Your routine sets the tone for your day. It affects how you show up in the world and your overall state of being. By cultivating a daily routine and using practices that reflect an intentional state of being, you are more likely to consciously create the life and relationships that you desire.
In Ayurveda, the principle "dinacharya" refers to a daily routine that supports overall health. There are important times of the day to pay special attention to: when you first wake up and before you go to sleep. Creating intentional practices during these times can support consistency in your hormonal rhythms and enhance your overall well-being.
In applying this Ayurvedic principle to relationships and mental health, you can learn to show up in the world as your best self by first creating this consistency in your relationship to yourself.
This article outlines daily practices to support a conscious and consistent relationship to yourself, and explores how this consistency naturally flows into relationships with others.
Easing into the Day: Connecting Inward First
The period of time when you first wake up and before you go to sleep are critically sensitive and influential times. During these times you are closest to your dream state, a naturally occurring altered state of consciousness; you are much more vulnerable and influenceable by your patterns of thinking.
At the beginning of the day, you want to gently transition from the dream realm and ease into your connection with the physical plane. At night, you can also benefit from a gentle transition between the busyness of the day and the spiritual connection of sleep. You can accomplish both of these transitions by turning your focus inwards.
We experience a lot of stimulation in our busy world. The mind can react with stress and anxiety if we are not gentle during times of transition. This could manifest in mood disturbances, relationship issues, fatigue, chronic stress, or even insomnia.
Flight Mode While Your Soul Takes Flight
One of the most important tools I recommend is to creating a healthier relationship with electronic devices.
For many, this means keeping your phone away from you while you sleep or putting your phone in non-connective mode - flight mode - for at least one hour after you wake up and before you go to sleep. If possible, keep your phone in this mode while you are sleeping so you can maintain the sacred and pure connection to self and the astral plane.
The daily practice of consciously connecting to yourself before connecting to the outer world is an incredibly effective way to learn to observe the way you relate to yourself. You can then bring that awareness to your relationships and interactions throughout the day.
For example, if you wake up experiencing some challenging emotions, like the presence of sadness, grief, agitation or anger, then you will have the space and time to become aware of these feelings inside yourself before unconsciously bringing them into your morning. Through this, you can prevent unconscious and unwanted interactions with coworkers, friends, your partner or family members.
Humans can spiritually and mentally benefit from a period of "mauna" when they wake. This is a silent period, conducive to self-reflection and meditation, which allows for the mind to cleanse. If you sleep with a partner, perhaps this means agreeing on silence or a period of non-communication every morning so that you can each cultivate a deeper relationship with yourselves. (Learn more in Take a Break in Silence for These 6 Self-Love & Spiritual Benefits.)
This process allows you to become aware of your own state, and can help you feel a deeper connection to yourself and the outside world, before you interact with anyone else.
Connect to Yourself in the Morning and at Night
Some of my favorite daily tools to connect with myself are simple self-reflection and hygienic practices.
Many people use a gratitude journal. First thing in the morning or last thing at night, you can identify, write, or say one or more things that you are grateful for in your life. This is a great way to prime your unconscious towards a lens of gratitude, especially when coming in and out of vulnerable brain waves states, like the ones experienced while sleeping or dreaming. Dream and sleep states are when your subconscious mind is more easily influenced.
The mornings and evenings are also great times for manifestation work, such as using affirmations to support desirable thoughts or traits. For example, perhaps you are having difficulty staying true to your own desires in your everyday life, and find yourself saying 'yes' when you want to say 'no.'
You may be noticing an overall disconnection to self. In this case, you could practice affirmations each morning (or night) such as "I can say no to things I do not want," "I deserve to say yes to what I truly desire," or, "I am connected to my intuition, my higher truth, and my utmost desires."
Again, intentionally priming your unconscious with these thoughts helps you to begin believing these affirmations within your own relationship to yourself. Then, you can bring these thoughts into your day and consciously create new relationships to others. (Learn more in Escaping the Maya: 5 Tools to Reconnect With Your Inner Self.)
Affirmations like these are best practiced daily for a period of time until you begin to see results in your life. Through consistency, you can create change. As your needs change, your daily practices can change and adapt as well.
Daily Practice as Sadhana
Daily practices can be a discipline that demonstrates a commitment to yourself and your spiritual practice. Other practices, like meditation and journaling, facilitate self-reflection, whereby important self and relational truths can be revealed.
Without creating this space and time to connect with yourself, you may unintentionally project unresolved or unprocessed thoughts, emotions, and behaviors onto your other relationships. Consistent sleep patterns, diet, and hygienic practices also help to tell the body that you reliably value it as a resource.
These consistent actions can subconsciously have a positive effect on your overall sense of self-efficacy, and it can support you to show up with consistency in all your other relationships as well. On a physical level, consistency also helps you create a cycle in the body that regulates hormones and neurotransmitters that will positively influence your mood and physical health.
Creating Self Trust Through Consistency
Daily practices can ebb and flow with you as you grow and change. The important thing is to maintain consistency and build trust with yourself, so that you learn that you can depend on yourself to consciously create supportive relationships.
As you do this, your relationship to yourself blossoms, and then naturally flows into your relationships with others. If you do not have any consistent daily practices then start slow and small, gradually adding more as you find yourself successfully consistent.
This could begin with making sure you brush your teeth in the morning and evening daily, taking a shower each and every morning, or spending an extra five minutes in bed after waking to simply notice your breath and recall any dreams you may have had before jumping straight out of bed into your day.
If you are conscious and intentional in your relationship to yourself on a daily basis, you will naturally become this way with others as well.