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Cultivating Morning Rituals & Routines

I am honored to have Alyssa Pelletier, therapist in training, write this month’s blog post for “Thoughts from the Couch.” She writes about the importance of cultivating a morning ritual for yourself. Routines and rituals are more important than ever during these stressful times we are all living in and I am excited to share her suggestions with you.

Mornings can be tough, and they’re not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. I often find myself hitting snooze to sleep a few extra minutes, then rushing through to make it to work on time. My mind wants to believe those few extra minutes of sleep are more beneficial then a few moments of active meditation, stretching, or mindfully drinking my coffee. But I think we all know that this isn’t necessarily the case…

How we start our day is a true testament to how the rest of our day will pan out. By snoozing our alarm and setting ourselves up to rush around in the morning, we will most likely feel rushed throughout our day. Have you noticed that when you do allow yourself time and space to put energy into a routine or rituals you feel more grounded and calm? Research has shown that routines and rituals can impact one’s emotions, performance, and social connection. According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, it can even impact familial relationships to support marital satisfaction, children’s health, academic achievement, and overall strength of a family’s bond. Below are some tips and ideas of how to cultivate routines and rituals into your own life, or your families!

  • Start Slow: They say it takes 21 days to start a habit, so don’t put the pressure on yourself, or your family, to be consistent right away! Perhaps start with one day of the week and build up slowly from there. This will help set yourself up for success!
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reinforcement is at the basics of behavioral psychology, starting a new routine is no different! Break it down however seems fit for you. Perhaps after a month of getting up early to exercise, you buy yourself those new sneakers you wanted. Or if your family sticks to Sunday dinners, the last Sunday of the month you pick a place for take-out instead of cooking. You deserve rewards!
  • Focus on the rise, not the fall: Reality is, we will probably fail at some point. We may do good for a few days, or weeks, then that one day we decide to watch television instead of read our book or we have to skip a family game night. This is okay! We are humans and perfection is impossible to achieve. It’s important to focus on returning to our routines and getting back to our rituals. Give yourself permission to skip and slip, while also focusing on returning to our commitments.
  • Reflect and adjust: Sometimes we set ourselves up for too many routines, or perhaps a ritual no longer resonates with us. Check in with yourself and your family to ensure that these new patterns are still bringing value to your day to day and your relationships. Continue to adjust accordingly!

Research referenced:

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/550b09eae4b0147d03eda40d/t/5ca5d04df4e1fca495df0e90/1554370686866/psychology-of-rituals.pdf

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2002/12/rituals

Meet the author

Alyssa Pelletier

Alyssa Pelletier is a therapist-in-training, virtual assistant, and recovery support specialist based out of Connecticut. Alyssa is studying Marriage and Family Therapy and will be graduating in May of 2022. She hopes to combine her training in yoga and mindfulness with her love for the outdoors to support those suffering from addiction with holistic, nature-based modalities. Connect with Alyssa on Instagram at @alyssaraetherapy.

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