Stress is something that we all have to face at some point in our lives, Qi Gong could well provide the antidote to this increasing problem in society.
Sometimes the pressures of modern life will reveal holes in our ability to manage and unfortunately this can affect our health, relationships and work.
It was a big part of my life many years ago and I became very interested in finding ways of managing my stress so that it didn’t continue to have such a damaging effect on my health.
If we aim to change anything in our lives it’s really important that we understand what it is we’re changing!
So what exactly is stress and where does it come from?
When I was younger I found myself in all sorts of situations where I became stressed. I would often come back home completely confused at how life could have dealt me yet another blow.
I was caught up in the confusing narrative going on in my head.
I would create whole stories in my mind about my experience which led me further into anxiety and depression. I would often project my stress onto the situation and blame the situation or person for my pain.
It wasn’t until I realised that in each experience, there is a choice that we can make.
We can choose to see things through the filter of our past experiences
From the clarity of being Present and aware.
We can choose to see things either from Fear or Love.
When we blame circumstances or others for how we feel, we are coming from a place of fear based on our past experiences which have left some unresolved wound or trauma. We usually fall into this pattern quite unconsciously.
When living more consciously we can own our reactivity & choose to see events as a reflection of what still needs some attention in our own emotional world. It can point to parts of us that still need healing. When we approach our everyday experiences like this then we are coming from a place of Love. We are living intentionally in every moment and in this way we start our own healing which will of course affect everyone and everything else around you in a very positive and nourishing way.
What happens to our body when stressed?
I would like you to imagine you are trying to squeeze some toothpaste out of a tube but you have forgotten to take the top off. What happens? It has to find some other way out and this usually means that the toothpaste emerges from the bottom of the tube or perhaps a hole in the side, whichever is the weakest point.
Now imagine that the tube of toothpaste is you! You are under pressure and beginning to experience psychological or emotional stress. But you do not ‘take your lid off’ by recognising what is happening and making time to relax or deal with your inner conflicts.
So what happens to the mental or emotional pressure building up inside you? Eventually it has to find a way out and if it can’t come out in the appropriate way (by being expressed and resolved); it will come out somewhere else.
It will find the weakest point, whether through your digestive system, your nerves, your immune system or your sleep patterns. Pushed down it becomes an illness, depression, addiction or anxiety, projected outwards it becomes hostility, prejudice or aggression.
And what about the everyday stresses that we take for granted?
It is also everyday stress that affects us deeply by slowly grinding away at our inner reserves. The fight or flight response enables us to respond to danger, but it is not just major life threatening situations that stimulate this response. Fearful or anxious thoughts do it too.
This happens as the body is unable to tell the difference between real or imagined threats. This is such an important concept. Understanding this point will help in reversing the stress response!
When we focus on our fears about what might happen, it plays as much havoc with our hormones and chemical balance as when we confront a dangerous situation in real life!
Not only that….it closes down our ability to connect with our deeper self and live in effortless creative flow!
Everyday experiences can have a deeply stressful effect, especially if they are repressed. Being pushed or squeezed in the rush hour, continual bad weather, coping with an ill child….our response to all these situations has to be contained, for society does not permit us to react by screaming or throwing a tantrum.
Suppressing the normal fight or flight response in this way means that the chemicals coursing around your body have nowhere to go. How are they to disappear? How are they to find expression?
Qi Gong provides a wonderful solution for stress and anxiety
The ancient healing wisdom of Qi Gong still today is an amazing tool for managing and dealing with the after effects of stress and anxiety in our lives.
Qi Gong provides an opportunity to go inside. To look within oneself and discover and connect with ones deepest self.
For some it will lead to better health, emotional balance and improved vitality. For others who seek more it will lead them deeper into their own spiritual journey of discovery.
1. Qi Gong is a moment to connect with our breath.
Encouraging our busy mind to settle on the breath can be a magical moment.
As the mind which has been racing away on all manner of distracting thoughts comes back to the breath, an unexpected feeling of deep inner peace can begin to emerge. Once revealed it can never be ignored again!
2. Qi Gong is a moment to connect with our body.
When I teach tai chi and qi gong in classes it is always a revelation when beginners start to learn the movements to see what sort of relationship they have with their own body.
With experience it is quite possible to see how aware they are of their own body by the way they move and how relaxed they are whilst moving. Needless to say that most beginners have very little connection with their body and display huge amounts of tension which generally they are completely unaware of. This usually has been a lifelong habit and is deeply embedded in everything they do.
When we live so much in our heads, we are not aware of our body. We are disconnected from the body. So much so, that often we will be completely unaware of how much stress is affecting us. We don’t feel the tension building in our muscles until it appears as a headache, stiff neck and shoulders or backache.
Through the gentle movements of qi gong we can learn how to connect with our body and release the damaging effects that stress can cause. We can feel where pressure has built up and then let it go.
3. Qi Gong is a moment to connect with our emotions
I once heard emotions described as “energy in motion.” I love this explanation & it fits very well with the Eastern healing tradition which Qi Gong comes from. We all experience emotions, some good some not so good. However what happens after we experience that emotion can make all the difference to you and your health.
If that emotion is not processed out of our system it will become stuck on some level in our being. Whether on a physical, mental, emotional or energetic level. Eventually this stuck or blocked emotion will present its bill! You only have to glance at the figures for stress related disorders to realise the enormity of the problem. Ignoring this important aspect of our health can come at a serious cost to our health.
Through proper Qi Gong training and practice we can begin to feel the emotions in our body. We can experience whereabouts we are stuck or blocked. With guidance we can start the process of releasing and letting go of these blocks.
4. Qi Gong connects us to our energy body
The subtle movements of Qi Gong will begin to open up the inner channels of the energy or Qi system thereby encouraging the continuous smooth flow of energy within the body. Traditional Chinese medicine recognises that when energy is blocked then illness will result. When energy flows abundantly through the body then vibrant health will follow.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! What’s been your biggest struggle with stress? Tell me in the comments and I’d love to help!
If you want to continue the conversation, join my Facebook group: From stressed Out to Stress Free. I’m always hanging out there and giving helpful feedback, so I will see YOU there!