Be it caressing a warm cup of tea in your favourite mug whilst watching a show, taking the time to hand-cook your most scrumptious meal, or speak on the phone with a relative or close friend, rituals give us continuity in a medium of infinite effervescence.
Rituals allow us to find comfort in consistency, breathing in happiness and reassurance even, and especially, in times of turmoil. When life gets particularly stressful, humans are drawn to calming rituals, to return to balance and engage in a frequently-performed task, to offset the unknown and difficulties of the stress-inducing entity.
I hold the view that it is both imperative and healthy to find a ritual(s) that works for you, whilst trying to refrain from embedding this in tangible things. By this I mean, I personally would not suggest linking your stress-relief to a specific tv programme, or person even, but rather emotionally-investing in the enjoyment of being entertained, or the warmth hearing a familiar voice can bring you. Rather than placing value in the brand of the tea you drink, take solice in the warmth that passes through your skin through your fingertips and trickles down your throat.
Someone very wise once told me to never skimp on things that help give you mental clarity and relief; these are little treats and treasures that allow you to take a moment to appreciate the niceties and value of even the smallest of pleasures, and thereby enable you to take a moment to pause and think about something entirely different than what is otherwise consuming you and causing you stress.
Rituals, therefore, can be quite conducive to aiding mental health. Both in their capacity to provide a sense of continuity and comfort, but also, I argue, in their ability to give you the strength and appreciative attitude to open up your horizons into different aspects of being. By this I mean, achieving greater mental clarity through rituals can guide you to being more adventurous, physically and emotionally, and therefore – slightly ironically – to trying new things.
Life will always present new challenges, which is a sign of growth, and something to feel confident in yourself to not only experience, but conquer. The key, I believe, is not to confine yourself to familiar surroundings and experiences, but to take the intangible feelings and effects these have, and find in this the confidence and self-security to try new things, and find new rituals and experiences that bring you joy. You never know what you can learn, nor where, until you do.
Photo Credits: Hans Vivek