Tiny Rituals for Daily Survival

By Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

Posted: December 4, 2023

Even in the rush of our daily lives, a tiny ritual can be a beacon of mindfulness, reminding us to nurture our spirit. It's about carving out a moment to breathe, to ground, to be present.

In a world that often demands more of us than we have to give, it's easy to overlook the power of small, daily practices that ground and center us. These tiny rituals, taking just 3-5 minutes of our day, can profoundly realign our thinking towards self-care. They are not just actions but gentle reminders that we are present in our journey through life and grief.

Why Tiny Rituals Matter

In my experience, especially during my time working on the suicide prevention lifeline, I realized the immense power of tiny rituals. Each time my hand touched the receiver, I would silently wish, "May we all find peace." This small act wasn't just about answering a call; it was about setting an intention of peace and empathy for the person on the other line and for myself.

At the end of each shift, I had another ritual. I would wash my hands in the staff bathroom, a symbolic act of cleansing and letting go. With each rinse, I felt compassion for the callers, my shift partner, and myself. It was a reminder that while we can't fix everything, our presence and empathy are invaluable. It also signified that I didn't need to carry the weight of these stories home to make a difference.

Tiny Rituals You Can Use

  1. Morning Gratitude: Before you get out of bed, think of one thing you're grateful for. It can be as simple as a warm bed or a new day.
  2. Mindful Breathing: Take a few minutes to breathe deeply. Inhale for a count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, and hold for four. Repeat this cycle to center your thoughts.
  3. Affirmation Statements: Write down a positive affirmation and stick it where you'll see it – like your mirror. Read it aloud every day to set a positive tone.
  4. Nature Connection: Spend a few minutes looking out of a window, observing the sky, trees, or birds. Let nature's calm infuse into your being.
  5. Compassionate Touch: Place your hand over your heart and feel its rhythm. Offer yourself some kind words or thoughts of compassion.
  6. Intentional Sipping: Whether it's your morning coffee or tea, take a moment to savor the drink, appreciating its warmth and flavor.
  7. Mindful Walking: During a short walk, even if it's just around your home, pay attention to each step, the feel of your feet touching the ground, and the rhythm of your movement.
  8. Journaling: Spend a few minutes writing down a thought, feeling, or reflection. It doesn't have to be long – just a sentence or two to acknowledge your inner world.
  9. Coloring or Doodling: Keep a small sketchbook and colors handy. Spend a few minutes expressing yourself through lines and colors, focusing solely on the act of creation.
  10. Stretching: Do a simple stretch, focusing on the sensation in your muscles and the movement of your body.
  11. Reflective Pause: Before starting a new task, pause for a moment. Breathe in and out, setting an intention for what you're about to do.
  12. Evening Reflection: At the end of the day, reflect on one good thing that happened. It can be a small victory or a pleasant moment.

The Impact of Tiny Rituals

These rituals are more than just actions; they are a commitment to acknowledging and honoring our own existence and journey. They remind us that amidst life's challenges, we have the power to bring moments of peace and self-care into our daily routine. Tiny rituals, though small, build resilience and a mindful approach to life.

Join Awaken for More

If you find these ideas resonant and are seeking more ways to weave self-care and mindfulness into your daily life, consider joining me in Awaken. In this online grief support group and course, you'll learn numerous skills and practices to enrich your journey, find support, and cultivate resilience through grief and beyond. Let Awaken be your guide in discovering the strength that lies in small, daily practices. I will be there to help you along the way!

Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

About the author

Heather Stang, M.A. is the author of Mindfulness & Grief and the guided journal, From Grief To Peace. She is the creator of the Mindfulness & Grief System that is featured in the Handbook of Grief Therapies (2023) and is the founder of Awaken, a mindfulness-based online grief support group. Heather also hosts the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, and offers mindfulness-based grief support online through her organization, the Mindfulness & Grief Institute. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Yoga Therapist. She currently lives in Falling Waters, WV.

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