Ritual and Routine for a Fulfilled Satisfying Life
David A. Morris, LCSW
“Right before a I go out socially, I jump up and down, shake out my hands and legs, then tell myself ‘I can do it, no problem’,” reported a client of mine. I told her I hoped this was in private J She assured me it was but was adamant her ritual built courage against her anxiety. It was a pleasant reminder how rituals provide relief from the day to day stress and changing events.
Ritual and routine play a significant role in our lives. People often think of religiosity or spirituality when picturing routines or rituals. But consider all the small rituals we perform each day; using the same mug for our coffee, following specific steps before starting the car, performing the same tasks when we get ready for bed. From infancy, the more structured our routine and the more consistent our rituals surrounding bedtime, the better we slept (most of the time).
Current research reveals less than 33% families eat dinner together, reducing meaningful conversation with the kids to less than 40 minutes per week. Plus, couples with dual careers are only conversing 2 hours per week on average. When our routines breakdown or our structures collapse often the systems we have created emotionally and relationally do the same.
If you are experiencing a lot of stress, notice if your routines and rituals have been interrupted. Instead of hoping they come back, it is important to script rituals for things like your morning routine, daily reunion with your partner, celebrating triumphs, or coping when someone is sick.
To help you create your own ritual, start with these questions:
- What’s the most stressful activity in your day? Could you create a ritual or routine to make it less stressful?
- Is there anything in other people’s routines you would like to replicate?
- Is there anyone who can give you feedback about rituals/routines that you do but are not aware of?
- How often can you commit to this new routine/ritual despite your busy schedule?
Create a more satisfying life and reduce the stress and anxiety through routine. Our counselors are here to join you in the process.