Research, reported in Scientific American, reveals that rituals can have a strong influence on our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. These traditions or personal routines can reduce anxiety and increase our confidence before a high-pressure task. Many sports figures have rituals. Basketball icon Michael Jordan, for example, wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform for every game he played.
While we may not be able to overhaul our entire lifestyle, many of these things are under our control: They can be made into rituals of well-being that we adhere to for a better way of living and greater personal success. Much has been written about the morning rituals of highly successful people, yet evening rituals can pave the way for a more optimal experience the next day. Here are some habits to implement into your nighttime routine. Pick the ones right for you, and enjoy a more productive day.
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Capture your mind’s residue.
We typically end the day with thoughts still flowing in our mind about the day’s events and things we need to focus on at some time in the future. Simply write these down so you can free up your mind to think of other things besides worrying about unresolved or leftover matters. Einstein put it best: “Paper is to write things down that we need to remember. Our brains are used to think.”
Forgive everyone for everything.
A myriad of things can happen during a day that are a vexation to the spirit: a rude shop assistant, a colleague who tried to steal your idea. There are many such small things we all encounter every day. Establishing a daily habit of forgiveness helps us prepare for a better day tomorrow. It enables us to walk away lighter, without the accumulated baggage of resentments that get heavier and heavier if they are not offloaded en route.
Put family on the priority list.
“Tennis is just a game,” said U.S. tennis champion Serena Williams. “Family is forever.” When golf legend Jack Nicklaus asked what his proudest accomplishment was, he said, “My family.”
Set your clothes out for tomorrow.
If your exercise routine is in the morning, set your gear out the night before. You’re more likely to get into your trainers and leave the house if your work clothes and everything you will need the next day is ready. Chances are, you may have done this when you were younger but you let the routine slip. Establish it again as a nonnegotiable ritual, and see the difference this small adjustment makes in your day. Remember, the simplest things in life ground us.