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Most of us are brought up to associate ceremony with only big life events: getting married, having a baby, dying. But bringing a sense of ceremony to your everyday life can be a beautiful way to recognize and celebrate the little things too.

Ceremonies are simply rituals to which, through our culture or religion, we’ve attached a certain feeling of significance. Studies show the need for ritual is a basic human instinct, and even the smallest rituals can be extremely effective in changing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In an often overwhelming and confusing world, creating your own ceremonies can help elevate daily routines into something comforting and sacred.

The power of rituals lies in their ability to tap into your subconscious. By bringing awareness to your senses as you perform a sequence of activities, you create a connection between body and mind that builds over time.

To create your own rituals, start by thinking about what you’d like to feel more often and why. Then come up with a few things you can do to feel this way. Make sure you engage at least one of your senses. Smell is our most powerful sense with a direct line to the amygdala, so anything scent-related is especially great to include.

For example, maybe you’d like to start your week feeling relaxed and inspired. Create a simple Monday morning ceremony: Make a pot of your favorite tea, light a stick of incense, write down three things you’d like to accomplish this week and why, set an intention and then finish with five minutes of meditation. After awhile, as soon as you smell the tea and incense, it will trigger your subconscious to relax and look forward to the week ahead.

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