Many of us are guilty of setting New Year’s resolutions. And we’re also probably guilty of often forgetting about them, giving up on them, or otherwise failing to follow through. But most of our resolutions are about bettering ourselves — by losing weight, improving our diet, engaging in more self-care or other wellbeing work, or improving relationships.
So what if, instead of setting resolutions that we’ll stop thinking about or working toward by January 10th, we chose to incorporate healing rituals into our lives? Many times, the things we want to better about ourselves (the weight, the unhealthy eating, lack of self-care, etc.) are about healing. Healing emotional wounds, lack of confidence, and more.
Mental health researchers Francesca Gino, and Michael I. Norton believe that even seemingly insignificant rituals can have positive effects. This is because ritual can focus us and drive us toward a goal or desired outcome.
We often think of ritual as something huge and significant, but it can be as simple as wearing your favorite team’s jersey while you watch them play or knocking on wood when trying to avoid misfortune. The ritual brings us comfort and can help boost our feeling of well-being.
Perhaps you already engage in some of these rituals. But if you don’t, consider bringing them into your life in the new year. You might be surprised at what a difference they make for you.
When many think of ritual they will likely think of it in a religious context, taking the form of prayer. Most religions have their own form of prayer and whether you are a believer or not there is evidence that this ritual can boost your well-being.
The University of Minnesota suggests that prayer improves the relaxation response, allows you to let go of control to a higher power, improves positive thinking and increases spirituality. Prayer can help people feel more optimistic. When we feel more confident and positive this can greatly boost our wellbeing.