"Cristine Legare, a researcher and psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, says, 'Rituals signify transition points in the individual life span and provide psychologically meaningful ways to participate in the beliefs and practices of the community.' They have been instrumental in building community, promoting cooperation, and marking transition points in a community member’s life. And as strange as rituals might be from a logical perspective, they have evolved as distinct features of human culture."
"Additionally, rituals benefit our physical well-being and immune system. According to Andrew Newberg, the associate director of research at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, rituals lower cortisol, which in turn lowers heart rate and blood pressure and increases immune system function."
"Rhythm and music play a similar role in ritual. Whether we’re chanting in Sanskrit or singing the national anthem, 'our brains tend to resonate with those around us, so if everyone is doing the same dance, hymn, or prayer, all of those brains are working in the same way,' Newberg explains. 'This can engender a powerful feeling of connectedness. It also reduces stress and depression through a combination of effects on the autonomic nervous system, which is ultimately connected to the emotional areas of the brain—the limbic system.' According to one study, chanting the Sanskrit syllable 'om' deactivates the limbic system, softening the edge of fear, anxiety, and depression."
"Psychologist Hobson confirms that rituals aren’t just a benefit to our mental health—they’re actually essential. 'We are an intensely social and ritualistic species. Take this piece out of our modern human narrative and you lose a piece of our history and our humanity.'”