Expository: Why Rituals Are Good

26 Writing a Personal Essay based on “Why Rituals are Good for your Health”

You recently read an essay by Ari Honarvar called “Why Rituals are Good For Your Health.”  In the essay, the author uses her personal experience and independent research to show you, the reader, why rituals are healthy.  Her personal story begins in Iran, where she survives the Iran-Iraq war, and continues to the United States, her home since she was 14.

Writing a Personal Essay


Reading Honarvar’s story may have reminded you of your own rituals.  Maybe your experience is the same as Honarvar’s because rituals or traditions have helped you survived difficult times. Or maybe your experience is completely the opposite.  Maybe rituals have created challenges for you or your family.  Or your experience could be a combination.


The first purpose of this assignment is to write a one-page essay that describes the benefits, challenges, or both of a ritual that you or your family observes (follows). Your essay will not include research, as Honarvar’s did.  It will be a description of your personal experience with a ritual.

The second purpose is to practice using different sentence structures (long sentences and short sentences) and using the power of three. To review the power of three, go back to the Academic Vocabulary exercise that you recently completed where you identified lists of three items in “Why Rituals are Good for Your Health.”


  • Think of a ritual or tradition to write about. If you can’t think of one, ask a family member for help (but write the paper yourself).
  • Complete the paper planner in this chapter. The planner will help you (1) organize your paper; (2) remember the important information that a person reading your paper needs to know; and (3) create lists of three items so that your paper will use the power of three.
  • Draft paragraphs based on your completed paper planner and the expressions in the box below.
    • Remember to use both long and short sentences in your writing
    • Include at least two examples of the power of three.

Practicing Skills

You will practice the following skills to write this essay:

  • Invention (thinking of an idea)
  • Using your personal experience as a topic of writing
  • Planning an essay
  • Drafting an essay
  • Revising an essay
  • Varying sentence structure
  • Using the power of three

Gaining Knowledge

You will learn that:

  • Your personal experiences are valuable and should be written down.
  • Writing is a process that involves multiple steps.
  • Having a model essay (like Honarvar’s) can help you improve your own writing.
  • Sentence length is an important tool that you can use to communicate effectively with your readers.

Please follow the suggestions below in your one-page essay:

  • Use at least five of the following expressions:
Affect (v) Effect (n) Effective (adj) Connection (to) Bring (people) together Challenge (n, v)
Nourishing (adj) Mental health Offer an opportunity (for) Increase confidence Improve performance Reduce anxiety
A sense of belonging Well-being Build community Promote cooperation Uplifting (adj) Enforce communication
Celebration (of) Meaningful Psychological Be invited (to) Be required Benefit (n, v)
Be encouraged Be tied to Be discouraged Be determined Be allowed Beneficial (adj)
Resentment (n)

Resentful (adj)

Time-consuming (adj) Cherish (v) In full swing In direct correlation to Relief (n)
Relieve stress Be disappointed Be exhausted Bring joy Be taken for granted Be supposed to
  • Check verbs. Use the Present Simple tense when making general statements. Use the Past Simple tense to describe past experiences. Use the Past Perfect tense to describe events that happened prior to other events in the past.
  • Use the Power of Three (parallel structure) in lists.
  • Use modal verbs (can, must, should, have to, etc.) to describe your attitude toward actions.
  • Use a variety of sentence structures (simple sentences, prepositional phrases, adjective clauses, adverb clauses, noun clauses, reduced clauses, transitional expressions) to improve the flow of your writing.

Paper Planner

Introduction – Background 

  • What is the significance of the ritual?
  • Who participates?
  • What  does the ritual involve?
  • What is your role?

Body Paragraph 1

  • How  does the ritual benefit you, your family, or others  who practice it?
  • Power of Three sentence to help the reader understand the ritual or its benefits.
  • Example:  My family eats lentils on New Years Day to bring happiness, guarantee good health, and encourage prosperity.

Body Paragraph 2

  • How  does the ritual challenge you, your family, or others  who practice it?  Why can it be difficult?
  • Power of Three sentence to help the reader understand the ritual or its challenges.
  • Example: Fasting is challenging because it results in hunger, causes distractions, and lasts all day.


  • Is the ritual mostly beneficial or mostly a challenge?
  • Do you think you’ll continue to practice the ritual in your adult life?

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