Some people cherish them for years and treat with respect. Rituals are remarkable companions that make our lives more meaningful and complete. We seem to talk more and more about them and how crucial they are to have. The question is what makes them so special and in what way they improve our lives.
The healing power of repetition
Instead of trusting my own general knowledge and information found on the Internet I decided to talk to a specialist. Iga Bedkowska is a psychologist and a cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist whose experience helped me understand the concept of rituals in depth. Surprisingly there is more to it than you could possibly imagine!
Drinking a glass of water in the morning, jotting a few lines in your diary before going to bed or maybe preparing a healthy smoothie in the afternoon as an additional treat for yourself. All the rituals, whatever they are, have a common quality which joins them together. They give you some pleasure and an overwhelming state of joy. In this me-time all your problems fade away, time stops and you concentrate on here and now.
Rituals are also an excellent way for you to get hold of your emotions, Iga claims. You start to control the world around you and your actions with a sense of purpose and in full awareness. This way they become an excellent means of reducing stress, anxiety and tension.
When I asked Iga how to best describe a ritual she thought for a second and then answered with a spark of triumph in her eyes. There is one important characteristic which should be highlighted. Rituals are completely different from habits as everything we perform is done mindfully and consciously. Habits don’t have any special meaning at all. We complete them automatically, without much thinking and they don’t evoke any emotions. In other words – they don’t create an emotional bond.
The beauty of simplicity
Valuable rituals are those anchored in mindfulness. Iga gave me a simple exercise which develops this ability and is a great starting point for everyone. Are you ready? Take a tangerine and put it on a table. Forget everything you know about it and approach it as something completely new that you have never seen before. You are going to use all your senses to examine it thoroughly. First, have a look at its shape, texture, colour and how the light hits it. Then, touch it, feel the rough surface of its peel, check its weight and how it rolls on the table. Smell it and try to identify all the nuances of this bouquet. Peel it and while doing it, hear the sound it makes and feel the citrus notes surrounding your body. Put a bit of the tangerine into your mouth and first use your tongue to feel its uneven texture and all the crevices. Now you can bite it and enjoy the sweet and sour juice filling your mouth and getting down your throat. You have just experienced a tangerine the way you have never before and it must have surely given you a lot of pleasure. Using all your senses and focusing on your task made this ritual one of a kind. Apply mindfulness to all your rituals to give them a sense of meaning and purpose. This way you will stay consistent and keep them as yours because they will be a never-ending source of pleasure.
Blissful morning, relaxing evening
Introducing rituals gives shape to your life an additional flavour which you look forward to. Plan your own activities or use some of ours to get a fresh look at what you do.
Before you rush out of your bed in the morning give yourself a few minutes to enjoy the view from the window, feel the silky texture of your By Dariia Day Silk Pillowcase under your cheek and tell yourself that it is going to be a good day. This simple statement repeated day after day changes your mindset and makes a new morning brighter. Now it is time to wake your body. Have a drink of warm water and lemon. Enjoy the fresh citrus smell and the warming sensation in your stomach. Then tie your hair with By Dariia Day Silk Scrunchie before you move on. Feel its smooth texture under your fingertips to let your body know it is time to get energised. Stretch, exercise, jog or do some yoga. Appreciate every breath, work of your muscles, your strength and progress. Finally have a bath or a shower to say thank you to your body and start the day fresh. The warmth of water, the smell of your shower gel, the way your towel embraces you at the end of the process. Focus your mind on here and now and enjoy the simple things. You will see how much of a difference it makes when you compare it to hectic mornings where everything is bland.
Use a similar technique to plan your evening rituals so that they become a true reward after a day full of demanding tasks. Why don’t you get a scented candle which you really enjoy? Lighting it will be a sign for your body to unwind. Take your clothes off and let By Dariia Day Silk Robe caress your skin. Its gentle touch will make you forget about all the hardships of the whole day. Pull your hair back with By Dariia Day Headband. Focus on the smooth movement of the silk against your hair. Wash your face to remove all the fatigue of the day and massage it to take away the tension. Make it a special moment when you have some time for yourself. Don’t rush, just focus on here and now. One hour before going to bed, turn your mobile off, dim the lights to let your body know it is time to rest. Read a book, write about your day in a journal and let your steam off. Now put your silk By Dariia Day Eye Mask and get a well deserved sleep. You have earned it.
Rituals are sensational when applied correctly. We need to understand that it is a me-time and nothing else matters. E-mails may wait as they won’t magically disappear (too bad!), you can also call your friend back in a few minutes, the Earth will still revolve around the Sun. No worries. Cut all unnecessary stimuli and drop the idea of multitasking. Learn how to spend time with yourself and your thoughts. Especially when your head is full of chaos and negative ideas so you tend to binge watch Netflix or turn music up just to quiet all these voices. Start slowly, with only one short ritual and find pleasure in its simplicity.
by Anna Sokołowska