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How to Live without Stress

by Linda Lou, Follow Me Tai Chi

You can’t. Stress is part of life and the only way to live stress free is not to live. However, you can manage the harmful effects of stress with various kinds of meditation.

According to a 20 year study by the University of London completed in the early 1990s: “… it was found that unmanaged reactions to stress were a more dangerous risk factor for cancer and heart disease than either cigarette smoking or high-cholesterol foods. “

So how do you meditate? Do you join an ashram in India and give away all your possessions to meditate? Not really, simply put - meditation is just emptying the mind for a period of time. This is easier said than done. According to Dr. Deepak Chopra “we have approximately 50,000 thoughts a day“and it is difficult to turn off this constant stream of thought. Take a minute and close your eyes and try to not think of anything. Most people within seconds will have thoughts flowing through their consciousness. So how do you accomplish this?

If staring at a flower or chanting a mantra doesn’t appeal to you, another route is Tai Chi, Qigong or Yoga. This kind of meditation is easier to do because you focus on the moves and breathing completely. This eliminates the overload of thoughts temporarily. By being ‘in the moment’ you are entering a different state of brain activity that is conducive to deep relaxation and potentially -healing. The added benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong or Yoga are that you also get a gentle physical and energetic workout at the same time.

How do you know if you are meditating successfully? If you lose track of time - you are meditating. Any simple activity that focuses your mind in a relaxing way can be a meditation: looking out at a beautiful view, listening to some music, counting your breaths or other breathing techniques may also get you into the ‘meditation zone’. Some repetitive physical activities such as running, swimming, paddling etc can also be meditative when you focus on the moves and relax your mind.

According to the Mayo Clinic Newsletter: “Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don't end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and can even improve certain medical conditions.”

Linda has studied the arts of Tai Chi & Qigong for over 27 years. She has taught in community centres, hospitals, seniors’ centres and privately for the past 20 years. In addition to teaching the traditional sets of Yang Style Tai Chi, Linda works with her students' Chi and helps them to improve their health with Qigong exercises and Easy Tai Chi moves. Although traditional style teaching has the student memorize the forms first and perfect them afterward, Linda prefers to let the student first achieve the correct principles and later, if they desire, memorize the forms


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