It's the last day of National Stress Awareness Week so I thought I would finish a monster post I had been working on for a while this morning. I'm looking forward to getting back to more creative writing over the weekend and less stress-related posts 🙂
Harmonious living is a matter of making peace with yourself, others, and the world around you. It’s about balancing mind, body and spirit. You can use techniques to achieve balance, but the understanding of harmony comes from within.
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought
and word and deed. Always aim at purifying
your thoughts and everything will be well.”
- Mohandas Gandhi
This post will guide you to greater harmony with action tips you can use every day to enhance your life and enjoy it to its fullest.
A Question of Attitude
It helps to realize that harmony already exists in your life. Mindfulness and meditation can allow you to be present with everything that arises and can change your attitude to one of appreciation.
The circumstances you find yourself in, whether trying or smooth, are perfect teachers. Rather than perceiving a trying situation as a “problem,” see it as an opportunity for spiritual growth and self development. This attitude is the basis for creating a harmonious life. I personally believe there are no mistakes, only lessons, from which we learn and grow as human beings and become more resilient to life's many challenges.
“We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make our world.”
- The Buddha
Finding Mental and Physical Balance Through Tai Chi Chuan
It’s easier to lead a harmonious life when you’re calmer, can sleep better, have a sharper memory, and suffer fewer health issues. This is the promise of Tai Chi Chuan.
Originating in China about 2000 years ago, Tai Chi is a gentle form of self defense or martial art.
With its roots in Taoism, Tai Chi helps you flow with the universe instead of fighting the wave with anxiety, fear and calculation.
The exercises are based on the interplay of yin and yang: negative and positive. This dualistic interplay creates everything we see in the universe. Everything has its opposite. Yin can’t exist without yang and vice versa. Learning how to manipulate these energies helps create a holistic sense of balance.
Tai Chi Chuan means “The Grand Ultimate Fist.” This “fist” is universal energy or “chi” which surrounds us and is within us. Movement balances with stillness in this Tai Chi, creating equilibrium.
A good Tai Chi master will tell you the three secrets of mastering Tai Chi Chuan:
The exercise is like a gentle ballet sequence. The inspiration for the movements comes from Nature. So you will hear names like “Wave Hands Like Clouds” and “Crane Spreads Wings.”
Benefits of Tai Chi
Tai Chi stimulates the flow of energy in the body and dissolves tension and blockages, including the blockage caused by anger and frustration.
Tai Chi has also been shown to keep dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay and delay the process of aging. According to Catherine Kerr, a Harvard Medical School (HMS) instructor who has practiced Tai Chi for 15 years:
“Brain plasticity arising from repeated training may be relevant, since we know that brain connections are ‘sculpted’ by daily experience and practice.
Tai chi is a very interesting form of training because it combines a low-intensity aerobic exercise with a complex, learned, motor sequence.
Meditation, motor learning, and attentional focus have all been shown in numerous studies to be associated with training-related changes – including, in some cases, changes in actual brain structure – in specific cortical regions.”
Tai Chi is so beneficial that whether you’re weak or strong, old or young, you can do it.
What’s more, it doesn’t involve any sort of equipment or special clothing – except that you wear loose clothes. You can practice Tai Chi anywhere. The best place is in a park or in a beautiful landscape, but you can also do it in a well ventilated room.
Check with your doctor first if you have any problems with your joints, spine or heart.
Other benefits of Tai Chi Chuan include:
Stronger health and immunity
Better blood circulation
Release from mental stress and bodily tension
Bone health and freedom from diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and more
Greater flexibility and balance
Better muscle tone
How Can You Learn Tai Chi?
To start using Tai Chi to enhance your well-being, seek out some classes that take place near you. Your local school district, college, gym, or even senior citizen association may offer Tai Chi classes on a regular or continuing basis.
Alternatively, look online on YouTube, at your library for DVDs that can guide you through basic or advanced Tai Chi sessions.
*Since I started this post, way back in May, I have found even more benefit, personally in Qi Gong. There are many similarities but after 2 weeks solid training in Chiang Mai last summer, it changed my life. I recommend the 8 Brocades Qigong practice as a very good regular practice, and this is an excellent video below showing the movements. Try it every morning and it will change your life and give you more clarity and focused energy through the day. It's a fantastic blend of meditation and movement, try to do it barefoot in nature if at all possible, with a connection to the earth.
“It has long been my dream that one day Americans
of all ages, creeds and colors will be practicing
Tai Chi Chuan in the beautiful parks of this country
as they do in China. Few places in the world offer
lovely open spaces which can and should be
used productively. The result would be tremendous
improvement in mental and physical well-being.”
– Jou, Tsung Hwa
Transform Yourself with Emotional Freedom Technique
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is catching on like wildfire as more and more “tappers” discover its miraculous benefits.
With this amazing technique, people all over the world are getting rid of phobias, chronic pain and disease, and dissolving childhood trauma.
How Does EFT Work?
EFT is based on the ancient healing system of Chinese acupuncture, but doesn’t use needles. Instead, you tap on various energy meridians while repeating affirmations about your mental and physical concerns.
The technique was first used as a tool for psychotherapy sessions. For mental issues, therapy time was dramatically reduced to hours or minutes instead of months and years. In the process, it was discovered that EFT healed physical ailments too, such as headaches and vision problems. Symptoms of cancer subsided as well.
Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, points out that all negative emotions are caused by energy blocks in the human body. Then, these negative emotions are trapped inside you and can cause both mental and physical ailments.
