Rituals have a long history, as well as their importance for our civilization. They contribute to our well-being, and we all must practice them. Here’s why.
Diverse societies have had different rituals for a long time. Rituals can be collective, religious, pagan, individual, and very personal. Or they can be shared with friends and family, on specific days, in specific ways. They are defined in so many different ways also, depending on how individuals experience and perceive them.
Rituals are often defined as: “a way of behaving or a series of actions which people regularly carry out in a particular situation because it is their custom to do so”. Other times, they have a more formal context: “a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order”. Let’s take Thanksgiving day, for example, which is also approaching. Thanksgiving Day is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada, through which people celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Each year, persons who celebrate this holiday tend to gather around with their friends and families, to cherish good food, company, and good moments together. They eat a specific food, under a certain, very warm atmosphere, accompanied by dessert and lots of feelings of gratitude for one another. This, is a ritual, with many important details, cultural as well as psychological. Of course, it has even been scientifically proven that gratitude can evaluate your sense of well-being.
But despite collective rituals, why is it important to have personalized rituals?
There is no one shoe fits all solution for our problems, and for the ways, we manifest ourselves daily. While there may be religious rituals that contribute to the well-being of our friends, or acquaintances, we may need other, more personalized rituals to make us feel better about ourselves, and to gain some ease. That is why it is important to sit down from time to time, alone, and figure out what is it that makes your body and mind feel at peace.
Rituals do not have to be holy, to provide us with divine feelings. Getting up very early in the morning, to enjoy the calmness of the dawn, can be a ritual. Reading before bed can be your ritual. Or maybe you like running right after you have gotten out of bed, as well as taking a long, warm bath right before going to bed. Maybe you need to sit alone or with your partner every once in a while, during the night, to have a glass of wine while listening to music. You may even need to reconnect with yourself every day, through journaling.
All of these options can be rituals you practice more repetitively – but which all have a common goal: to make you feel better, mind and body wise.
Several research shows that rituals can offer numerous psychological advantages such as helping us savor experiences, giving us a sense of control, and reducing anxiety. So go ahead, make your list, and start observing the changes you notice in yourself, as a result of repeated rituals of well-being.
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