Rituals lower Stress

Rituals lower StressLast week’s wonderful, warm Thanksgiving gathering with friends, the lighting of the first Advent candle on Sunday, the weekly entry in my gratitude journal, and this morning’s kata (a choreographed form of movement/breathwork)… I’ve been pondering the place these rituals hold in my life.

Within just this past week, I’ve participated in an annual ritual, a seasonal one, my newest weekly ritual, and a daily grounding-and-centering practice. Each of them has touched a place deep within, reminding me that, and how, I belong in this vast, dynamic web called Life. 

And, I do mean dynamic.  There have been no fewer activities than normal.  In fact, the volume of to-dos has picked up since we’ve formally entered “the holidays.”  But specific rituals serve as touch stones, allowing me a moment to commune with those things I’ve chosen that provide meaning for me. Having them in place also provides a way to pace life – a way to design in some rhythms to live by.

Purposefully generating the combination of meaning and rhythm seems to settle my nerves, to bring me peace, to bring me joy.  It stimulates my sense of well-being.  Reminds me of my raison-d’etre.  Helps to lower stress…

As Terry Tempest Williams has said, “Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored.”

What rituals do you have in place as we bring 2015 to a close?  Knowing that they can relieve stress, are you considering any new ones for next year?  Just be sure that they ring true for you.  For “… ritual is permissible only to the extent that it is as genuine as a kiss.”  (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value)
 
To your good health!

Photo credit: Deepak Adhikari