A recent article in Psychology today explains the neuroscience of performance rituals. In a nut shell: by performing one task repeatedly, your brain is desensitized to anxiety due to failure, and thus helps you to perform other tasks better Read full article here).
Now that rituals have been explained scientifically, I hope that this will encourage you to set your own rituals – something I always advised my clients to do. The reason is a simple, Life is about time, and time is about rhythm. You can’t really play a music piece, or know what the music sounds like, if the rhythm is not set!
Performing rituals, your own personal rituals, at the start of the day helps you to enjoy “smooth sailing” throughout your day as you move from rituals to another. Rituals can be a favourite activity, watering you plants, having your first hot drink of the day in peaceful surroundings, or simply clearing your desk out and writing your things to do list.
Once you get used to performing your daily rituals, you can set weekly rituals, monthly rituals, or annual rituals – such as reading a new book, taking up a new class, travelling to a new country, going to the theatre or to a live concert, etc.
The thing about rituals is that our brains love automatic behaviour – they do not have to use up extra energy in order to work hard; rituals seem familiar and thus performance anxiety is diminished. Brains love them, and your confidence is boosted at achieving them. The upshot of course, is that you will have a more interesting life too!
What’s your favourite personal ritual?