However, I have an excuse. Like Melvin I suffer from OCD in moments of stress. This beast, named in full as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ensures that I try to control my unrest by performing compulsive actions. For example, I am the kind of man who constantly subjects his car to thorough cleaning because moving in a dirty vehicle literally causes me discomfort. Combine that with my naturally anxious nature and you get scenes where I used to wash my car and then worry about whether it caused any extra scratches. As I write this, I feel a deep pity for my lovely wife who frequently sees me fighting with the high-pressure cleaner, but this is an aside. A  psychiatrist, who is also a friend, told me that the motivation behind these recurring actions is an urge to control that has got out of hand. After all, recurring actions, rituals, bring order to chaos. And that brings me seamlessly to this week's theme; rituals and their importance in difficult times.

With most people, rituals help in challenging situations. On the one hand, rituals ensure that we can better deal with emotions, such as a funeral ritual. In other ways rituals can contribute to our achieving a better result, such as putting on a "lucky suit". And finally rituals also play a social role, like offering a drink to break the ice. In gang culture, they understand the importance of rituals. Initiation rites to get used to fear, the special handshake to connect and a gang tattoo that takes centre stage when you see it. The question now is how we can use rituals in our favor and in a healthy way to deal with this crisis.

Using rituals to empower us emotionally is highly recommended, if we are to believe the research of symbols. Therefore, try to look in your sensory, visual or auditory fields for things that evoke strength. President Obama chanted “fire it up, ready to go!" with his team before taking to the stage. An illustration that we sometimes use during a StreetwiZe workshop storytelling by the way. But it does not always have to be slogans.  In my opinion the over supply of "inspiring quotes” only causes an increase in stomach and intestinal complaints. A real picture or an image can give you a boost when things are not going to plan. What works for me is a quick look at my vintage film junk collection, in the absence of Olympic medals and international awards adorning my small desk. So it really doesn't matter what it is. Just make sure you can find a soundtrack or image that gives strength to you and your colleagues.

It is also interesting to think about which rituals can increase the focus on results in these challenging times. The ritual of picking up the phone for urgent or difficult subjects is a good example. But the ritual to start an online meeting with fun or to start a collaboration with an original question can also help towards achieving more results. My favorite ritual in these cases is to ask the question "what do you want to contribute in this time together?”.

Finally, in these times of distancing, we must also work literally and figuratively on rituals that can bridge this distance. Rituals can help us close the gap between man and technology to maintain social contact. My ritual is to ask family, friends and colleagues how it is ... and wait for a meaningful answer. The alternative "what keeps you awake at night?" also helps me a lot to connect more.

Let us certainly ask ourselves today what rituals can contribute to emotional well-being, more results and more contact. Because to say it with "In Gloria": a little effort makes a world of difference!

And now I urgently have to wash my car. Until next week.

More Streetfood for Thought?