real world connection? I did and I love the changes it's produced in my well being and life.
I now start to move my body right when I wake up. No phone. Instead, I choose to get dressed and go for a run. I choose to connect with others (mentors) a few days a week or spend time with people who are on the same journey that I am on (self betterment). I connect with people that inspire me and help keep me accountable and joyful. I personally also choose to pray and thank God daily. There's a lot of elevation in gratitude! I choose to read scripture and have fun planning my life.
I stopped getting on my phone and broke my device addiction because screens drained my vital life force and stole my spiritual, physical, and creative mental freedom- my joy. My depression evaporated into thin air when I stopped watching news. As long as I stay on my course, I don't get "Mr. Dark Cloud" that grumpy o'l foe. I am also selective about who I share my time with- because "dark energy" looks for "friends". Light energy does too. So, go to the light keepers is my best advice. Good things happen in the light and it's much better for our soul.
Now with my intentional morning ritual, I find renewed inspiration, elevated mood, and more mental happiness and FREEDOM! Creating a plan and having more time to myself in the morning (and on a daily basis) renews my creative energy tank. I choose to pour into my own life by allowing that sacred time to saturate all of the other areas of my life- and it works beautifully! I now bring a more balanced sense of self to the table and that benefits me, my community and my loved ones much more! I have more positive energy to give and share, inspiring others and myself, and this makes me feel more connected and alive.
Today, I have a fulfilling morning ritual that includes running, admiring nature, audio-logging, prayer and meditation, writing, planning, studying, brainstorming, and creating. I take care of my body and mind because it benefits me and those I love. If I didn't plan it, I would probably live in my head, with no new ideas or inspiration which doesn't help me or others. I now find my thoughts more inspiring because I intentionally plan them to be that way!
SIMPLE IDEAS TO GET YOU OUT OF YOUR HEAD & ENJOYING LIFE AGAIN
Being grateful for everything and everyone you have in your life will change your state of mind faster than any other idea on this list. If you can't think of anything, then start with your senses. What do you see? A chair in your room? Be grateful! Your eyes to see that chair and so many other colors and beauty, be thankful! You get the drift.
Move your body and get your blood flowing to your brain and organs. Exercise creates endorphins that clear out toxins and aids us when feeling mentally strained and depressed. It's vital to move your body 45 minutes daily- non-stop. Get your heart rate up DAILY. Go here to figure out what your target heart rate is be for your age bracket etc,.
3. Brainstorm without judgment. Create a dreaming session (AKA morning pages, ritual pages, plan of action, etc.) with yourself using pen and paper, video or audio recording, or any other medium that inspires you! Dance sing or whatever you enjoy - but capture it! That way you can relive and remember those great ideas and moments of inspiration. Play. Don't judge them. Don't be a critic. Let dreams and ideas flow- the way a child dreams- freely. This time is as cathartic and as good as any therapy.
4. Plan 2-3 BIG WINS for the day and celebrate checking those off when you complete them. Write or record how completing those made you feel at the end of your day too. Read it before bedtime and be grateful on purpose. Celebrate!
5. Create automated reminders. It can be a kitchen timer with a bell that alerts you to take a break, or it could be a phone alarm with an attachment or scheduled plan. Creating auto-reminders gets your schedule needs out of your head so you can be free from the "fear of forgetting". Creating auto reminders is more for the necessities of life so you can be more free to enjoy what truly makes you happy. I set a lunch one, and a break time one. This allows me to stretch and walk around, get a glass of water, look outside- you get the point.
6. Eat on time and eat to live (instead of living to eat). Good food good mood. If you are depressed- eat living food that gives life and energy. Junk food and over processed food is not fuel for human bodies. It has been proven time and time and again that healthy food (living whole-foods) not only increases life span and quality of life but can even alleviate (and get rid of) mental disorders including some types of schizophrenia! That's because food is fuel! "Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
7. Smile. Studies show that smiling increases happy chemicals in our brain. It's free and it works! Try it! Enjoy good things. Think on what is of a good report (bye bye news!) and enjoy celebrating others happiness too. Search for interesting things that inspire you and then share or write about them! Let it create a newness in your spirit and a pep in your step.
I hope this simple list helps you create an original and inspiring ritual that works best for you. Daily morning rituals have proven to help with depression, anxiety, and general lack of hope and energy. I hope these tips also help you as much as they have helped me in overcoming those strange days where you simply feel drained or "off" and are needing an elevated state. Renewing your vital energy is important, so don't ignore those feelings. Elevate! Try it! It's truly a wonderful little tool in aiding your creativity and forward momentum.
Dream big and love well- you never know whose life you may be saving- perhaps even your own.