In a world that feels chaotic, confused and unsafe, we can easily lose our bearings. While life goes on in our day to day routine it can feel like we’re floating on a tempestuous ocean, roiled by the violent emotional waves underneath us. In such times it’s more important than ever to cultivate daily practices which offer a sense of stability and groundedness – and rhythm provides a useful framework for structuring our thoughts and behaviours.
It’s no secret that when we feel stressed, overstretched and emotionally vulnerable the smallest things can knock us off balance. Sometimes we might not even be able to recognise our feelings until this happens and we snap, throwing our hands up in a moment of frustration or panic.
Nurturing our own resilience in the face of uncertainty is incredibly important, and one of the most foundational steps we can take in this process is to build stability into our daily routine. When we create a pattern for ourselves and exercise the discipline required to maintain it over a period of time, we create our own meaning through practices which help to centre us.
These practices and rhythms will be just as unique as our own personalities and contexts, but the key thing is consistency. Think of a band: it could be comprised of the world’s greatest virtuosos, but without a steady drummer the other members are left adrift.
Our daily rhythm
Although everyone’s day will be different, there are three times when it’s helpful to check in with ourselves: waking up, the middle of our day, and when we go to sleep. Taking a few minutes for a short meditation to reflect on how we’re feeling, or engaging in an activity – reading a poem, listening to a song – that resonates with us on a deeper level gives us a framework that can help to shore us up no matter how our day has gone. What’s more, knowing that these moments are coming, that we’ve built them purposefully into our day’s rhythm, can offer reassurance and comfort at times when we start to feel overwhelmed.
Living with uncertainty is a recipe for anxiety and inner tension. However, when it seems like we are powerless to change our wider circumstances, our power rests in changing the little things, and dancing to a rhythm which is ours and ours alone.