Is it possible that tai chi cures depression?
Today is a challenging time to be alive. Not only do we hear almost constantly about how dangerous it is to be out in the streets and how often we see in the news that unarmed men and women can be gunned down in their prime but we also have other pressures. We are pushed by our friends to conform to standards that may not be our own, we are often expected by our own families to be someone other than who we really are. Just figuring out who we are can be a really challenge with all these distractions and Hollywood continues to set ideals that are almost impossible for most people to attain. The problem is that many people in the US aspire to be a part of Hollywood and if not, to at least look the part. This results in a lot of unmet expectations and can easily lead to depression or thoughts. It’s no wonder that according the NY Times, the suicide rate in Americans ages 35 – 64 rose nearly 30% between 1999 and 2010.
Using alcohol and excessive amounts of drugs to hide from ourselves or from the world usually only ends up fueling the numbers but maybe there is another way. Meditation has long been heralded as a solution to calm ourselves in the midst of chaos but is medication really the answer? For some people sitting and staring at a wall till the mind is blank, or moving through a series of static postures may be the answer but for me that’s just too much stillness for me to adapt to easily after a hectic day but maybe there is another mediational style that is more easily adopted by today’s charged lifestyle.
Since I feel it’s fairly easy to view today’s world as a modern day battlefield, maybe we should borrow some wisdom from an ancient battle ridden China. The arts that kept people calm and centered within themselves then will almost assuredly work just as well today. These arts, known as tai chi (taiji) and its parent group of exercises, qigong, can help us to realize that we cannot control the forces around us, only the ones within.
Tai chi is a part of qigong but often seen today as something separate but tai chi and qigong are two ancient arts that become more relevant every day as the world around us gets crazier. Whether you choose to practice tai chi; the ancient martial art that also has meditational benefits or one of the exercise sets from the parent group called qigong, or health qigong that are focused solely on bringing about better physical and mental health, these ancient arts give us all the tools to bring ourselves to a place of peaceful growth today despite the chaos going on around us. While many meditational arts offer similar results, tai chi and qigong offer a meditation where the body moves rather than remaining still. For many of us today who are so keyed up by our hectic worlds, it is a welcome idea. It can be very difficult to go from a life surrounded by an almost assaulting energy level with people telling us what to do and what to think, and go straight to a quiet static environment. Give yourself the chance to find out how tai chi and qigong offer all the meditational benefits of other serious mediational styles with the addition of movement. Learn how these arts can help you to find your center and tune all other influences out. This is important in today’s world where so many of us seem to be wondering if our lives even matter. Every life is important and has something to share. Tai chi and qigong can help you realize who you are and how important you are to the universe.
Tai chi and qigong are only a small sample of the meditational styles available to us but learning to meditate and finding the type of meditational that suits you may be one of the most important things you can do in order to center yourself and stay happy with who you are despite the challenges you face every minute of the day. It’s funny how no matter how far we’ve come, the oldest form(s) of mediation we know of may still be some of the best. Give tai chi or qigong a try today and start on the path to a more peaceful happy life in an all-natural way.