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Ritualize It

A ritual can help you to regain your center and feel more in control.

From the CONCERN: EAP Resilience Library

Research indicates that humans evolved to feel calmed by repetitive behavior and that performing daily rituals can help us to build emotional and mental resilience. Rituals can be an effective and convenient tool for balance, especially in environments or situations that make us feel stressed or pressured in some way.

A ritual can be anything that you do repetitively—a series of behaviors done in the same order—at certain times or in certain situations. When the tempo of your life seems to be going too fast, oryou feel uncontrollably busy, a ritual can help you to regain your center and feel more in control.

A ritual can be as small as listening to the same energizing song in the morning while getting ready for work, or an affirmative mantra that you repeat to yourself at a certain time of the day.    Here are two examples of simple rituals you can try to slow the pace of a frantic day.

Calming Ritual

If you feel pressured or stressed, try this simple stretching ritual. Stretching and deep breathing have their ownphysical benefits, and combining them in the form of a ritual can help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

  1. Stretch your neck gently by turning your head to the right, the left and then bringing your right ear down to your right shoulder and then your left ear to your left shoulder. 
  2. Inhale and exhale deeply with each movement. 
  3. Center your head and straighten your posture.
  4. Take one more deep breath and on the exhale, think to yourself, “I have more than enough time.”

Make a Cup of Tea

This is an example of how we can find ritual in something that we do every day.  It’s a good way to learn to direct focus on the present moment. Try following these steps, and guiding your attention gently back to the task any time it wanders.

  1. Listen and watch as the water boils, observe the bubbles and steam.
  2. Listen to the sound of the water as you pour it into the cup.
  3. Feel the warmth of the cup.
  4. Watch the water change color as it infuses with tea. 
  5.  Savor and observe the taste of the tea as you drink it vs. absentmindedly swallowing while doing other things.
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