I just wanted to write about the importance of having daily rituals. On my path to healing and in my work with others there are always skills and strategies that need to be developed. For instance there needs to be time for self reflection, that’s how you identify triggers, or how do you know you can calm yourself down if you aren’t practicing relaxation skills?
Adding in time for exercise, journaling, healing practices, and spiritual practices is an absolute must during a time of transformation. Several years ago I went to an NLP training and the presenters talked about the way they started their day, they spent 20 minutes in meditation, 20 minutes exercising, and 20 minutes reading something that helped them expand either personally or professionally. It really resonated with me, I almost always spend my first hour in the morning reading, journaling, tapping, stretching or going for a walk. When I don’t have my morning time I feel like something is missing in my day. If you want to create change it is essential that you start to practice new habits.
When it comes to tools there are two you must try EFT and PSTEC. I have been using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) for about 15 years and have recently ran across PSTEC (Percussive Suggestion Technique). I find them both to be valuable as part of a daily practice. These tools in particular can help lower stress and heal the past, vital parts of a relapse prevention plan. So what should a daily practice look like and why is it necessary?
The Importance Of A Daily Practice
An important part of recovery is developing new habits, doing life differently. In the process of trying to make positive change in your life, and working towards goals it is necessary to have a plan in place. To steal and AA phrase, Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes, the way you were doing things before wasn’t working so well. Having a daily practice can really help you start off each day feeling more focused and prepared for whatever comes up. Another reason is in taking the time for a daily practice you start to make yourself a priority in a positive way. When you were engaged in your addiction or unhealthy behaviors you were often self focused but usually in a more self sabotaging way. The thing I see happen is that once people stop engaging in the old behaviors they feel the guilt and remorse and set about trying to make amends before they are feeling stable and on solid ground. If you are taking time to get back in alignment with your values, heal, then there will be time to work on relationships. If you aren’t doing these things you are putting yourself at risk for failure. Have a conversation with the people in your life and ask for some patience and support as you start to get clear about who you are again.
It is also about building new habits, the way to change the old ones is to replace them with something different. If you gave up a substance or behavior that took up a lot of time and/or space in your head, that leaves a big void. it is a good idea to have some things in place that allow you to fill that void in a healthy way. A daily practice can be a part of that process.
Finally a daily practice is about self care, taking time to check in, what do I need, what am I feeling, what are my options?
Why EFT and PSTEC
It is helpful to have a plan here. Is your daily practice about self healing, achieving a goal, developing a morning or evening routine for creating healthier habits, or a practice to feel grounded and centered as you start your day.
I will give you an example using the idea of healing as our focus because if you are in the process of recovery there is likely healing work to be done. It can also incorporate some goals and grounding ideas, but the main focus is to heal and learn to forgive and love yourself again.
What a practice like this will involve is first some self reflection. What are past events that you have anger, hurt, resentment, guilt, any negative emotion about. EFT calls this a personal peace procedure. Make a list of events that have negative emotions attached to them. (If you are really new in recovery, your list may be more focused on what’s happening in your life now, you may need to do work on cravings, guilt, and forgiveness issues before digging up the past hurts.) Start each morning taking one of those items and do either tapping (EFT) or PSTEC on the memories, images, and emotions that come up. Spending as little as 15 to 20 minutes daily will help you to start to let go of the past pain and heal some of the old wounds and lower any anxiety you might have. Now this is not a quick fix necessarily, but if you stay with it you will notice that you start to feel lighter and more free.
How To Develop The Components Of A Daily Practice
You might also incorporate some exercise for physical health as well, maybe a 20 minute walk or yoga practice. Add in 15 to 20 minutes of meditation, and 5 minutes to read something uplifting or inspirational.
A daily practice ideally addresses body, mind, and spirit, and can easily take about an hour. Are you worth and hour? I hope you feel like it is valuable to invest time into your emotional and physical health.
Ideally you can set aside an hour in the morning to jump start your day. If you need to break it up into parts and pieces maybe you do your EFT/PSTEC in the morning, your meditation at lunch, and your exercise in the evening. If evening works better do it then. Do what fits best with your life demands and responsibilities, but take this time for yourself.
Possible Components of a Daily Practice
Qi Gong or Tai Chi
Reading for inspiration or personal growth
Other Healing Modalities
What it might look like is getting out of bed, stretching and moving into your 15 to 20 minute work out. Come back and pull out the journal and pick out an event from the past or use a current issue and do some tapping or PSTEC, journal how you are feeling afterwards. Then decide if you want to read, do more healing work, write or meditate. It is a personal practice. It might even be fun to sit in a quiet place and ask some questions like What would make me happy? What do I feel passionate about? What brings me joy? How can my life get even better than this? What else is possible in my life? If I were limitless what would I be doing? It might seem silly but we have done such a good job pushing away our true self and settling for immediate gratification that we have lost sight of our higher purpose. Spending time in reflection, asking those questions, and giving it some time (you aren’t likely going to get your deepest darkest desires to come to the surface the first time you ask), things will start to surface and you can get back in touch with what would make your heart sing.
What To Do When Life Gets In The Way Of Your Practice
Everyone has an off day, oversleeps, gets busy with life, gets sick. Life happens. The important thing is to not give up on the daily practice if you miss a day or 2. Even if you get sick you can still do some tapping, if you aren’t up to reading, listen to something inspirational, if work is overwhelming, take a 5 minute meditation break or tapping break instead of worrying about fitting in 20 minutes.
Getting your life back on track means having some patience with yourself, wanting or needing your path and your actions to work out perfectly is setting yourself up for disappointment and stress, and those can put you at risk for relapse. Do the best you can, allow yourself to be human. That said, if you are having a lot of difficulty fitting in the practice, reevaluate, are you expecting too much from yourself, or are you making too many excuses as to why you can’t do this. Don’t set the bar so high you will never reach it, at the same time don’t sell yourself short, or let the inner critic take over. You are in a time of transformation, doing things differently is a process, the key is consistency.