Check out this list of supportive mental health rituals. Are you already doing any of these? If these are new to you, choose any two and begin to add them into your daily routine.
While completing a ritual, take a mindfulness approach and practice being aware and non-judgmental in the present moment.
Acknowledge and absorb the benefits of the ritual, no matter how small the change that you feel.
*Visit the links throughout this article for more details.*
General information about these rituals
These simple rituals assist with calming or waking up our nervous system. These body-centered approaches have several benefits. If you’re feeling anxious, they can help with regulating thoughts and emotions. They can also be used when treating trauma or post-traumatic stress.
What else do they help with?
- Chronic pain
- Digestive disorders
- Sexual dysfunction
This is called Somatic therapy. Traditional therapy may be referred to as talk therapy and doesn’t always fully tap into the body. So, if you are working with a therapist and you’re mainly talking, as a way of treatment method, but after consistent therapy, you’re still feeling like it’s not fully helpful, then try a somatic approach.
Here’s a highly recommended somatic psychotherapy workbook, called the Somatic Psychotherapy Toolkit. I personally own this workbook. Manuela Mischke-Reeds, MA, LMFT is the author and has over 25 years of clinical experience.
If you’re struggling with any of the above areas, from stress to sexual dysfunction, I strongly suggest reaching out to a professional counselor who specializes in providing Somatic therapy.
Full transparency, while I occasionally take a somatic approach with my clients (when appropriate), I don’t consider this method being something that I specialize in. When I have used this, my client and I do the exercise together. After completing it, I have them check-in with themselves, and then share with me what they noticed and how they are currently feeling. The common response is that they feel calm.
SHAKE the body.
- Shake your entire body fully. Shake off the energy. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
- 2-Minute Neuroscience: Parasympathetic Nervous System (YouTube)
- Trauma, Triggers and Emotional Dysregulation: 10 Ways to Regulate Your Nervous System w/ Anna Runkle (YouTube – navigate to “stomp your feet” and “breathe” – around 8:30)
Inner SMILE meditation.
- Close your eyes, visualize and feel the smile of your inner organs. Allow it to blossom from the inside out.
WALK it out.
- Before reacting or enabling a mental loop, go for a walk and tune into your surroundings. Don’t succumb to overthinking, observe with curiosity and non-judgment.
WATER can greatly shift energy.
- Jump into a body of water, cold shower or bath. Allow the water to heal and restore.
- 5 Easy Ways to STIMULATE THE VAGUS NERVE (YouTube – expose yourself to cold – 2:00)
- Use breath as a tool to release energy. Tune into spaces that feel constricted, breathe deeply and exhale.
SWEEP your body with your hands.
- Sweep energetically, sweeping out the energy to release. Sweep energy in when setting intentions.
GROUND yourself with your bare feet on the Earth.
- Visualize roots growing deep. Breathe deep. Breathe and sync with the Earth’s beat. Surrender and let go.
- Gardening Improves Mental Health
Tune into your HEART.
- Place your hands over your heart. What is it saying? Is there a color, sound, or vibration that it’s speaking? Visualize and drop in.
WRITE to yourself.
- Keep a journal. Write about your feelings, thoughts, triggers, and experiences. This allows for reflection and recognizing patterns.