A Sense of Occasion – The Importance of Rituals
The UK is about to host a monumental sense of occasion, a ritual full of pomp and ceremony, history, tradition. Whatever your thoughts, as I know the coronation can divide opinion, I would like to take this moment to reflect on the need for rituals.
I used to think ritual was just a better word for routine, as I found it hard to stick to a routine (self-discipline is a whole other topic!) and I liked the word ritual. Yet, I don’t think the two words really are interchangeable. For ritual comes with a sense of gravitas and ceremony.
We use ritual as a way of defining moments of social significance that are understood by symbolic acts such as a wedding, graduation, christenings, funerals, certain age birthdays and so on. There is a sequence, an order of activities, of words, of tradition.
On the other hand in psychology, ritual can be viewed as a technical term where someone has to perform a series of behaviours to quell anxiety.
So how does ritual fit into our wellbeing?
As rituals can have an impact on our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. They can give us a sense of stability and reassurance when we feel a bit unsure and uneasy. They can bring a sense of connection to family, friends, community.
We can make a ritual out of the steps we take in the preparation of self-care. For example: lighting a candle, burning incense, having favourite music playing, flowers on a table as we roll out the mat to then do yoga can be viewed as a ritualistic way of setting up your space. The way you start and finish your practice can allow you to have a sense of occasion and ceremony in the moves you make to honour your body.
If we want to change our current habits and behaviours away from ones which don’t benefit us to ones which do, it may well be worth asking what rituals are you doing to enact the habits which are not beneficial anymore? What language do you use around doing them eg it is a way for me to let go of the day, it allows me a sense of peace? What steps do you go through to perform this ritual that you think you would miss if they weren’t there anymore? Can you create kinder steps to make a new ritual to benefit you?
Could you create a symbolic ritual to honour yourself and the person you are becoming? Can you set aside a special day to mark this sense of occasion to celebrate you.
Take a moment to pause and examine how to use the feel good aspect of ritual in your day to day life.