By Danielle: Practicing the healing power of ritual does not make you superstitious. Often, we partake in rituals without fully realizing that is what we are doing. If you carry an object around with you regularly without really understanding why, or need to perform a certain task at the same time each day, you are taking part in ritual. Your morning and nightly routines are also rituals. And every single one of these can be done with sacred intent.
If you are someone inclined towards the tangible, you may be pleased to know there is research which proves rituals can be useful for soothing anxiety. This is important – because stress is uncomfortable, hinders your performance, and can ultimately harm your health.
Here are some ideas of how to create your own effective rituals to empower you.
How to Use Rituals to Relieve Anxiety
If you are just getting started with ritual practice, you may wish to choose rituals that carry a deep meaning for you. These will certainly deliver positive side effects.
Clear away clutter. Getting your surroundings in order is so beneficial. Play some music that you love, light some incense, be fully present. Moving around your space and your home with the intent to clear and organize will make you feel calmer – especially once the task is complete. Take the time to really soul search, and see which items you truly want to hang on to, and which ones you can let go.
Turn housework into a ritual. On days when you have more energy and time, do some dusting, mopping and washing. Just as with de-cluttering, make it enjoyable with some music and lovely space cleansing scents such as essential oils. Rhythmic activities are incredibly comforting and peace inducing. Once you are done, place some fresh flowers in a central space to celebrate a job well done!
Spend time with animals. Studies show that interacting with animals promotes healing and lowers blood pressure. If you don’t have a pet, you may wish to visit your local animal shelter or SPCA. Maybe you can commit to regularly walking a neighbor’s dog, or spending extra time with a friend that has a pet.
Get some mind/body exercise. If you don’t have a yoga practice already, you may wish to consider starting one. Pilates is also wonderful, as the majority of exercises are done close to the ground and work deep into the core muscles. These practices calm your mind and train your body to begin taking regular, deep breaths. This is so important for the whole nervous system. Not to mention, feeling more fit is always a good thing!
Create time for reflection and prayer. A personal spiritual practice can help you transform obstacles into stepping stones for personal growth. Read some books that are connected with your personal spiritual beliefs, or find poems and quotations that inspire you.
Write in a journal. Writing, drawing, and other creative activities help you to handle tension, and they do so very effectively. Use a journal to process your feelings and identify patterns in your life that you wish to shift. You might want to explore other arts and crafts too – things like sketching, knitting, baking and beading can be incredibly calming. And you will have something lovely to enjoy afterwards!
Commit to regular self care. When was the last time you had a massage? Or perhaps you really enjoy getting your hair cut or your nails done. Whatever it is that you absolutely love to book in for, commit to booking in for more of it. Often we have great intentions for practicing self care, and then life happens and we push our personal self care rituals to the back burner. Book yourself in for a treatment, every other week or even each week if you can, and book far in advance. Doing this will get you used to making yourself a priority. And it’s a fabulous way to practice self-love.
Consider counseling. What if your anxiety is severe and it starts to interfere with your daily life? Professional help is available. For some people, talk therapy is a wonderful healing option. You may also wish to see a professional for nutrition help or blood work – there are supplements and medicines that can treat your symptoms and help you enjoy life more.
Above all, when dealing with anxiety, remember that it is important to accept your feelings. Trying to suppress your emotions can backfire. Allow yourself to feel nervous or confused, and when you are ready, work through the feelings. You can also work to re-frame your thoughts. You can shift your mindset while you validate your feelings.
Put rituals to work for you when you’re dealing with an uncertain or challenging situation. Used wisely, they can restore your peace of mind and help you achieve the results you desire.
Love and Light,
At the very center of the turning world, there is only the dance ~ T.S. Eliot
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