Routines versus Rituals

Do you have a morning ritual? Most people have morning routines. We are trained from birth to wash our faces, brush our teeth, and eat breakfast – you know this routine inside and out.

Routine and ritual have some commonalities. Both routine and ritual:

  • Are comprised of actions (including speaking.)
  • Have tangible outcomes (although people don’t usually think of ritual as being linked to results we can touch and feel, rituals lead to real results.)
  • Shift us from one physical or emotional space to a different space.
  • Lower anxiety and create more inner peace, both physiologically and psychologically.

We are what we repeatedly do. ~ Aristotle

What makes a morning routine a ritual?

A routine creates order. It provides structure and helps us get things done. Without setting my alarm, I wouldn’t get to work on time. Without Saturday as the designated day for washing clothes, I would wear sweat pants all winter.

On the other hand, ritual is about being mindfully engaged versus being on automatic. It assists us in opening to something deeper inside, maybe what we call our soul. And, it can feel magical.


My Morning Ritual

My morning ritual grounds me when things around me are in flux and shifting quickly and often. I’m grateful to start my day with ritual.

Some morning rituals, such as yoga in the morning, I have let go, replacing them with practices that feel more right at this time. I release, add, and transform different practices…the key is knowing what I need at any particular point in my journey.

My current morning ritual includes:

  • Saying affirmations while looking in the mirror – to practice positive self talk.
  • Drinking water with lemon –  to rebalance my PH and flush out toxins.
  • Savoring a cup of very dark coffee with lots of cream. Hot drinks are comforting, especially if you approach them with mindfulness and appreciate the ritual of making the coffee or tea, pouring them, and then taking time to sip mindfully
  • Reading something spiritual or inspirational – can correct harmful habits, negative thinking, and misperceptions about our true nature.
  • Meditating for 20 minutes – to clear the mind of static, distractions and chatter.

Whatever I do next, I’m feeling great. I’ve started out my day making a great connection with myself and doing the several helpful things that support and nurture me.


Turn A Routine Into A Ritual

If you’ve never had a morning ritual, you can start with something you are already doing. Something that is already part of your morning routine can become the basis for a morning ritual.


Start with the thing you value the most, the activity that you think makes the most difference in your day. It could be making and drinking your coffee, writing your to-do list for the day, or your morning exercise. Pick one thing that will be an anchor for your practice. Instead of just getting it done, or doing it while engaged in other activities, create a 5-minute ritual with it.  Once you’re comfortable with it, in about a month, you will add new elements. In order to stick to a ritual, you need to avoid getting overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed is the opposite of what you want to experience. If you start feeling overwhelmed, do less! Do fewer practices, on fewer days, for fewer minutes.


Benefits Of Having A Morning Ritual

How does having a morning ritual help us? I devote the first 40 minutes of my day to a morning ritual because it makes my day better. A few of the benefits you can experience from having a morning ritual are:

  • Feeling more grounded
  • Slowing down
  • Being in touch with your intuition
  • Clarity, about your goals, intentions, values
  • Silence

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~ Marcus Aurelius

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