The Ultimate Guide to Rituals and Why We Need Them
Feel like you’re stuck spinning your wheels? Keep reading and learn how your daily rituals bring meaning and good vibes to everyday tasks.
While you might not think rituals have much to do with beauty, we’ve found that our daily rituals have a huge impact on our self-image and overall well being. That’s why we think it’s important to have a conversation with each other about our rituals and why they’re important to us.
Most of us have daily habits we complete without much thought. These habits help us get our day started, help us stay motivated, or even help us wind down at the end of a long day. But sometimes this can leave us feeling like our lives lack meaning. That’s because one of the biggest differences between a habit and a ritual is your frame of mind.
By intentionally practicing the art of ritual it can take your everyday habits to new heights and bring meaning to tasks that were previously meaningless. Don’t know where to start? No worries, we’ve got all the details ;)
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What’s the Difference Between Habits and Rituals?
Certain tasks can be mere habits. Think about the way you wake up and brush your teeth or wash your face without really thinking about it. It’s almost like you’re on autopilot. It’s that “autopilot” mentality that makes it a habit. However, that same task could also be accomplished in a way that makes it a ritual.
For example, think about setting the table. When you’re putting plates and utensils around the table for a meal, it’s not typically considered a ritual. You might mix up what side the forks and knives go in, and it’s not a big deal. So long as it’s practical and efficient, that’s all that matters.
When you think about setting the table for a holiday or religious event like Passover, however, the same task suddenly takes on new meaning. The Passover Seder dinner, for example, is a lengthy ritual feast involving a table-setting practice with precise placement of items. This is important for the sake of tradition, but also because certain items are used at particular times during the meal.
Without the ritualistic intent, however, Passover would be just as habitual as setting the table for your kids before they rush off to school. So, while a ritual and a habit can have similar actions, it’s a person's frame of mind that makes all the difference. The physical actions may be the same, but a ritual has additional psychological features.
These “psychological features” are also known as “mindfulness.” Taking the time to be aware of your surroundings, your feelings, and the significance of your actions is what turns a habit into a ritual. This allows you to gain a deeper sense of meaning from the motions. It’s all about your intentions.
Why Makes Rituals So Special?
If you were an athlete in school, you might have had a pre-game ritual you performed with your team. Maybe you have a friend that you Skype with once a month? Maybe you just like to get up and sit quietly with your morning cup of coffee before the kids wake up. ALL of these can be rituals! And they serve very important purposes.
Rituals help us regulate our emotions, help us perform tasks better, and they can even help us create stronger social connections. The phrase, “get your head in the game” is a motto that athletes take very seriously. That’s because if you’re not in the right frame of mind, you won’t perform at your best. Pre-game rituals help athletes quiet any other thoughts that might be getting in their way or causing anxiety.
Speaking of anxiety, having rituals can help with that too. Have you ever cleaned your entire house because you were anxious? Yeah, that’s a pretty common anti-anxiety ritual. Some people have mantras that they repeat to help them quiet racing thoughts. Others start their day by writing out a to-do list so they don’t get overwhelmed by a hectic schedule.
For the friends that only meet once a month for coffee, it’s not just about catching up. It’s about having a dedicated time where they can reconnect and strengthen their bond.
Why We Need Rituals and Mindfulness
In essence, having a ritual practice helps us strengthen our hearts and minds. And in this day and age, that’s not easy. Our ability to be open with people, to love ourselves and others, and even our ability to handle conflicts all stem from our mental and emotional strength.
Many people swear by having a strict meditation practice. But not all of us have 30 minutes every day to meditate on ascending to our highest selves. That doesn’t mean we can’t sneak in tiny rituals here and there that give us peace of mind. You can have the healthiest body on the planet, but what's the point if your mind, body, AND heart aren't healthy? Happiness and contentment are just as important for overall wellness as exercise. It's just a lot harder to exercise your heart and mind. So start small!
How Can YOU Practice Rituals Every Day?
Maybe you’re scoffing at the idea of finding meaning in your normal everyday tasks. The thought of finding spiritual transcendence while brushing your teeth does seem a little ridiculous. But that’s just the thing, find what works for you! The whole point is to find something that fits your lifestyle that helps you build your mental fortitude and emotional strength. Think of it as a new mental self-care practice.
As an example, here are 3 of our favorite daily rituals...
Three Easy Daily Rituals
- Morning yoga. Yes, sometimes we would rather stay in bed, but practicing yoga in the morning (or any time of day) is a great way to connect with your body, focus your breathing, and release any tension you may be unknowingly holding. Not only is it a great way to show gratitude for your body, but it’s also good practice for focusing your thoughts. Plus, if you find yourself far too fidgety for standard meditation practices, yoga might be just the activity for you.
- Make tea. Ok, it doesn’t have to be tea. Feel free to substitute your morning beverage of choice, but the idea will still be the same. The biggest shift will be in your intentions. Instead of mindlessly boiling water and throwing a tea bag into the mug while scrambling around for breakfast, try to take your time. Focus on one task at a time, and cherish each one. Watch the steam rising from the mug, and notice how the water changes color as the tea steeps. Plus, imagine each sip warming your heart and giving you energy for the day.
- Ritual Skincare. This one is pretty obvious for us, but it’s surprisingly helpful! Whether we’re taking our makeup off at the end of the day or whether we’re washing our faces in the morning, we do it with intention. When we take our makeup off, we imagine wiping any negativity away from our day. When we moisturize, we envision energy and love being infused into every pore. It sounds goofy, but it helps us take pride in our skin.
As you can see, these are all pretty basic. But their purpose is to help us be positive, practice gratitude, be more productive, and to boost our self-love vibes!
Maybe they’re not big, grand rituals with candles and incense, but happiness can come from tiny, precious moments throughout your day.
Rituals give you more than just skin that vibes
Rituals don’t have to be intense. You don’t have to perform them on a full moon and see white light surrounding people (although you certainly COULD do that). If you don’t have any sort of regular habits that you could easily turn into rituals, then think about the type of changes you'd like to see and work backwards.
Maybe you want to be more confident. Try taking 5 minutes in the morning to listen to your favorite cat-walk stompin' jam and imagine yourself striding through your day with your head held high. The biggest thing is to find something that works for you, and to be intentional about it. Imagine it in your mind, visualize it, and manifest it into reality.
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Till next time, Gorgeous!