Stress, anxiety, low confidence and depressionare all common reasons why people turn to Tai Chi as a natural anti-depressant to help boost their mood.
I’ve seen many times how joining a class transforms people’s mental health and I’ve just read an article that provides some evidence why.
“It turns out that, in the same way that we have basic physical needs like food, water and shelter, all humans have certain basic psychological needs.”
“We need to feel we belong. We need to feel valued. We need to feel we’re good at something. We need to feel we have a secure future.”
“There is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many, perhaps most, people…
….we have become disconnected from things we really need, and this deep disconnection is driving this epidemic of depression and anxiety all around the world”
In my book, I describe how the modern world is crazy!
Working life, the economy and technology mean there is a constant pressure to operate at an unnatural pace.
By trying to keep up, we neglect our true nature and suffer the consequences.
Some people are more sensitive and recognise this imbalance earlier.
Others continue to drive themselves until a major physical or mental illness slaps them across the face and makes them sit down and take a good look at their life.
The Drugs Don’t Work
The article reveals that much of the ‘evidence’ that depression is caused by low serotonin levels has been conveniently fabricated by drug companies in order to sell the idea to prescribing doctors.
Whilst it is convenient to absolve responsibility and blame it on one’s genes, the research suggests…
That using these drugs to boost serotonin only provides temporary respite.
These feelings are in fact messages that there are things about our external world that need changing.
The author of the article found, when speaking with local doctors in countries where they don’t use drugs as anti-depressants,That they looked for other more effective approaches. According to these doctors:
“Finding an antidepressant didn’t mean finding a way to change your brain chemistry. It meant finding a way to solve the problem that was causing the depression in the first place.”
…we need to change our understanding of what depression and anxiety really are.
Finding A Way
Sometimes people are not aware what is causing their mental health challenges.
Often people don’t know how to change their situation or they feel powerless to do so but after coming to one of our classes for a while they experience how they can shift their mood.
It is within their control.
There are things they can do that naturally make a difference to how they feel.
This realisation can be hugely empowering. It starts a positive feedback loop. They start to make choices that are more positive. This brings further benefits.
Perhaps they start to come to two classes a week instead of just one…
Perhaps they start to implement some of the Daoist dietary guidelines we teach.
Perhaps they start to rise a little earlier and start their day with some breathing exercises.
They start to contribute to the running of a class. They feel part of a community.
Soon it becomes clear that their life can continue to get better and better and they have the strength to influence how.
The research asserts that one of the main causes of depression is the perception that one’s life is meaningless.
When people begin practising Tai Chi, Yoga, Meditation and Lishi regularly, they discover that they can create the life that they want.
What could be more meaningful than that?
If you want to read the full article, it’s here
If you’d like to explore how daoist philosophy and practise could benefit you, why not get my book ‘Way Out – A Daoist Path to a Fearless Life’
Read the reviews to find out what people are saying about it
To start doing lishi, either use this special link to get a big discount on my online course here
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10 Reasons to Breathe Deeply
The human body is designed to take in 75% of its energy requirement through breathing; oxygen is the most fundamental unit of fuel that we take into our body.
Further, we also eliminate 70% of our toxins via the breath;
Did you know that the human body is designed to take in 75% of its energy requirements through breathing. oxygen also cleanses the cells by oxidation and enables waste products to be carried back to the lungs via the bloodstream.
Given these basic facts it is easy to see why learning to breathe correctly is one of the most fundamental things we can do to support and maintain our health and wellbeing. In our Tai Chi classes we have lots of specialised breathing exercises to help develop your lungs and add to the natural benefits of Tai Chi with the natural benefits of deep breathing.
The Daoist who first developed Lishi Leeds Tai chi always knew the secret that breathing deeply is important for not only your body’s health but it’s also a key factor in emotional wellbeing.
Let’s face it during this cold and dark time of the year keeping the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) away so you keep smiling through winter is essential.
The results of poor breathing practices are:
Under-oxygenation and low energy levels, toxicity build-up, high stress and stagnant emotional states.
It is well accepted that long-term emotional stagnation eventually leads to physical and emotional disorders. By becoming a conscious breather we can re-take control of our lives by fully oxygenating our system and maintaining a lucid state of emotional freedom.
Since most of us are not educated to become conscious of this fundamental metabolic process, over 90% of us are using less than 50% of our breathing capacity here are 10 reasons why you should add it to your everyday routine.
1. Breathing Detoxifies and Releases Toxins
Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly ridding your body of its toxins i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness. When you exhale air from your body you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism.
2. Breathing Releases Tension and Stress
Deep breathing helps decrease your heart beat and relax your muscles there by lowering blood pressure to reduce stress
3. Breathing Relaxes the Mind/Body and Brings Clarity
Oxygenation of the brain reducing excessive anxiety levels. Paying attention to your breathing. Breathe slowly, deeply and purposefully into your body. Notice any places that are tight and breathe into them. As you relax your body, you may find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.
4. Breathing Relieves Emotional Problems
Breathing will help clear uneasy feelings out of your body.
5. Breathing Relieves Pain
You may not realize its connection to how you think, feel and experience life. For example, what happens to your breathing when you anticipate pain? You probably hold your breath. Yet studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.
6. Breathing Massages Your Organs
The movements of the diaphragm during the deep breathing exercise massages the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. When you inhale air your diaphragm descends and your abdomen will expand. By this action you massage vital organs and improves circulation in them. Controlled breathing also strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.
7. Breathing Increases Muscle
Breathing is the oxygenation process to all of the cells in your body. With the supply of oxygen to the brain this increases the muscles in your body.
8. Breathing Strengthens the Immune System
Oxygen travels through your bloodstream by attaching to haemoglobin in your red blood cells. This in turn then enriches your body to metabolise nutrients and vitamins.
9. Breathing Improves Posture
Good breathing techniques over a sustained period of time will encourage good posture. Bad body posture will result of incorrect breathing so this is such an important process by getting your posture right from early on you will see great benefits.
10. Breathing Improves Quality of the Blood
Deep breathing removes all the carbon-dioxide and increases oxygen in the blood and thus increases blood quality.