Tapping on the energy meridians dissolves the blocks and releases these negative emotions. As a result, seemingly miraculous healing can occur within you.
You can use the Emotional Freedom Technique every day. Short, 5 minute sessions can reduce daily stress and help you heal. Practice EFT at work, home, or even on a nature walk to allow the serene setting to add its own peace to your heart and soul.
Whenever you have aches and pains or feel stressed, do some EFT. It’s easy, quick, painless, and effective. Your mind and body will thank you for it!
You can learn further details and EFT techniques directly from the founder, Gary Craig, for free at his EFT training website. This is the website address for the official instruction manual:
You Tube also has lots of videos with EFT practitioners showing you various techniques.
It’s amazing how something as simple as the Emotional Freedom Technique can bring you greater health, harmony, and peace. In 5 minutes a day, you can transform your life!
The Importance of a Spiritual Path
A spiritual practice will help you create harmony in your life and the lives of others. Research all over the world vouches for the power of prayer and its ability to transform lives for the better. I personally follow the path of Shamanism, which pre-dates all religion and gives direction connection and guidance to the divine, the universe, spirit, God, whatever you want to label it - I personally don't label it, I just have faith and trust in what flows through me..
A spiritual path will help you perceive life in a positive way. It will enable you to minimize conflict with others and develop your compassion. When you focus on your spiritual life, everything else falls into place.
Try these ideas to help you strengthen your spirituality:
Scientists say that spiritual practice is excellent for relieving stress and slowing down the aging process.
A study reported at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Florida in 2005, showed that spirituality is a powerful antidepressant and can help cure illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, and slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Franklin Loehr, a Presbyterian minister and scientist, has consistently found that prayer affects the rate of germination of seeds. The brilliant photographs taken by the Japanese Professor Masaru Emoto show that prayer and positive affirmations transforms an ordinary water molecule into a work of art.
“Just as the body cannot exist without blood,
so the soul needs the matchless and pure strength of faith.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
The Power of Gratitude
Professor Emoto, in studying the water molecules, also proved that thoughts, music, ideas and words affect them as well. So if you wish to lead a harmonious life, remember to be grateful for every glass of water or beverage you drink and think happy thoughts as you drink it. Remember that a significant percentage of the human body is water!
If you find yourself feeling down, count your blessings. There is immense power in gratitude. When you’re thankful for the things you have and enjoy (yes, even the small things), you attract more things to be thankful for!
“Like attracts like” is a universal law. When you focus on something, you get more of it.
And it’s not just the “nice” things you can be grateful for. It’s also the yelling you got from your boss or partner. Chances are that you’ll find some truth in the words you heard.
So, rough times can be blessings in disguise. It depends on your perception. Such instances can be opportunities for self development. If someone cannot harmonize with you, it’s because you can’t either. It takes two hands to clap.
Each morning before you get out of bed, think of the things for which you are grateful. Or you can do this before you sleep.
Some things for which you can be grateful:
The air you breathe
The earth on which you stand
The legs you walk with
The hands with which you do so much
The birds in the sky
A chance to start over with a new dawn each day
Remember that behind every grain of rice you eat, there’s someone who grows and nurtures it. Someone makes the clothes you wear. None of us lives alone. We depend on others all the time. Show others your appreciation whenever you can and enjoy the appreciation of others for your contributions.
Feeling gratitude brings more joy into your life. It helps you see how all things are connected and increases your harmony with the world you live in.
“When we were children we were grateful
to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time.
Why are we not grateful to the Universe for filling
our stockings with legs?”
– G.K. Chesterton
Give Yourself and Others Space
No man is an island, but all of us need some time alone. Only when we're alone can we see the circumstances and people that surround us in an objective way. When you pray, you need solitude. When you reflect on your actions (necessary for self development), you need solitude. The importance of a Lazy Day, a day without plans or distractions or meetings, cannot be underestimated - it will create more space, freedom and joy in your life.
It’s important to remember to set aside some alone time for yourself each day. Set up a time and place where you’re unlikely to be disturbed. Having time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit enables you to be at your best – for yourself and others whom you care for.
Just as important: give others the same space you need. Avoid clinging to them. Give them space to grow. When you give others space, they can do the same for you.
Inside myself is a place where I live all alone,
and that's where I renew my springs that never dry up.
– Pearl Buck
I've written before how we cannot manage time, only manage our energy and a lot of that comes from getting 4 key areas balanced in our life.
Working hard and longer hours, is often seen as a badge of honour, fact is that it is sapping energy from us that could be directed in other areas and can lead to stress, insomnia, anxiety and depression.
Similarly, I believe a number of students really suffer with stress because they are simply studying FAR too much and this again can lead to the problems above.
Rest does not include sleep, it's meditation, long baths, reading, listening to music or being creative with writing, art etc.
Play is so important, just being a child again and feeling that sense of joy and freedom doing something that requires no thought.
When you get these 4 areas in balance then life begins to flow with much more grace and ease and problems tend to just float away.
“The electric energy which motivates us
is not within our bodies at all. It is a part of the
universal supply which flows through us from
the Universal Source with an intensity set by
our desires and our will.”
– Walter Russell
When you bring your mind, body, and soul together in harmony, the result for you is beautiful music. Life will bring you joys that you never imagined. You’ll also discover that your relationships have a new depth to them and you’ll feel at peace with yourself and the world around you.
Use these tips to relieve your stress, strengthen your health, and enjoy the rich, harmonious life that you so deserve.
If you need help and support to bring your life into more balance then book a FREE 30-minute Lifestyle consultation.
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