I'm A Psychologist Who Studies Stress — Here's How I Stop Anxiety In Its Tracks


Anxiety manifests differently for everyone, but many people struggle with feeling a lack of control. It can be a general feeling or focused on a certain event, area of life, etc. Either way, rituals may be able to help fill that gap.

“I do think that routine and rituals are extremely important, because they allow us to relax,” Epel says. “Ritual is the foundation of relaxation. When we know what’s coming next, our bodies can find ease rather than vigilance.” 

Award-winning psychologist Ethan Kross, Ph.D. agrees, as he brought up a similar point on his episode of the mindbodygreen podcast: “[Rituals] provide us with a sense of order and control, which is often lacking when we experience chatter,” he says (chatter is his way of referring to negative self-talk). “A ritual is under your control…it gives you a sense of agency.” 

Plus, focusing on the ritual takes your attention away from mental chatter, which can keep those feelings from dominating your psyche and triggering anxious reactions. In fact, research has shown that stress can result in ritualized behavior1, such as repetitive movements (like cleaning, for example). 


Source link