The Power of Rituals

Posted by on Mar 18, 2015 in Rituals Everywhere | No Comments
The Power of Rituals

Rituals are an important part of our lives. We seek the power of rituals in the many things we do without ever really thinking about them as “rituals”. Some rituals are more formal and obvious such as wedding ceremonies or funerals. There are rituals that become a part of how we go about our daily life such as brushing our teeth, checking our smartphone, drinking our morning coffee, and so forth.

The unifying characteristic of all rituals is that they immerse us in the experience.

Our ‘Ritual in a Box’ products embody the power of rituals. Our suggested practices are designed to help people move through difficult life transitions by offering them a way of stepping out of their suffering, releasing the old (i.e., let it go) and beginning anew.

Studies show that rituals are a powerful way to overcome grief. Behavioral scientist, Michael I. Norton, and fellow Harvard Business School Associate, Professor Francesca Gino, ran several experiments and found that rituals alleviated and reduced grief, even amongst those who didn’t inherently believe in the efficacy of rituals. The researchers observed many forms of rituals while running the experiment and noted that most of them were neither religious nor communal. Instead most rituals were personal, often private, and done in a very controlled way. They also discovered that rituals enhanced consumption. “With grief, the ritual led to a feeling of control,” Norton says. “With consumption, rituals seemed to work because they increased their involvement in the experience.”

When the researchers were asked what specific factors led a behavior to be classified as ritualistic rather than obsessive? Norton said, “The line between rituals and other behaviors is very blurry. If you tear up a picture of your ex, that may be a helpful ritual. If you call your ex every day for a month and yell at him, you may need a different kind of help.”

To read more about Norton’s research on the power of rituals go to: Power of Rituals.

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