From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective repeated episodes of stress over a long period severely depletes our vital life energy or Qi. The consequences of depleted Qi and an imbalance of the yin and yang energies leads to volatile emotions, a compromised immune system, illness, injury, accidents and early aging.
Stress is a state, not an illness. When you are aware you are feeling stressed stop whatever you are doing and breathe. The advice from the Eastern masters is to take fewer breaths per minute to regulate the emotions and ensure the mind remains calm. A calm mind also reduces inflammation and promotes a strong immune system.
Breathe to de-stress, calm the emotions, BE in the moment and r…e…l…a…x.
Stress is what happens when we are resisting “what is”. In that moment, decide to either let the issue go and allow the situation to be as it is or make a decision and take action. Whenever I make a decision instead of procrastinating the anxiety dissipates and my energy levels elevate along with my enthusiasm. This is something that definitely takes practise. We are so conditioned to worry about so much nonsense. Nearly all of it just doesn’t matter, but the habit of over-thinking everything is an epidemic in our modern society.
After nearly 20 years of being on the self-development path, it is still a daily, moment by moment reality check to “get off it” (whatever ‘it’ may be). As soon as we attach a story to an experience or situation and then embellish it with emotion, we create our own drama. In the end, it becomes a habit and we end up only getting a sense of ourselves when we are indulging in some sort of drama. In Chinese medicine living a highly charged emotional life, also depletes Qi and compromises the immune system.
Learning to relax is the key to a contented and balanced life. Relaxation makes us strong and powerful in mind, body and emotions. Martial arts legend Bruce Lee once said “The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be”.
Make relaxation a more familiar habit and watch the circumstances of your life shift and change. Yoga, Tai Chi, a daily mindfulness practice (try using this excellent Mindfulness APP) , walking, having a massage are all ways to immerse yourself in the feeling of being completely and utterly relaxed. Then notice how long you are able to sustain that state before the mind kicks in and drags you back into over-thinking, shallow breathing and over doing.
I once received some beautiful advice from my dearly departed friend and mentor Professor Man Fong Mei at the end of a very long, personally challenging and stressful year, “My dear, surround yourself with people who support you, are easy to be with and enhance your Qi. Avoid being with people who cause anger to rise and who inflame your emotions. Know yourself and always be fully present in your heart”.