Fear and uncertainty are unavoidable parts of life. We all go through seasons where we face situations and scenarios that catch us off guard and where we experience things we fail to understand.
These situations are out of our control and can bring a lot of negative psychological and physical effects that can be debilitating if we don’t learn to manage and navigate them within our lives. This is where creation and implementation of a strict routine comes in. Defined, a routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed. Routines add value during times of fear and uncertainty by acting as a type of grounding force to help us be more balanced (Finestone, 2020).
One of the most triggering aspects of fear and uncertainty is the lack of predictability. Routines are a great way to counter that by acting as an anchor. Establishing a set of activities or an order of activities that we can look forward to happening the same way or in the same order each day can reestablish a sense of order and calm. In turn, as a result of this structure comes a sense of comfort that directly counteracts fear and uncertainty (Northwestern Medicine, 2016).
Stress & Anxiety Reduction
Routines are extremely beneficial when it comes to managing stress associated with fear and uncertainty. Not only does the predictability of a routine help to manage stress, but it also allows for people to schedule in activities that better help deal with fear and uncertainty.
Regularly scheduling things such as meditation and yoga can help reestablish a sense of internal peace and calm when you feel stressed. As these elements are regularly implemented and utilized the brain adapts and begins to expect these things as a reward, therefore anticipating the stress relief response and responding positively even before it takes place (Blurt Team, 2018).
Routines can also provide improved sleep habits which can lead to better sleep. Having a regimen in place provides a flow and structure for the day. Typically, when a routine is in place, by the time one gets to the end of the routine the body is ready for rest.
During sleep, the body and mind are able to regenerate which is known to decrease stress levels, decrease anxiety, and improve mental health. This in turn helps one better cope with fear and uncertainty. When stress and anxiety are lowered, one is in a better space to reason through trying times and experiences and manage those negative emotions (Forshee, 2019).
Another feature of routines is resilience. It seems that routines establish patterns which act as sort of coping mechanisms to help people remain grounded during difficult times. Routines provide something that a person can go back to time and time again when they feel out of control and fearful as a means of regaining some sense of control. This then helps one to bounce back when they experience fear and uncertainty as opposed to be paralyzed and unable to move forward.
Ultimately, fear and uncertainty do not have to destroy your life. Routines can be used to manage stress and anxiety, increase resilience, establish predictability, and improve sleep. All of these benefits of routines can then help manage feelings of lack of control and decrease fear so it is not debilitating.
Blurt Team. (2018, November 8). The mental health benefits of having a daily routine. The Blurt Foundation. https://www.blurtitout.org/2018/11/08/mental-health-benefits-routine/
Finestone, P. (2020, May 7). The benefits of keeping a daily routine during uncertain times. Fox Chase Cancer Center – Philadelphia, PA |. https://www.foxchase.org/blog/benefits-keeping-daily-routine-during-uncertain-times
Forshee, D. (2019, July 2). Psychological benefits of routines. Marriage Counseling NJ, Family Mediation, Divorce Counseling NJ. https://drdanielleforshee.com/psychological-benefits-of-routines/
Northwestern Medicine. (2016, August 15). Health benefits of having a routine. https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/health-benefits-of-having-a-routine