What constitutes part of a morning ritual?Although meditation and exercise can form part of a morning ritual, there are simpler tasks that can also be included. Purposely drinking your morning coffee out in the garden and taking time to appreciate the aroma of the drink and the natural aspects of your surroundings can be part of a ritual. Allocating time to have a conversation over breakfast with your children and spouse before you go your separate ways for the day is another. An action can be very small but should involve you thinking about the action and being aware of feelings and senses associated with it. The morning is the best time to begin these rituals as they can invigorate and prepare you for the rest of the day.
Why are morning rituals beneficial?People use morning rituals for many different reasons and discover various benefits when they do. Benefits may include:
- Helping with healthy diet – being mindful of what you are eating and savouring each mouthful makes you more conscious of eating health and avoiding foods that could impact negatively on your mood and energy levels.
- Making you more disciplined – sticking to rituals each day can give you a disciplined mindset in other areas of your daily life.
- Highlighting the importance of time – setting aside specific time for rituals reveals how much time you have in the day to focus on your own needs.
- Increased productivity and creativity
The mental health benefits of morning rituals for the entire familyRituals aren’t just for adults, and implementing morning rituals at the early stages of development can have life-long benefits.
Studies have shown that rituals and routines can have a huge impact on children. According to a study included in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, children from families with lower levels of routine experienced higher levels of hyperactivity and impulsivity compared to families with established routines.
As a family, implement a morning routine that sets the tone for the day. Let everyone know that the morning is a time of family discussion, or meditation, or the time you all gather to enjoy breakfast. This can also be the time you go over everybody’s tasks for the day so the routine is clear to all. A chart, or visual prompts for younger children, can be used as part of the morning ritual to clarify the routine for the day.
Rituals, food and mental healthThe food we eat has an effect on both our physical and mental wellbeing. Fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, and healthy proteins such as those found in beans, seeds, nuts, and pulses help to maintain a healthy body. Too many processed foods containing sugars and fats make us sluggish which in turn makes us less active.
A diet lacking in protein can lead to serotonin depletion. Serotonin is a chemical required to regulate mood and so those suffering from protein deficiency may find themselves becoming depressed, anxious and aggressive. Incorporating healthy foods into your diet and enjoying the morning ritual of a healthy breakfast while savouring each mouthful, will make you more aware of the foods you eat. This ritual will then have a positive effect on both your mental and physical health.