Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Happiness: How To Create Meaningful Rituals In Your Life

On my way to work last week, I saw this really awesome quote painted on a brick wall outside a store.
It read: "Happiness can be found in the smallest of things.
It is our passion to transform your everyday routines into more meaningful rituals...
" This quote really stuck with me and is definitely the inspiration behind this post.
I believe that in order to turn our everyday routines into more meaningful rituals, they need to keep us centered and help move us forward towards our ultimate destination; happiness.
Establishing these meaningful rituals will become just as comfortable as some of the older routines we are replacing and the result will be a much more vibrant, fulfilling life.
Below are five pointers that I found especially helpful when figuring out what rituals best fit into my life: First - Be Spontaneous - Get Out There and Try New Things! I must admit, this was the most uncomfortable yet rewarding and enjoyable things I had to learn to do.
Getting out there and finding out your likes and dislikes is the only way you're going to find your true calling in life; your passion.
I started out by making lists of all the things I've ever wanted to try but never had the courage to do - that was the easy part.
When it came time for me to actually get out there and do the things on this list, this is where my fear emerged...
For me, getting out there and doing something completely new, by myself, was terrifying.
I would ask friends to join me and when someone did not want to accompany me, I would use it as an excuse not to go.
After some time, I realized that the only thing this was doing was creating this inner-space for my fears to fester and grow...
If you feel that going to try a new activity alone is not for you (at first), try joining a group.
Check Google for local group meet ups or use websites such as meetup.
com that facilitate these kinds of group meetings.
This is also a great way to meet new people, learn something new and even spark inspiration! Don't get discouraged when you, inevitably, come across some activities that are not your cup of tea.
That's to be expected! You are not going to like everything you try and finding out your dislikes is just as beneficial as determining your likes - this entire process is about getting to know yourself better.
In Suzan Jeffers' book Feel The Fear...
And Do It Anyway she wrote: "A great researcher, having 'failed' two hundred times before he found the answer to one of his burning questions, was asked, 'doesn't it bother you that you failed all those times?' His answer was, 'I never failed! I discovered two hundred ways not to do something'" With that being said, you just discovered one more thing that is not for you.
Good for you! Let the anticipation grow and motivate you as you move closer to finding your true calling.
Second - Set Realistic, Obtainable Goals in ALL Areas of Your Life There is nothing more discouraging than setting goals and not achieving them.
It is good to have long-term goals for sure but in the meantime, it's better for our self-esteem and our overall progress to be able to see and celebrate in our successes'.
It motivates us to keep going.
One way to make sure your goals are realistic and obtainable is by getting to know yourself and being honest about what we realistically can and will do.
For example; when I first started meditating, it was completely new to me.
The concept, the practice - everything! My goal was to meditate every day for 20 minutes a day.
REALITY: I wasn't even able to meditate for 3 minutes without getting completely frustrated and giving up.
After a week of going through this routine, I gave up completely.
About a month later I had a thought; what if I made my goal to meditate three times a week for 3 minutes each? TA DA! I was able to successfully obtain that goal AND I felt GREAT! Now, I am actually able to meditate for 20 - 30 minutes without frustration and self-ridicule.
All I had to do was take the pressure off myself.
How did I take the pressure off myself? By NOT comparing my progress to the progress of those around me.
When I began this journey I was lucky enough to have my best friend on board - my "growth buddy.
" I am so grateful to have someone so kind, compassionate and non-judgmental as her on this journey with me.
When I am not seeing things clearly, she is there to pull me back up and vice versa.
It is never a competition between us, yet for some reason, I was constantly comparing my progress to hers.
After speaking to her about it, she made complete sense by saying; just because I am having trouble with meditation and she's not, I am getting through other aspects of this journey with ease that she's struggling with.
We need to keep this in mind and stop comparing ourselves to other people because we're NOT the other person.
Something to remember when putting together your goal list is to make sure that you're actually writing them out and not just making a mental list.
Along with writing them out, it is essential that you take the time to visualize how each goal will fit into your life and the steps you will need to take to obtain each goal.
Visualizations are a component of success and transformation that cannot be overlooked.
It's as simple as this (and I am sure you have all heard of) The Law Of Attraction: "Everything that's coming into your life you are attracting into your life.
And its attracted to you by virtue of the images you're holding in your mind.
It's what you're thinking.
Whatever is going on in your mind you are attracting to you.
Every thought of yours is a real thing - a force" -The Secret When creating your goal lists, try to shoot for balance.
This is actually an entire chapter in Suzan Jeffers' Feel the Fear...
And Do It Anyway titled How Whole is your "Whole Life"? In this chapter she discusses how important it is to create a whole life grid with nine separate focal points.
