People who thrive in their forties usually adopt these 12 daily rituals

What’s the difference between a habit and a ritual?

On the one hand, nothing – the same activity could be performed as a habit by one person and a ritual by another.

But on the other hand, there is a difference, and that difference is intention.

When you do something habitually, like smoking or taking your vitamins in the morning, you’ve trained yourself to do it.

This makes the action largely unconscious and just automatic without carrying any meaning.

But when you do something as a ritual, you’re mindful of the purpose of the act.

You think about it as you do it, and that gives a ritual a whole lot more weight and importance than a habit.

So, as you get older, what kinds of rituals should you focus on?

As someone who’s getting closer to 40 myself, I wanted to know what successful people in their fourth decade of life do to keep themselves happy and centered.

So I scoured the web and asked my 40-something friends to come up with some great answers.

It turns out that many people who thrive in their forties usually adopt these 12 daily rituals and swear by the positive effects they introduce into their lives.

1) Getting up with the sun

Most people go hard in their 20s, slow down a bit in their 30s, and then really change their pace of life in their 40s.

They don’t see the need to stay out to all hours of the night partying like they used to. In fact, they start to get more in touch with the natural rhythms of the day.

That means they start to live their lives in a way that’s more similar to the way humans have been living for millennia.

They start to go to bed early and get up with the sun, letting its warmth and radiance invigorate their souls.

2) Meditating

If you don’t sit yet, now’s the time to get started.

Meditation is an excellent way to build your focus and increase mindfulness.

But more than that, it’s a way to commune with yourself and get in touch with the true nature of the universe.

So many happy 40-somethings swear by meditation, this act of focused inaction, as a way to clear their minds, relieve stress, and connect with their compassion for others.

Plus, meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure and control anxiety, so why not?

3) Giving thanks for food

I went to a “temple stay” once at a gorgeous, remote mountain temple in Korea once.

There, we got up at 3:00 am, spent most of our time in silence, and ate just twice a day, breakfast and lunch.

Just two meals a day!?

I was used to four or five, so this was a real challenge. But it was also a great experience.

The monks taught us to be mindful of our eating habits, and we were encouraged to eat in complete silence.

I mean, no clattering of cutlery or anything.

But it really made you feel aware of the act of eating and thankful for the food that was nourishing your body.

I think any ritual that makes you more thankful for your food is a great thing to try!

4) Planning intentions for the day

While this sounds like a chore or an organizational necessity, there’s no reason you can’t turn it into a ritual.

But simply making a list of all the things you’ve got to do isn’t what I’m talking about here.

Normally, all that leads to is having a half-finished list that you keep pushing on to the next day.

Instead, you can take time to think of your intentions for the day.

Think about what you want to experience and feel rather than what you just need to do.

Of course, your tasks will still be there, but now you have a way to approach them – think about how they’ll fit into the framework of your intentions for the day.

5) Exercising in the morning

Getting any exercise during that day is already a great step in the right direction. 

As we get a little bit older, our bodies tend to show more than a little bit of wear and tear, so maintaining them takes more energy and not less.

But there’s also something very important about exercise in the morning.

It seems to get your motor running, and mentally, it brings you into the day by helping you interact with your body and the physical environment.

A lot of people love a morning run or a sunrise swim to help them focus on their health and vitality with intention.

6) Gardening

gardening People who thrive in their forties usually adopt these 12 daily rituals

Now I know what you’re thinking.

Isn’t tending rose bushes for retired people?

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be old to enjoy a slow activity like caring for plants.

Whether you want to master the art of bonsai or grow some incredibly hot chilies, growing things is an incredible nourishing activity.

It helps you be fully in the moment and grounded, especially when you’re digging holes in the ground.

You also have to be mindful of how plants grow and what they need, and that can help you connect to your own growth and needs to help you really thrive.

7) Connecting with loved ones

Grunting at your significant other while you do chores or talking at your kids while they’re absorbed in their screens isn’t connecting, and it’s not a ritual.

But assembling your family to sit down to at least one phone-free family meal a day could be a family ritual.

This used to be the primary way that families communicated before texting, after all!

Focusing on each other can bring you closer together with your loved ones, and if that isn’t what life is all about, then what is?

8) Loving the skin you’re in

As we age, there’s one part of us that’s in non-stop contact with the world.

That’s our body’s biggest organ – the skin!

And that interaction with pollution, sun, and sharp things can take its toll.

No matter who you are, you can definitely benefit from a skincare ritual that involves mindfully cleaning and pampering the skin you’re in.

This can help you focus on taking care of yourself for a change and will also help you look your bright and bushy-tailed best.

What’s not to like?

9) Exorcising stress

I’m talking about any ritual you like that helps you get rid of unnecessary stress in your life.

This could be one of the ones we talked about already, like meditation or exercise, or it can be something totally different.

You might practice validations in front of the mirror naked or you might sing your top ten inspiring song playlist at the top of your lungs while you dance like crazy.

You might punch a bag or lift weights.

Whatever works for you works for you.

But finding a ritual you can practice to get rid of stress can be a lifesaver.

It can protect your cardiovascular health, scare off depression, and really improve your quality of life.

10) Cooking with love

Most people cook out of necessity.

We have to get ourselves fed, and either there’s no one around to cook for us, or we can’t afford to eat out every day.

But when we cook out of necessity, we often rush and don’t put the kind of thought into our food as we do when we cook with love.

This is a great daily ritual to get into, even if you only have the chance to do it one meal per day.

Try to focus your intention and compassion into your food, whether you’re cooking for yourself or other people you care about.

You’ll see that you’ll start making healthier choices and still add more deliciousness to what you’re making when you choose to put everything you feel into your dishes.

11) Reflecting on the day

At some point in the day, lots of 40-plus-year-old people told me that they like to reflect.

This can be done in the form of journaling or just quiet thinking.

But it’s normally done in a peaceful way where the intention is to find things that could be improved and things that you feel really pleased about.

This is a great way to get gratitude into your life and make improvements without focusing too much on negativity.

12) Practicing great sleep hygiene

When you’re young, you can normally drop off anytime. 

Sleep gets harder as you get older.

So, ensuring that you sleep in a dark, quiet, comfortable room and turn off screens and other distractions well before you tuck yourself in can ensure that your sleep is as effective as possible.

People who thrive in their forties usually adopt these 12 daily rituals to really improve their lives.

Even if you’re not 40 for a while yet, there’s no reason why you can’t already adopt some or all of them to reap those benefits today.

Picture of Marcel Deer

Marcel Deer

Marcel is a journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur. When not obsessing over his man cave or the latest tech, he’s failing helplessly at training his obnoxious rescue dog ‘Boogies’.

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