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Why ritual? The sensory science of rituals.

Why ritual? The sensory science of rituals.

**By special guest, Stacey Lim, Gemmologist and Transformation Coach, and Co-Founder of Uluna**

We love to ‘ritual’ and use the word a lot but have you ever wondered what a truly successful ritual involves and the science behind it?

Yes! There’s some pretty incredible neurological changes that occur during a ritual - there’s a reason why we feel so good having these potent, regular practices.

Symbolic and specific to each individual, a ritual is an intentional act with a deliberate set of actions using various tools to anchor our energy into an intention. The repetition of such ritual, further solidifies the energy of our intention and can create changes with the mind and body that manifest changes within our lives. 

The goal for a ritual is to reach the subconscious mind;  the part of our brain which is driven by the amygdala (belonging to our limbic system) part of our reptilian brain. This small, primitive component of our brain is what drives our belief systems and switches the ‘fight-or-flight’ stress response on or off. Whilst this part of our brain is in the driver's seat 90% of the time it is not the cognitive mind that we are in control of. 

Whilst on the one hand it keeps us safe, triggering a stress response when we’re in perceived danger, it is not always driven by logic or beliefs that are actually true. These beliefs are coded in throughout childhood and life experiences and may be inhibiting us from feeling worthy of good things, keep us from stepping out of our comfort zone to find our confidence or be the force behind our anxious thoughts.

When we anchor our energy into a ritual we are setting an intention for our highest good.
~ A practice of self-care when lighting a candle and slipping into a bath.
~ A practice of self-love by nourishing our body with nutritional foods.
~ A practice of gratitude by reflecting on our personal strength and resilience.
~ We are teaching our subconscious mind that we are safe, worthy of love and care and that we belong in the world. The basic needs we need to be met in order to truly experience happiness.

Aside from symbolic gestures that are meaningful to you, a key factor of a successful ritual is to engage the senses. Our 5 senses - touch, taste, sight, sound and smell are powerful pathways to engage the subconscious mind to either elicit a relax or stress response. 

Have you ever smelt something and been transported back in time? This is the magic of the limbic system of the brain and olfaction at work! Our sense of smell is the quickest way to draw upon a memory.

Memories are stored when there is emotion and sensory input for the subconscious mind to anchor it to. Much like how we can be triggered into feeling overwhelmed and stressed by particular sounds, smells or visuals, conversely we can find safety and calm with others. When we create a meaningful ritual that  engages our senses and evokes emotion (be that joy, awe, love, gratitude or otherwise), we are beginning to forge a new memory and positive energetic association with that process.

Over time, our brain will associate certain sensory inputs with certain energies and beliefs. When I smell lavender and cedarwood I feel safe and able to fully relax. 

When I hear nature sounds and feel warm running water on my skin I feel loved and grounded.

When I taste cacao and see the flickering light of a candle, I feel aligned and abundant.

So when we want to make changes in our life, invite a specific feeling and connection or reinforce new belief systems into our subconscious (aka manifestation), a ritual is the perfect tool.

Make it symbolic and meaningful, make it a pleasurable sensory experience and make it enjoyable enough to want to repeat it and make it a part of your life.

As your energy shifts and you feel well, the energy around you will align with this new vibration.


Stacey is a Gemmologist, meditation therapist, transformation coach and holistic energy healer, and co-founder of Uluna. Stacey helps women obtain self-mastery and find a deeper level of self love and a life of abundance and confidence. She sees the potential in everyone to live their best life and feel their best in it.

Uluna’s Body Love Ritual Oil features in our Spring ‘In Flow’ Retreat Box. To shop with Uluna, visit and use discount code RETREATYOURSELF for 15% off until 29/02/24. And if you’re in Melbourne, you can also visit their store & gallery: Uluna Wellness + Gallery, in Altona North.


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