anxiety control techniques

5 Rituals That Help You Control Anxiety

6 min read

Rituals to control anxiety can act as real tranquilizers in everyday life. They are behavioral and cognitive shields with which we can control the effects of uncertainty with simple actions. They bring order, structure, generate calm for the mind, security, and cushions the feeling of anguish covered with panic and the overwhelming pressure that terrifies us so often: anxiety.

It may be that the theme of rituals generates distrust in some people. Traditionally the word ritual has an esoteric connotation and is associated with a series of magic or spells with which it is believed to be possible to bring fortune, love or even health. But we often forget its real meaning. A ritual is an act that is repeated over and over again with a symbolic end, and symbols are the language of the unconscious mind, the language of our dreams. It has a rigid and well-defined structure, but it doesn’t have to be esoteric. And even the esoteric rituals serve the same purpose, to create a bridge between conscient mind and subconscious, between the ego and the collective unconscious.

The rituals to control anxiety allows you to include in your daily life a guided sequence of repetitive movements that trick the brain into thinking that it’s experiencing a pleasant state of predictability and stability.

The simple act of including something repeated in your routine, which gives order and a sense of control, is already beneficial for your brain. You must not forget that anxiety itself feeds on uncertainty, arising out of nowhere and being unpredictable so that it takes away any control you have over yourself. For this reason, this series of cognitive and behavioral rituals offer you a very interesting and worthwhile compensatory mechanism.

Anxiety control rituals: do they really work?

The practice of rituals appease the fear and bring a sense of security, a symbolic value and the promise that “everything will be fine”. Studies have demonstrated that the great psychological importance of a ritual act to manage fear in daily life, anxiety and, above all, the behavior when facing what is out of our control.

Rituals for controlling anxiety are useful and have always been from the beginning of human history. Now, there is a fact that we cannot forget. These ritualized movements that aim to provide a sense of order and security to the brain are not, in themselves, the solution to your problems. They offer a sense of control, restore internal balance and regulate emotions. They are not, however, a universal remedy for anxiety disorders that undoubtedly require clinical monitoring.

Let’s look at some example rituals.

Deep breathing before starting any activity

Deep breathing is one of the most common rituals to overcome anxiety. In order to have a calming effect, you must establish some key moments in which you’ll dedicate at least three minutes to practice breathing.

The ideal is to perform deep breathing before, for example, getting up, leaving home, when starting a job, before each meal and before going to bed. You can make use of the technique also before those activities that, generally, you know they will cause you anxiety and stress.

Movement ritual

The movement ritual is useful for stirring your mind and letting go of worries, to activate the body and undo the resistance of your muscular tension knots. Therefore, nothing better than choosing a physical activity that you’re most like to practice on a daily basis. You can go for a run, do high-intensity exercises for 5 minutes at specific times when you need more calm or even practice Yoga, Pilates, Tai chi or Chi kung.

Self-care ritual

Another ritual for overcoming anxiety is self-care. Once a day or for an hour or two you can dedicate yourself and take time to have a quality moment with yourself. You can cook the food you like, be silent and do nothing, read, walk, self-massage … It is a time in solitude, a time to heal.

Coloring or painting to face fears and concerns

We have all heard of how cathartic it is to color mandalas or drawings. The simple act of choosing certain colors and allow yourself to enter the flow of creativity can be a relaxing exercise. In addition, you can also go a little further. Another option is to choose a series of stones or shells that, due to their characteristics, can be painted. Each stone will symbolize a concern, a fear. To overcome this anguish, you will create a drawing on them, something creative that will undo the negative vision, so that you use more loving colors to look at the sensation. It is a simple and very enjoyable exercise. Imagination is the limit.

Positive Safe Harbor Ritual

The safe harbor ritual can be of great use. It consists of two phases. In the first phase, you must organize an experience that, due to its characteristics, is positive and comforting. For example, a walk on the beach, a walk with friends, a short weekend trip …

When you are in the middle of this experience you must be fully aware of the positive emotions that you’re feeling. The goal is to keep this sensation in your brain as if it were a perfume. Next, you will choose an object that is present in the context: a little sand, or a shell if you are on the beach, a leaf if you’re out on a forest or a pine cone, etc.

You will now have this chosen object, in which emotions and that moment of balance and happiness will be impregnated. It will be your little everyday talisman, a little treasure that you’ll take with you in our pocket when you face a stressful situation: a test, an interview, a medical examination …

Creating a Bridge Between Conscient Mind and Subconscious

The most important part of a ritual or rituals for controlling anxiety is that they are meaningful and make sense to you. You must create them based on your personal beliefs and characteristics. Your goal, therefore, will always be the same: to bring faith, to bring calm, and a sense of security in a world of constant uncertainty.

Attention: If your anxiety interferes severely with daily activities, talk with your doctor. Serious forms of anxiety need a multi-disciplined approach, medical treatment and/or psychological counseling (psychotherapy) for symptoms to improve.

Attention: If your anxiety interferes severely with daily activities, talk with your doctor. Serious forms of anxiety need a multi-disciplined approach, medical treatment and/or psychological counseling (psychotherapy) for symptoms to improve.

A ritual can bring you many benefits, and rituals can be esoteric related or not, it’s your choice. Start implementing them in your routine and then tell us here on the blog your experiences and progress made.

Do you already use cognitive, behavioral or esoteric rituals to control anxiety? We would absolutely love to hear from you.

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