Rituals and routines may help reduce stress

Preparedness is known to be a key prevention effort for stress, but researchers at Tel Aviv University recently established a psychological basis for why carrying out tasks routinely helps to reduce feelings of anxiety.

In order to reach their conclusions, the team of scientists examined the habits of basketball players, who often have ritualistic ways of playing the sport. For example, dribbling the ball a precise number of times before shooting.

“The routine they perform in the moments before shooting the ball is a method to focus their full concentration and control their actions,” said lead researcher David Eilam.

Authors of the study said that routine behavior helps individuals reduce their stress levels by helping make the situation seem more controllable and predictable. Additionally – and this is especially true in the case of athletes – having the belief that a certain action will lead to success may help people actually perform better.