How coffee (and other things) can save your life

When the planet seems to be spinning off its axis, tossing rationality, calm and truth as far as Jupiter, one thing can provide a sense of continuity: rituals. The morning coffee, the slow shuffle to the fridge, that favorite mid-winter song that reminds us the sun will cast its glow upon our faces once again. In abnormal times, rituals offer us a feeling of normalcy.

There is nothing like a trip to the grocery store to underscore my point. Everybody has their favorite aisle or food section. We gravitate toward certain parts of the store every time. Some we leave out. Others we include every time. The calm centering of rituals is soothing, reassuring and necessary to give us balance in a topsy turvy universe.

Photo credit: Wu Yi,

The other day I misread my calendar. What I thought was a new moon was actually a full moon. And so it was no wonder a day or two later that, one early morning while the moon was still looming above me, I sucked in air and held it, staring at the near full orb.

“Well, that explains everything,” I thought as I shifted gears. A full moon can wreak havoc on our sound minds, our open hearts, our caring souls. Yes, the full moon last week brought more than its share of troubles. It was then that I clung even harder to my rituals, bringing it up a notch for the sake of my sanity.

We human beings love our habits. We need them to provide a level of structure, which provides a level of safety, which provides a level of assurance that that which is currently happening will too pass. Because our habits tend not to change, we have constancy. And that feels good. According to science, rituals help reduce anxiety while building confidence.

So the next time the planet starts flying off the handle, take that slow shuffle with a cup of Joe so you don’t go flying with it.

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