29 Sep The Power of Rituals: Why Meaningful Routines Enhance Your Life
Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” When it comes to having morning and evening rituals, nothing could be more accurate.
On a recent episode of The Darin Olien Show, I managed to catch a moment with the guru of biohacking, Ben Greenfield. Ben is a body and brain performance coach. He’s also a New York Times Bestselling Author, speaker, podcast host, and CEO of both Ben Greenfield Fitness and Kion.
He constructs his day around his daily rituals. “That morning ritual and that evening ritual. Those are the bookends on your day,” explains Ben.
“The importance of it is not just because it’s this built-in habit or routine that keeps you sane each day. But because it helps you grow. Every single day you become a better person.”
If meditation isn’t already on your schedule, it really should be. The simple truth is that meditation is insanely good for you. Yep, even you. Not only does it generate a sense of calm, but the added health benefits are incredible too.
Meditation releases endorphins, combats depression and anxiety, decreases stress, improves concentration, and can even reduce pain. What a way to start your day!
As dawn breaks, Ben likes to start his day with his family. “We all gather as a family,” Ben explains. “We all have our journals, and we sit, and we meditate.”
Do you feel like you don’t have time to meditate in the morning? Try setting your alarm a little earlier than usual to give yourself enough time. Get up at 5:45 instead of 6:00. So, take the time to sit, center yourself, and meditate for 5 to 10 minutes each morning. Trust me, you’ll feel the benefits in no time.
Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, and Jennifer Aniston. What do all these people have in common? They have all included journaling into their rituals.
Taking the time to write in a meaningful way each day can clarify your thoughts. It gives you space to evaluate your goals and even define your path in life.
Journaling isn’t just great for the soul. In fact, from a scientific standpoint, there are tremendous health benefits that occur from jotting down your musings. A 2005 journaling study found that participants were significantly less likely to get sick and had better coping skills when they journaled at least once a day.
All in all, writing your intentions first thing in the morning can set out the guidelines for how you’re going to feel and act throughout your day.
Gratitude & Service
What are you grateful for? Many of us reserve this question for the Thanksgiving table, but it should definitely be part of your morning rituals.
In an article titled ‘Why Gratitude Is Good’, written by gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons, he explains that acknowledging gratitude can lead to a stronger immune system, better social relationships, and more joy. Now, who doesn’t want that?
“We begin each day with gratitude and with service,” explains Ben. After their meditation session, his whole family gathers to put pen to paper and write down, “one thing we’re grateful for, and then one person we can pray for, or help, or serve that day.”
So, what are you grateful for today? Do you have a friend that might appreciate a call this afternoon? During this time, think about and write down the fantastic things within your life. How can you pass that energy on by serving someone else?
The evening serves as the best time to wind down and reflect. “We return with our journals, and we share with each other what it is that we’re grateful for, and who it is that we wrote down to pray, or help, or serve that day,” Ben says.
If your morning service statement was to provide service for your grandma, did you actually get around to fulfilling that promise? “What did you do for grandma? Did you call her on the phone, did you say a nice prayer for her? Did you go help her out with something?” Ben probes. “There is a little bit of accountability.”
Your inaction can have consequences. Therefore, you need to hold yourself responsible. Start adding accountability into your rituals by reflecting on whether you’ve fulfilled your promise for the day. If you haven’t, why not? What could you do differently tomorrow?
We all make mistakes. When they happen, it can be a hard pill to swallow. But you have to remember, in every error, there is a lesson.
Ben loves his failures. In fact, he sees them as life-builders and a great way to evolve as a person. “Identifying what it is you’ve failed at each evening can seem like it’s a self-defeating, negative mentality to get into at night. But I’ve only found it to help myself and my family grow dramatically,” he explains.
So, how do you grow from your failures? By answering two simple questions of course.
“What good have I done today? What could I have done better?”
Your day’s fumble may have been something as small as accidentally burning dinner. So, take the time to ask yourself, “why?”
Did you get distracted? Do you need to be more mindful of the food you’re cooking so you don’t waste ingredients? Could you have slowed down and been more present?
Take the time to examine how you can take that failure and learn from it so that you can try your best tomorrow.
You should start your day with calmness. Breathe into it. That way, your head will be clearer as you set your intentions of gratitude and service. End your day with thoughtfulness. When you take the time to reflect on your actions, it allows you to become more aware of how you can be better tomorrow.