Sammy Nickalls
October 27, 2015 11:00 am

We all have our own rituals. Maybe grabbing that 100% necessary cup of coffee in the morning is yours. Or perhaps you get a nice, warm bath before bed every single night. And we hear SO many different rituals that are supposed to make our days more fulfilling, our love lives more peaceful, and our working hours more productive But what is the one daily habit that will actually make us happier? Turns out it’s pretty general, according to TIME‘s Eric Barker: Have more rituals.

If you’re a little confused, here’s the rundown. As Harvard professor and author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan Francesca Gino explained to TIME:

Don’t believe it? Ever participate in a toast that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside — and the drink seemed to taste better? Or when you make a cup of coffee every morning, and the ritual of mixing in that milk and sugar make it taste all that much sweeter (or just more delicious, if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth).

That’s because the ritual beforehand made you more mindful of the moment, making you savor it. And it’s something that doesn’t only apply to food, but can actually make us feel happier and increase our well-being in all aspects of our lives.

Ever go on a big, long, exciting trip, and though you had fun, it’s oddly soothing and comforting to get back in the old routine? That’s because routines and rituals strengthen your health and make you feel more self-confident, according to various studies. It’s also the reason why writing in a journal every day when you’re working through something difficult can be a good comfort.

Another way rituals can make you happier? By utilizing them to end procrastination — like letting yourself play five minutes of a game or read one chapter of a book before starting a big project. “When people talk about procrastination, what they’re usually actually talking about is the first step,” Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, told Today. “In general, if people can habitualize that first step, it makes it a lot easier.”

And if you have a pair of lucky socks you wear to every interview, it can actually work. Obviously, not because of the socks, but because that ritual can boost confidence and make you perform better.

Essentially, to a point, it doesn’t matter what you do every single day. It just matters that you have your own rituals — something that gives you consistency, that makes your life feel stable. The more personal you make it, the more powerful it can be. So don’t just steal ’em from your favorite celeb — own yourself, and do what makes you happy (but every single day!).

(Image via Shutterstock.)

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