Creating and maintaining balance is an important way to make ourselves feel complete, fully connected and to ensure we keep growing.
My 9 areas of focus include; Contribution and volunteering Hobby and leisure Family Friends Relationships Career Spiritual growth and personal development Alone time and reflection Health and exercise What are yours? (This is a great starting point when developing your goal list) Third - Take Necessary Time for Reflection and to Sit in Stillness Committing to taking time once day to sit in stillness and re-center is a vital part of living a balanced life and moving towards happiness.
Getting in touch with your spirituality should be fun, it shouldn't be a chore.
It is something you should look forward to doing on a daily/weekly basis (whichever you chose).
Try not to make these "mental exercises" redundant.
Do meditation one or two days then switch it up with yoga, tai chi, reiki or whatever it is you would like to do on the other days (this is a great time to pull out your spontaneity list!) Reading a good book that really resonates with me is also a great, fast way for me to get centered and I always seem to read exactly what I need to hear in that moment.
Finding a book that speaks to you and that you can relate to is the key though.
If it is not a book that is relatable to your life, you are not going to feel compelled to read it - and that's really the whole point.
Over the weekend, I was listening to a podcast with Brene Brown and she made a comment that explains why picking stories that resonate with us is so important.
She states: "One of the ways we measure accuracy of our theories is resonance.
Do people see themselves in the lives and stories and narratives that you are creating with your data?" I personally found books such as Melody Beattie's The Language of Letting Go and Mark Nepo's The Book of Awakening personal favorites of mine.
They are both great choices because they have 365 daily readings that are no more than two pages long; they are short, easy to read and inspirational.
Taking time to write in a journal is also very helpful when it comes to reflection (which was honestly one of the things that I hated to do the most in the beginning).
It was so out of my norm and uncomfortable for me to actually write out my feelings and when I did, they were usually filtered out of fear that someone I knew would end up reading it.
I could never allow myself to feel that open, honest and vulnerable (even with myself!)...
I've come to realize that this is a totally normal feeling; all you need to do is push through this fear, be understanding towards yourself and ease into the habit.
Writing out a few sentences about your how you feel and how your day went is a great start! I bet that before long, you will love to write out your feelings, what you dreamed about or messages you may have received during a meditation.
Fourth - Letting Go of Perfectionism "Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth.
Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame.
It's a shield.
Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it's the thing that's really preventing us from taking flight.
" -Brene Brown; The Gifts of Imperfection Initially, I was going to title this section Letting Go of Control but after thinking about it, I had an AHA moment.
Our need to control derives from our image of what we consider "perfect".
So many of us use perfection as a tool to measure how well we are doing when, in reality, its all relative! As Brene Brown discusses in The Gifts of Imperfection, perfection is all about perception and what we perceive to be perfect.
What is perfect to you is not always perfect for me and vice versa.
When we create this image of perfection in our heads, with it comes expectation and the need to control - especially when it comes to the unknown.
When we have everything mapped out, its scary to think about driving without that map in front of us.
This is where faith comes in; we need to have radical faith that whatever is meant to happen will happen and whatever the outcome, it will fit into the big picture beautifully.
It is about becoming comfortable with the unknown (which is a part of life) and learning to stop taking control of the wheel we feel afraid; sometimes its nice and relaxing to just sit in the passengers seat.
Kick your feet up for a bit and just enjoy the ride Finally - Make the Process Fun and Lighten Up a Little! If the process is not fun, you are not going to want to keep at it.
I'm sure you are going to be reading material from tons of different authors and sources - mesh all these ideas and viewpoints together to come up with a unique process that works for you.
Remember that each author is just portraying their truth; what works for them may not work for you, and that is okay...
You are a unique individual; make your journey as unique and special as you are! In order to make this process fun, learn to lighten up a bit and laugh! This process doesn't need to be perfect, in fact, it's not meant to be perfect.
When I used to look back at some of my struggles and how I used to be, it would create pain and hostility; now, I laugh at how I used to act and think.
I recognize, now, that I was doing the best I could with the tools I had been given.
Then I practice gratitude and thank God for all the lessons he has taught me at such a young age.
I love it when Jeffers writes in Feel the Fear...
And Do It Anyway; "Start thinking about yourself as a lifetime student at a large university.
Your curriculum is your total relationship with the world you live in, from the moment you're born to the moment you die.
Each experience is a valuable lesson to be learned.
If you chose Path A, you will learn one set of lessons.
If you chose Path B, you will learn a different set of lessons.
Geology or geometry - just a different teachers and different books to read, different homework to do, different exams to take.
It really doesn't matter...
So - lighten up! Whatever happens as a result of your decision, you'll handle it!" Imagine how much easier this process would be if we would just lighten up...

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