What's Your Ritual?

Years ago, I created my own personal ritual – I end each night by noticing what went right, what I’d do differently next time, and what I appreciate. This evening review is so different than my old habit of fretting over what went wrong, worrying about it happening again, and criticizing myself (and others) for being less than perfect. It’s a powerful practice. I’m now much kinder to myself. I bounce back quicker when things go wrong. And I have been astounded by all the good there is to notice – even on a bad day.

I've recently added something new to my ritual. Instead of just noticing what I appreciate, I’m thanking those people who made a positive difference. You know what I've discovered? Most people are not used to being appreciated. When I checked in at a busy hotel, the woman behind the counter answered all my questions without rushing me, even though there was a long line behind me. I put my gratitude into words. It wasn't a very big deal – except it was to her. About an hour after entering my room, a note was slipped through the door with a coupon for a free dessert. The note read, “Thanks so much for the compliment. It made my day!” Take an inventory of the people who have been kind and helpful to you. Take note of those who've said, or done things that brought joy, relief, or excitement into your life. Who has been there for you to confide in about personal challenges? Who’s held your hand through tough times? Who inspired you to take better care of yourself or have more fun? Is there anyone on that list who you haven’t sufficiently thanked? Being grateful for the people who support you feels wonderful. Expressing your thanks feels even better.

Though there are some parts of life that don’t seem to bring up feelings of gratitude. Is there anyone to be thankful for when it comes to LBL? For me, I’m thankful for the medical professionals who have allowed me to interview them about ways to manage LBL on my blog. I’m thankful for the inspirational experts who have shared their LBL experiences and coping strategies on my Woman-to-Woman podcast series. I’m thankful for the nurse practitioner who taught me to lift and squeeze my pelvic floor before a big sneeze to lessen the odds of leaking. I’m most grateful to a couple of my closest friends who NEVER talked about light bladder leakage until I started blogging about it. Now, they’re quick to share their stories, and have even been known to phone me saying, “ I've got another LBL story for you to write about.”

Who has helped you to better manage LBL? Have you expressed thanks to a doctor who made it comfortable to talk about such a sensitive issue? Have you expressed appreciation to your partner for buying your LBL pads that somehow appeared on the grocery list? How about a friend who talked you out of staying home when you weren't feeling up to risking an LBL moment in public? Most importantly – at the end of the day acknowledge and appreciate yourself for not letting LBL stop you from getting on with your life. Give yourself credit for reading up on LBL, asking questions, and finding solutions. You’re the one who makes the biggest difference in what there is to appreciate in your life.

What about you? What are your rituals that help you improve the quality of your life?

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