“The surprising power of daily rituals”

Karan Johnson writes for the BBC on the psychological benefits of ritual:

A ritual is defined by psychologists as “a predefined sequence of symbolic actions often characterised by formality and repetition that lacks direct instrumental purpose”. Research identifies three elements of a ritual. First, it consists of behaviours that occur in fixed succession – one after another – and are typified by formality and repetition. Secondly, the behaviours have symbolic meaning and lastly, these ritualised behaviours generally have no obvious useful purpose.

Rituals occur surprisingly often within our everyday lives. It’s believed that we form rituals based on our values. For instance, people with Christian values christen their babies as a symbol of spiritual rebirth.

But rituals go further than helping us to live out our values. They may also make us less anxious.

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