The importance of introducing a daily practice into your routine
10th Jul 2021
Read time: 5 minutes
A daily practice is any activity “that becomes part of your regular routine and encourages you to pause, to go inward and slow down”.
I’ve been known in the past to perform quite a distinctive eye roll at the mere mention of mindfulness or the introduction of a daily practice. I can see now that it wasn’t because I was against any of these activities, per se, I just didn’t understand them.
A decade on, and here I am with my very own personalized daily practice, which I proudly and enthusiastically declare as my non-negotiable! If my day does not feature one, or several, of these activities I know I will feel out of sorts and a little disconnected. For me, these include journaling, breathwork, visualization, and getting out and grounding in nature.
WHAT IS A DAILY PRACTICE?
Before I regale you with the delights of my personal practice let’s go back to the beginning and remind ourselves just what constitutes a daily practice and what are the real, tangible benefits of committing to one.
We have heard, read and been subjected to an awful lot in recent years to do with mindset, mindfulness and the importance of doing “the work” on yourself. Let’s be honest, there’s no shortage of offers online selling the concept of manifestation and positive living, but for me, a daily practice is any activity “that becomes part of your regular routine and encourages you to pause, to go inward and slow down”.
We are always searching for new ideas, new ways of doing things, new possibilities, and new ways of being, yet we completely overlook the fact that in order for us to be able to receive anything new we first of all need to create space for it to land. Our minds have limited capacity and it’s this that requires us to clear the way and make more room.
A daily practice is one sure-fire way of achieving this, so the ultimate objective from my daily practice is to help me organize my mind, reduce the chaos and create more space for new thoughts, ideas, and opportunities.
Examples of what you can do as part of your daily practice include some of the following:
Inspirational podcasts and audiobooks
Before you keel over at the thoughts of having to work your way through this list, let me assure you that you would not, could not, be expected to do ALL of these things, but hopefully one or two might stand out for you.
I’ve done each of these (and more) at some point in the last decade whilst on my own personal healing experience. Some I loved and continue to do to this day but some I didn’t resonate with and knew they weren’t for me. But for the purposes of this piece I will focus on three of my personal favourites…
Six months ago, I was introduced to the practice of breathwork. I’d heard of it previously but the cynic in me hadn’t tried to disprove my belief that it was just some inhaling and exhaling (spoiler – it is, but it’s about so much more besides!) I am one of those people who really struggle with quieting my mind when it comes to meditation. When I am able to get into it, I love it, but mostly I waste my time just sitting there wishing I wasn’t so easily distracted. Breathwork is different – it gives me something to focus as I’m gently guided through each exercise. There are multiple physical benefits including it being a fantastic way to keep you calm in stressful situations. If you haven’t explored this practice I’d urge you to do some research into it. To see how it works you might want to follow @breathewithniall. Niall is the real deal when it comes to breathwork.
The Marie Kondo for the mind. Unquestionably the most effective way to declutter the brain and definitely the most powerful way to create order in an otherwise chaotic environment. I’ve journaled since I was six years of age. I loved most that when I journaled I didn’t need to worry about offending or upsetting anyone. The people-pleaser in me really liked that. In addition, because the thoughts went directly from my head to the page it gave way for a level of honesty that no other form of communication, before or since, gave me.
When you journal you may observe a pattern of what keeps coming up, you may not want (or be able) to read what you’ve written. I rarely read back over my journals and instead perform a ritual burning ceremony of them every six months. It requires no investment apart from a pen and paper and just 10-15 minutes of your mornings. Once you have two to three weeks under your belt of journaling you’ll really start to notice the difference as clarity begins to creep in. I know that for some people the question of where to start can be a real one so I’ll attach some prompts below to help you. But know this, there is no right or wrong way to journal. Think about what you want to articulate, at that exact moment, and do just that. Start where you are and I’d invite you just to approach this exercise with a curious mind and a very open heart!
Now, this is where I might lose some of you, but when we go out into nature, whether it’s amongst the trees or by water, we feed off the energy from all around us. In recent years Forest Therapy has become a thing and I totally see why. I’m fortunate enough to live close to beautiful woods and so very early each morning I take the dog and walk through the woods, talking to myself as I go and yes I’ll admit talking to the trees also.
My multitasking skills are in full flow as, in that half-hour, I can tick off movement, intention setting, tree-hugging, grounding, affirmations, and gratitude – not to mention getting the dog walked also! But getting out into nature, getting fresh air has to be a non-negotiable for us all. When we feel a little stuck in our heads, moving our bodies into nature, albeit briefly, can really shift the energy inside us. These are just three brief examples of what can make up your daily practice. If you are considering exploring this concept then I’d invite you to start small. Pick one activity from the list above that appeals to you and carve out a small piece of time each morning to try it out.
Don’t hide behind the excuse of ‘not having enough time’ or ‘not being able’ to do something on your own. You can and you will – if you really want to. If it means setting your alarm clock 20 minutes earlier so that you could journal for 15 minutes, focus on what the benefits might be. This isn’t about giving yourself something extra to do, this is about putting greater order back into your life. It’s about creating space and making yourself a priority in your own life. again.
Remember the answers you seek never come when the mind is busy; they come when the mind is still.
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Transformation Coach and Founder of The RESET for Change 3 Month 1:1 Private Coaching Programme and host of The TOUGH LOVE ENERGY™ Podcast. She’s known for her practical solutions to life’s challenges and her ability to tell you not what you want to hear but always what you need. For journaling prompts see here.
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