The Importance Of Rituals

By Georgia Hartmann
Naturopath, Nutritionist & Women’s Health Expert

A study conducted in the United Kingdom examining how long it takes for adults to form a healthy habit found that (on average) it takes 66 days before habits become automatic.[1] 

This is where creating a morning ritual can be a game-changer. 

By establishing a simple routine, you set the tone for the day. You know it yourself一when you’re woken in fright by your fourth alarm; when you rush to have a shower; when you’re out the door with a piece of toast and coffee in hand (only to discover you’re already running late); when you’ve left the house with a stain on your blouse一your day is already thrown out. You feel rushed, overwhelmed, and already on the backfoot. (And it’s not even 9 am).

The scientific evidence solidifies the frustration that poor habits have on our health, with research suggesting that poor daily habits are associated with weight gain, mood disorders, employment cessation, and suicide rates.[2-4] 

So how can you start creating (and maintaining) a healthy habit? Here are a few easy steps: [5]

  • Decide on a goal that you would like to achieve for your health.
  • Choose a simple action that will get you towards your goal which you can do on a daily basis. 
  • Plan when and where you will do your chosen action. Be consistent: choose a time and place that you encounter every day of the week.
  • Every time you encounter that time and place, do the action.
  • It will get easier with time, and within 10 weeks you should find you are doing it automatically without even having to think about it.

To give you a bit of an idea一here are the five rituals I personally incorporate into my day. I find these ground me and improve my mood and motivation throughout the day.

  1. Write a list. Juggling work and home life can certainly become a challenge. Get clear on what you need to accomplish in your day and write a list. You will be surprised how (incredibly) satisfying it is to cross each item off.
  2. Take your morning cuppa outside. The presence of green and accessible natural space is also known to reduce levels of stress hormones, increases the likelihood of exercising, support healthy dietary decisions, and promotes longevity.[6]
  3. Move your body. Making exercise a regular part of your a.m. routine ensures you are starting your day off with a big boost of energy. What we know about regular exercise is that it can improve a whole range of concerns. In fact, some 40 conditions一from weight management to diverticulitis to PCOS to depression to pain to cognitive dysfunction (and all that is in-between).[7]
  4. Deep breathe as you cleanse your face. I get that this may sound bizarre, but as a new mum, I cherish my ‘mummy minutes’ in the shower. Take a moment to switch on the parasympathetic nervous system (our calming nervous system) by taking three big, deep belly breaths as you cleanse your face.[8-9]
  5. Phone down by 8.30 pm to enter the ‘calm zone’. This ensures you are preparing yourself for a good night’s sleep一something we all must prioritise as sleep disturbances and deprivation are associated with an increased risk of hormonal imbalances, infertility, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, dysregulation of hunger hormones including leptin and ghrelin, the list goes on…[10-11]

What are your favourite daily rituals?


References:
[1] Lally, P., et al. How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 2009. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.674.
[2] Hill, J.O., et al. Can a small-changes approach help address the obesity epidemic? A report of the Joint Task Force of the American Society for Nutrition, Institute of Food Technologists, and International Food Information Council. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009. 89(2). PMID: 19088151.
[3] Ljungberg, T., et al. Evidence of the Importance of Dietary Habits Regarding Depressive Symptoms and Depression. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2020.17(5). PMID: 32131552.

[4] Kohyama, J., et al. Good daily habits during the early stages of life determine success throughout life. Sleep Science, 2016. 9(3). PMID: 28123653.

[5] Gardner, B., et al. Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice. British Journal of General Practice, 2012. 62(605). PMID: 23211256.
[6] Pretty, J., et al. Nature-Based Interventions and Mind–Body Interventions: Saving Public Health Costs Whilst Increasing Life Satisfaction and Happiness. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2020. 17(21). PMID: 33114167.
[7] Ruegsegger, G.N., et al. Health Benefits of Exercise. Cold Spring Harbour Perspectives in Medicine, 2018. 8(7). PMID: 28507196.
[8] Russo, M.A., et al. The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human. Breathe, 2017. 13(4). PMID: 29209423.
[9] Zaccaro, A., et al. How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2018. PMID: 30245619.
[10] Kloss, J.D., et al. Sleep, Sleep Disturbance and Fertility in Women. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 2015. PMID: 25458772.
[11] Kim, T.W., et al. The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism. International Journal of Endocrinology, 2015. PMID: 25861266.


About the author:
Having been diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure two years prior to conceiving her first child naturally, Georgia’s passion lies within helping women overcome their hormonal imbalances through the blend of conventional and complementary medicine. For additional support, you can contact Georgia via:

IG: georgiahartmann_naturopath

W: www.georgiahartmann.com

E: hello@georgiahartmann.com