The increasing popularity of meditation, mindfulness practice, and yoga are paving the way for us to understand and apply ancient wisdom to our daily lives and careers. Tai Chi, a low-impact Chinese mind-and-body exercise, has been practiced for centuries in the East but is slowly gaining popularity in the West. Understanding the nature of the activity will help us gain the most out of our practice. So let’s look at how the ancient art of Tai Chi can help you to achieve emotional wellness and balance in both your home life and your career.
The nature of the Tai Chi pause
While sports and exercise also have the power to improve our emotional wellbeing, these activities often happen way too fast. For example, a new form of exercise that is gaining popularity is HIIT where individuals do high-intensity training for a very short period of time. While these may help promote emotional wellness in some form, they lack the quality of pausing and listening to yourself every once in a while. The poem 'Pause' shows how pausing is about creating space to slow down and be present. Pausing is an intentional shift in behavior. This pause is inherent to the activity of Tai Chi, which is about flowing, and slow and continuous movements. These flowing movements contribute to mindfulness, and the importance of slow deliberate actions. Similar to how pausing is a shift in behavior, the principles of Tai Chi are being applied by those who practice it in other aspects of their life as well, embodying it as a lifestyle.
Supporting emotional and mental wellness
Tai Chi is made up of twenty movements learned over the course of eight weeks. Tai Chi teaches you how to move through the space around you with ease, all while staying grounded and balanced. While Tai Chi helps you navigate the physical world, it also allows you to pass through mental and emotional barriers. Studies have shown how Tai Chi significantly increases mood and self-esteem, promoting emotional wellness. It also furthers mental health and psychological wellbeing through reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
Mentally healthy individuals who practice Tai Chi will be able to cope better in their home and work lives. Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Freeman found that mental health issues are common in business with 30% of the entrepreneurs who took part in his study experiencing depression. The impact of mental health on professionals has led to further studies on how to help employees live a prosperous and healthy life. Maryville University’s post on psychology discusses the newfound connections between mental health and employee behavior. This has led to a demand for experts who not only understand this connection, but are able to use their knowledge to improve working environments, and these alternative methods are making a huge difference. Medical News Today covered a study that shows how Tai Chi is beneficial for cognitive ability and physiological wellbeing. It was found that practitioners are generally better equipped to handle stress at work as well as external variables affecting them outside office hours.
How do you start?
With all these emotional and mental benefits, how do you start practicing Tai Chi? When you first attempt to slow things down, you realize that it’s actually much harder than moving at a fast pace. The beauty of Tai Chi is that it teaches you that pause does not mean stop. Tai Chi is about continuity; a series of relaxed movements that may look slow but are uninterrupted. While the pace may be hard to adopt at first, keeping at it by starting an unhurried yet steady habit is key to tapping into the benefits of this wonderful activity.
Have you tried Tai Chi as a Pause? Leave a comment and share how it was for you.
Learn More Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlHGjYHyjmM
Video credit: Master Wong, Youtube