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Make it rite

Rituals are part of our day-to-day lives, whether we realise it or not. Eleanor Tucker explores their importance, and works out how to create new ones that feed the soul


The time is 6.50am and I’m in my pyjamas making packed lunches in the half-light. The radio murmurs in the background; not loud enough to hear properly, but any louder and I would be completely awake, and it’s way too early for that. And then I hear the shout, which I cannot ignore – and have no wish to, either. ‘Big bed!’ The day doesn’t get under way in our house without it: a cuddle in the big bed for all four of us is a punctuation mark between the old day and the new; the calm before the storm. Only recently did I discover that it is also something else – it is a ritual. And, as such, it is more essential than I had ever realised.

How did I come to this awareness? A mother with children older than mine said something that echoed in my head for days: ‘The kids won’t do anything new with me now, but still love doing the “old” things.’ And by old things, she meant eating dim sum on the last day of the school holidays, or going to the same country cottage during the Easter break. These things are ‘allowed’ by her newly independent teenagers because they are touchstones that they can come back to. They are family customs. They are rituals.

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About Psychologies

What happens when you don’t like what you see in the world? Our dossier gives you the low-down on what you can do to step up and make the world a better place - be it making small changes in your community to founding a charity that will make a massive impact on the world. We also invite you to lighten up and have some fun this month. Katy Regan signs up to a comedy improvisation workshop – with surprising results. Suzy Bashford channels her inner punk and delights in swearing more and caring less what other people think. Still in need of some laughs? Meet Emma Stroud, Psychologies ‘clown in residence’, who must be the first person to conduct a TED talk dressed as a banana. It’s going to be an interesting month!

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