Humans are creatures of habit. Researchers at MIT discovered, “90 percent of what most people do in any day follows routines so complete that their behavior can be predicted with just a few mathematical equations.” Psychology Today notes that these predictable behaviors are evolutionary and designed to help us navigate through our day while simultaneously getting our social and physiological needs met. Ultimately all animals are creatures of habit. Think of the ways birds migrate or dogs wait by the door when they know you’re on the way home. Structure and routine are important to human functionality. Children especially thrive on routines. The US Department of Health and Human Services says, “When infants and toddlers are part of familiar activities and routines, they develop relationships with the people they interact with and gain a sense of belonging and self-confidence. As older toddlers and young children grow, they can follow routines, demonstrate emerging independence, and adjust to change more easily.” Habits are part of what it means to be human, but the really fascinating thing is how we can improve our lives by creating rituals to improve our health.
Rituals may be a funny word to describe a habit. Perhaps it evokes connotations of religious practices or even superstitions, as the original definition of the word intends. However, personal rituals are essentially routines that are designed by the person performing the ritual for a specific purpose. The major difference between a routine and a ritual is that a ritual increases your connection to your awareness; a ritual is sacred to you. For example, if the first thing you do every single morning is to wake up and brush your teeth, eat a bowl of cereal, and scroll through your phone that’s a routine. It serves a very specific function—it starts your day and gets a bit of food in your stomach. You don’t have to do it first thing in the morning, but if you didn’t you might feel a little funny because you’ve done it so long it’s become a habit. Now imagine you added a ritual to that routine. Maybe you wake up, brush your teeth, do 15 minutes of morning yoga, practice some focused breathing, eat breakfast with your family, and then make a cup of green tea. This becomes a ritual—a purposeful practice repeated over and over for your benefit. Rituals can help to improve your overall health.
Rituals work in tandem with mediation and can become a fundamental part of a person’s personal journey. Therefore, the benefits are specific to each person. However, generally speaking, some benefits of implementing rituals into your daily life can be:
- Better memory
- Improved mood
- Better sleep.
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower blood sugar
- Balanced hormones
- Improved immunity
- Fewer headaches
- Less pain
Science of People asserts that each person must set their intention first before embracing a new daily ritual. Perhaps you’re searching for more focus in your day. Maybe you require more energy. Some may be looking to lose weight or gain confidence. Others may be working towards eliminating medication in a healthy and beneficial way. Maybe you just want to spend more time with your family in the course of your incredibly busy day. A professional coach can help you determine what your goals are so you can determine the right rituals to help you achieve them. It may feel like a lot of pressure to create exactly the right rituals to achieve all of your goals, but it’s best to start small and build upon what already comes naturally to you. If you want to stay more hydrated in the day, plan certain rituals that focus on your body’s need for water and how to provide that hydration for it. Dr. Oz, the world-famous doctor, lists just 7 daily rituals that are important to his overall health. Former American President, Barack Obama, famously said his morning ritual consisted of a workout and breakfast with his daughters. You don’t need to accomplish much for your rituals to have a great impact on your health and your overall well-being.
A professional coach can help you to determine what rituals you want to introduce to your life for your physical, mental, and/or spiritual health.