Try a Gratitude and Appreciation Ritual
Written by Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services
Rituals are so important. And we have a couple of big ones coming up – Halloween, voting (or however you and your family choose to participate in our democracy), and Thanksgiving. We love to be involved in these events, with special decorations, clothing, and gatherings.
Like a lot of you, one of the hardest things about 2020 is adjusting my vision of how these rituals should be conducted. So I am suggesting thoughtfully adding some daily rituals to balance out these hard times.
In counseling, we know that rituals are important. Some rituals are healing, helpful, nourishing, and joyful. They build and strengthen bonds in families and between friends. The tables and fires around which we all gather for meals, games, music, and conversation symbolize some of those rituals.
Other rituals – typically ones we do not consciously choose – can be harmful. Perhaps you know people who seem to have developed a ritual around complaining, nitpicking, and blaming. Or you may know others who have certain things they do or say that lead to fights, slamming doors, and even substance use. These rituals, which just seem to develop over time, can tear down the relationships if we aren’t careful with them.
As we head into a season of hibernation, take stock of all the rituals in your day, big and small, positive or negative.
And let’s see if we can add a few. Start with more rituals around gratitude and appreciation.
Lately I have been thinking about being thankful for what is going well right now, more than I am thinking about what isn’t. For example, our children and teens are doing something completely new – many of them going full or part time virtually to school.
And while no system is perfect, I believe we all would do well to start showing some appreciation for what they all are doing well – learning how to show up for Zoom classes, managing their time more than they have had to in the past, working in groups and on their own in ways they’ve never tried before.
Along with that, I believe we could benefit from thanking the teachers and administrators who are involved – for being creative under pressure and for taking on tasks they may not have imagined a year ago.
Research studies have shown that a daily practice of writing down specific things you are grateful for can improve mood and quality of life. Expressing gratitude and appreciation to the ones we love can strengthen our bonds and help us flourish together.
If you want to talk more about the rituals and routines in your life, in your marriage or romantic partnership, or in your family, please reach out and let me know: Madeline Vann, MPH, M.Ed., NCC at www.whitecloudtherapy.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our practice accepts a number of major insurance programs, Medicaid, and self-pay clients (with a sliding scale).
Article was written and sponsored by Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services. She is currently taking new patients.