Fighting Work Place Stress with Tai Chi
The obvious objective of practicing martial arts is to prepare to face a potentially dangerous situation that may involve physical aggression. In such a situation, we can find three types of reactions, Escape, Submission or Aggression. The development of the skill and capacity of the practitioner will allow him/her to choose the answer right for that situation.
However the less obvious objective is not only to deal with that relatively rare occurrence of actual physical self defense, but also how your mind reacts to everyday life experiences.
Problem: What do you do with a 2 million old brain in the 21st century?
Sounds a funny question but a lot of the problems that blight us in the 21st, Century are because of our primitive brain. That is not all of the brain, just some parts of it. We were born to survive and for the most part it is a our primitive brain that is responsible for the survival of the species. If human beings were not basically negative thinkers our ancestors would have been wiped out eons ago. When survival is a day to day experience being a bit pessimistic means you survive to see the next day!!
Where are the Sabre Toothed Tigers?!
But what about in the 21st, Century, there are no sabre tooth Tigers waiting for you to become their meal? Yet stress and anxiety are probably the greatest problem for the 21st Century. The human race is still programmed with those negative genes meant to keep the species alive without the overwhelming need for it anymore, well at least not to the extent it is playing in everyone’s lives.
The Overwhelming Power of the Amygdala
The Overwhelming Power of the Amygdala, that part of the primitive brain meant to keep us alive has way too much power in our lives today.
The Amygdala is the flight or flight response responsible for stress and anxiety, when it is firing you don’t think clearly. The problem is that we are so used to being stressed it feels normal. One of y spiritual teachers told me the reason that we make mistakes in life is because we make decisions on tool little information. That is true but I would also add because we are simply not thinking clearly even when we have all of the data, we need to make wise choices.
In the Work Place.
In the professional world, when a person feels threatened by a situation the answer they give to this stimulus depends on the perception they have of this situation and their ability to respond to it. Among the martial arts, there is one that is particularly suitable for working on stress management: Tai Chi Chuan.
Its most visible feature is the slowness of the gestures that makes it seem like a form of moving meditation; made of calmness, gentleness, and concentration. The combat strategy in Tai Chi is not about going force to force as in many disciplines. It is in fact totally different as it favors dodging and flexibility to control the opponent.
Adapt to Stressful Work Situations with Tai Chi
It focuses on the fluidity of movement and the mind in order to be able to adapt permanently to the situations encountered. At the same time, it works on balance in movement, the link between the body, and the mind to allow development of power and stability. Let us look at some of the ways Tai Chi helps us in overcoming workplace stress.
•Self-presence – It is a question of connecting to each limb and muscular group, to one's thoughts and emotions. Connecting to what constitutes us allows us to be fully present.
•Self-control – It comes through movement control, a calm mind and breathing. Working slowly requires high standards and a perfect balance.
•The intention – It makes us decisive. A movement without intention is meaningless. Intention guides practice.
•Attention – It is presence in oneself, in action that helps us to develop vigilance and concentration.
•Intuition – Tai Chi helps in sharpening your senses to allow for the development of feelings of confidence and instantaneous action.
Tai Chi helps you in mastering these things and makes you almost invulnerable to the stress that your work life throws at you.