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The Restorative Power of Ritual

Rituals and the sense of control

Rituals and the sense of control

They are a powerful human mechanism for managing extreme emotions and stress, and we should be leaning on them now.
The utility of the ritual isn’t related to its practicality. Absurd rituals can have high utility. If it helps you create that sense of control, if it calms your anxiety, that’s what matters.

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The Restorative Power of Ritual

The Restorative Power of Ritual

https://hbr.org/2020/04/the-restorative-power-of-ritual

hbr.org

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Key Ideas

Rituals and the sense of control

They are a powerful human mechanism for managing extreme emotions and stress, and we should be leaning on them now.
The utility of the ritual isn’t related to its practicality. Absurd rituals can have high utility. If it helps you create that sense of control, if it calms your anxiety, that’s what matters.

Rituals play a number of critical roles

  • Rituals in the face of loss can help us feel less grief.
  • Rituals with families can make us feel closer.
  • Rituals with our partners can reinforce our commitment to each other.

They are not “elaborate religious ceremonies”, but more often just private and idiosyncratic activities.

Rituals and repetition

Repeated rituals seem to gain in strength, but even one-time rituals can be effective (for example, burning pictures in the place where you met your ex).

Creating new rituals

In dealing with the current pandemic, people are using technology to recreate their rituals as best they can. But they’re also inventing new ones.
The loss of many of our public rituals, including things as simple as meeting a friend for coffee or a drink, has led people to naturally look for new ones.

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  • Rituals that aren't connected tangibly with practical outcomes, bond people and demonstrate cultural affiliation.
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