The Power of Positive Rituals

24 Jan


Taking the powerWhen clients come to me, we often work on behaviour that has become habitual. When we think about habits, we tend to focus on those habits that we feel are unhelpful – always having something sweet after meals, smoking or biting fingernails.  We talk about our ‘bad habits’, as if they are something we can’t change.


What I encourage my clients to do is to find a more positive habit to replace the old behaviour.   When we try not to do something, our minds can struggle.   This is why diets can be so troublesome – we are constantly thinking about the food we’re not allowed to eat!   That’s why it’s helpful to come up with an alternative.   That way our minds have something to focus on and the change feels a lot easier.


In their wonderful book ‘On Form’, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz talk about positive rituals, ‘precise, consciously acquired behaviours that become automatic in our lives’, in other words – habits.  We can choose to establish new habits that become positive rituals in our daily lives, an established routine which is faithfully followed.


A number of my personal habits have become positive rituals, which form an important part of my life.   Some examples are:


  1. Morning Meditation.  This is something that has become part of my daily routine now, setting me up for the day.   On those days that I miss my meditation, I notice that I feel less grounded.


  2. Walk to work Wednesday.  I like to walk as often as I can and on a Wednesday, I make a special effort to walk to the therapy room where I am based.  It’s a habit that often spreads to other days of the week and has a positive impact on my body and mind.


  3. Curry Thursday.  Now this might not sound like a particularly positive habit (bear with me!)  Curry Thursday is my date night with Mr H and is something we have done since we first met.  It’s now firmly embedded as part of our relationship and is important as often we don’t see much of each other during the week.  It’s a positive ritual that means that we always make this time for each other.


So, my challenge to you this week is to think about at least one positive ritual that you can begin to make part of your routine. What area of your life would you like to improve? Maybe your positive ritual could apply to your health, your relationship, your work or your self-care?

Take some time to think about it now and feel free to commit to your new positive ritual below in the comments.

Please help others by sharing.

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