Relieving and Managing Stress with Taoist Tai Chi® arts
Stress can give us the energy to meet short term challenges. However, holding long term stress in our minds and bodies can have negative effects on all aspects of our being.
Fortunately, research and anecdotal evidence show that Tai Chi helps people manage and relieve stress in a healthy way. With Taoist Tai Chi® practice people find they relax both mentally and physically while feeling stronger and more grounded. It increases energy, yet it has a meditative quality that calms and quiets the mind, bringing focus and clarity. Physical side effects diminish and practitioners enjoy a feeling of well-being.
Stress affects each person differently. Perhaps you feel worried, worn down and overwhelmed, or are struggling with focus or racing thoughts and insomnia. You may feel that you are in “fight or flight” mode all the time. Sometimes stress shows itself physically through headaches, stomach problems or being sick often. Certainly stress interferes with your enjoyment of life.
In contrast, the connection that comes from people quietly practicing Taoist Tai Chi® arts together in harmony brings a calm joy.
Reduce Stress with Taoist Tai Chi® arts
Several practitioners talk about how Taoist Tai Chi® arts helped them reduce chronic stress or better manage stressful life situations.
- In a pilot study of healthcare professionals in high stress positions, all of the participants reported a positive impact on their perceived levels of stress after taking part in the Tai Chi intervention.
- Participants reported feeling more relaxed, calmer, less stressed, and more grounded at work.
Marshall, D., Donohue, G., Morrissey, J., and Power, B. (2018). Evaluation of a Tai Chi intervention to promote well-being in healthcare staff: A pilot study. Religions 9(35)
- Tai Chi was positively associated with improvements in stress levels in healthy adults, patients with HIV-related distress and elderly Chinese patients with cardiovascular disease risk factors
- This study not only found that Tai Chi was effective in reducing stress levels in healthy adults and patients with chronic conditions, but also found that it reduced anxiety and depression and improved mood and self-esteem.
Wang, CC., Bannuru, R., Ramel, J. et. al. (2010). Tai Chi on psychological well-being: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complimentary Medicine and Therapies 10.
- Tai Chi practice was introduced to various populations who experienced improvements in stress levels and management ability as well as other measures of well-being including depression and anxiety.
- The authors, optimistic about the outcomes and potential of Tai Chi, call for more extensive and rigorous research.
Wang, F., Lee, E-KO., Wu, T., et. al. (2014). The effects of tai chi on depression, anxiety, and psychological well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis.605–617.
- Many health organizations recognize the benefits of Tai Chi for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Features about the positive impacts of Tai Chi on stress and stress management are highlighted on many websites, including HealthLine, the Mayo Clinic, and Harvard Health.
When I first began Taoist Tai Chi® practice at the age of 28 I was on the back end of a disintegrating relationship. We still lived together but all that remained was the fighting. It was not unusual to come to class having left an argument and holding back tears.
After an hour and a half of doing what seemed like practically nothing in silence with 15 strangers I was amazed to find myself feeling like a normal human being again. That certainly kept me coming back!
Then, with my eyes opened to the power of the practice, I was able to make the necessary changes to begin this ever-deepening quest for healing and balance.
– Scott, Victoria, Canada
Taoist Tai Chi® practice quiets my mind…
– Bobbie, St Catharines, Canada
My work life as a small town veterinarian has been very busy and intensely stressful. Burnout and suicide are well recognized within our profession.
From my first Taoist Tai Chi® arts class 25 years ago I felt the calming benefits of moving together in silence. I credit the practice of Taoist Tai Chi® arts with saving my life and allowing me to continue to serve the people and animals in our community.
– Jim, Southern Interior, Canada
Taoist Tai Chi® practice has given me valuable and appreciated coping skills in managing stress and anxiety. It has taught me to immediately recognize when stress escalates. With this awareness I can overcome and control anxiety before it can take hold, resulting in a calm, more balanced and pleasurable approach to life.
– Wendy, Haida Gwaii, Canada
As a front line clerk involved with customer service I sometimes faced difficult situations. Not long after I started my Taoist Tai Chi® practice I noticed a calmness that I was bringing to these potentially stressful encounters. My calmness also seemed to help diffuse the customer’s angst around their issue which often led to a more positive outcome.
– Debbie, Sooke, Canada
Due to some events in my life over the last two years I have experienced fear and stress at a level I had never imagined. Taoist Tai Chi® practice has given me the gift of finding and re-finding balance, focus and relief. In the midst of fear I shut down – Taoist Tai Chi® practice lifts my spirit and opens my heart. I am very grateful.
– Gill, West Vancouver, Canada
The Taoist Tai Chi® practice of helping others has really benefited my levels of stress. Just arriving at class and putting the tea on, or moving the furniture to get the space ready, immediately makes me feel more relaxed, happier, and more connected. I am so grateful for this art.
– Felicity, Sunshine Coast, Canada
Taoist Tai Chi® practice has really changed my life. I am a lot calmer now, and don’t feel as much stress as I used to. I am more able to let go of worry and minor stresses. YAY!!!
– Mary, Vancouver, Canada
I have always found physical Taoist Tai Chi® practice valuable in helping me to calm myself, find balance and deal with ADD and anxiety. Recently, throughout a very difficult time, I have surprised myself by how calm, grounded and cheerful I have remained.
I attribute that to my Taoist Tai Chi® arts training. Being able to deal with and embrace change and uncertainty, being able to let go of worry about things I cannot control so I can focus on the things I can effect and being kind, supportive, helpful and respectful of others have become key parts of who I am, things I practice daily.
– Tom, Tsawwassen, Canada
“I am an ‘A’ type personality and the practice of Taoist Tai Chi® arts has definitely calmed me. This was noticed almost immediately by my wife and close family relatives.”
– Dave, Winnipeg, Canada
Sometimes the perceived demands of the world leave a person scattered, trying to fulfill all the roles, or constrained, feeling the pressure, or both.
In Taoist Tai Chi® practice I feel calm. It is a way to open awareness inwardly and outwardly, observe balance and cultivate strength in relaxation. The benefits are felt on a physical, mental and on an emotional level.
– Monica, Campbell River, Canada
How does Taoist Tai Chi® practice help?
Taoist Tai Chi® arts are a path of transformation that has powerful, positive consequences for our health. This form of moving meditation deeply affects the nervous system and the brain, reducing anxiety, lightening the spirit, calming and clearing the mind.
Taoist Tai Chi® arts involve a full range of motion with deep stretching and continuous turning of the spine. They exercise the whole physiology including muscular, skeletal and circulatory systems, as well as tendons, joints, connective tissue and organs. This whole body approach is profoundly relaxing and increases strength, flexibility and resilience, whatever our condition.
Be Relaxed – Be Energetic – Be Calm