In the west, we live busy lives. The constant demands of daily life can sometimes put us into a reactive state, as we seek to harmonize our internal and external worlds. While it’s important to address what’s going on around us, we have a responsibility to ourselves to take care of our own peace and emotional health.
In our last blog post, we discussed some of the effects that stress and anxiety can have, and how Qi Gong can be a powerful tool for overcoming these challenges. Today, we’ll go deeper and discover how Qi Gong can help us not just feel better, but also show up more fully and authentically in our everyday life.
Stress, Anxiety, and Intuition
We’ve already explored how stress and anxiety manifests in the heart and mind, but how does this inform our experience of the world? Humans are sensitive creatures, and our internal energies play a huge role in how we show up in the world. While feeling stress and anxiety may be unpleasant, it can also inhibit your ability to tap into your fullest potential.
In the United States, corporate culture has a tendency to idolize the Yang qualities of hard work and vigorous activity. We all have an image in our mind of the hustling businessperson who works long hours and navigates tense situations. While many of us can perform under stress, none of us are able to put forth our best self when we’re anxious. The stressed-out businessperson is also on a fast track to emotional burnout and mental fatigue.
When our minds and hearts are inhibited by stress, many of the subtler human strengths are unable to flourish. When our mind is full of worry or anxiety, we’re unable to receive insights or intuition. Repeating thoughts and a cluttered internal state prevent us from picking up on the more sensitive nuances of what is happening around us. In Qi Gong, we view this as a lack of connection to the Dao and separation from the flow of the universe.
This manifests on a deep, spiritual level, but can be noticed simply by observing your relationships. The loss of intuition and sensitivity to the world around us leads to disharmony between ourselves and others. How often have you gotten into an argument with a loved one because you’ve checked out from the present moment of the relationship?
Similarly, stress can inhibit our intuition when it comes to making decisions. Whether we know it or not, much of our decision making wisdom comes from feeling the situation, not just analytical thinking. Ironically, important decisions are a common cause of stress and anxiety, so we need to be very mindful of how we respond to the questions of the world.
Stress and Emotional Strength
Stress and anxiety can also prevent us from showing up as our strongest self emotionally. While someone may appear strong, serious, and firm in a tense situation, oftentimes this is a cover for pain or suffering. Stress can cause our heart center to become imbalanced, leading to reactive feelings and actions.
Similar to stress and anxiety in the mind, when our heart experiences these emotions we can become disconnected from our true feeling. Instead of viewing a situation with empathy, compassion, and clarity, our hearts become tense and clouded. Feelings that don’t reflect our truest and most grounded self can manifest, causing pain or suffering for ourselves and others.
When we’re able to let go of stress and anxiety and calm the heart and mind, we can let our truest gifts flow throughout us. Emotional balance is the source of true internal strength. Learning how to transform stress into vitality is an essential part of flourishing and being happy.
The beautiful thing is that we can choose how we respond to stress and anxiety. Instead of staying on the rat wheel and digging deeper into the pattern of anxiety, you can make the decision to choose a new way relating to stress. Within each of us lies the tools to work with our internal energies, and nothing feels better than transforming pain into joy.
Lee’s Qi Gong for Stress and Anxiety Workshop is coming up on Sunday, September 16th from 1-4:30pm PT. During the workshop, Lee will be teaching many great exercises aimed at addressing the challenges we’ve been discussing.
The workshop will teach flows to help relax the heart center to clear tightness and tension in the chest. Lee will also guide students through some wonderful breathing exercises to help us bring our hearts into the present moment. Once we’re able to really drop into ourselves, we’ll work on more flowing movements to clear stagnant energy. Through this process, we can allow joy and vitality to replace that which doesn’t serve us.
This workshop is an amazing opportunity to build a skill set that can benefit you long into the future. Lee will be teaching live in Santa Cruz, California, but students can participate online if they’re unable to be there in person. As always, the workshop will be recorded, so participants can rewatch the material as often as they would like. This workshop is suitable for all students and is a great way to deepen your practice or just enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
Our internal worlds are ours to cultivate, so empower yourself with the wisdom to grow and flourish. Click the button on the banner below to learn more or to sign up.
By Ian Drogin