There are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions to managing stress. What works for one person may not work as well for you. And, what works right now could change in the future. If you are looking for something to try out for yourself, consider tai chi as a way to relieve stressors in your life or to keep them at bay.
What Is Tai Chi?
Tai chi is an ancient form of Chinese martial arts. There is no kicking or punching involved like many forms of martial arts. It is derived from “qi-gong” and emphasizes breathing, focusing the mind and fluid movement. Pretty much anyone, young or old, can learn to perform tai chi. It is a “soft” form of martial arts and has many hidden benefits.
“Chi” refers to the life force energy of an entity. It is this life force that flows freely through someone to maintain internal balance and order. According to ancient Eastern tradition, chi travels along paths called “meridians.” When there is trouble, whether it’s external or internal, these meridian channels become blocked and the energy is disrupted. That is believed to be why illness and/or pain results within the body.
Through a series of movements and positions, balance can be restored to your body. There are many styles of tai chi so it is best to learn from a professionally trained teacher. Once you gain confidence and competence in your particular style, the movements can be completed on your own whenever you feel the need to restore balance.
Because tai chi is a low impact form of exercise, those whose needs require them to use milder activities (sports injury or advanced age, for example) usually have no trouble properly executing the moves and achieving both mental and physical benefits.
The Benefits of Tai Chi
When performed correctly and regularly, the benefits of tai chi begin to manifest themselves in your life and your body. These benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Increased aerobic capacity – The heart and lungs perform their functions more efficiently. More oxygen gets to the brain, increasing mental acuity and focus.
- More energy – The lack of energy is one reason for stress. When you feel capable of doing more, it is easier to accomplish more on a daily basis.
- Decreased anxiety and stress – Endorphins are released during physical exercise. They create a feeling of euphoria and well-being that can assist with managing stressful situations. They may also encourage more positive self-talk in your mind.
- Better sleep – Sleep allows the body to repair and restore. Sleeping well can mean that you are ready to face the next day.
- Increased balance and flexibility – This becomes important when performing everyday activities like sitting, standing, bending and reaching.
Are you looking for a way to reduce your stress levels while increasing positivity in your life? Try tai chi.