It’s a known fact that daily exercise can positively impact our mental health. Any form of exercise releases endorphins and stimulates chemicals that enhance our mood. And we need that more during this pandemic, when everyone is feeling sad, affecting everyone’s mental health.
Today, Tai Chi gets practices for physical fitness and mental wellbeing benefits. It’s gaining prominence as it helps us to maintain mobility and muscle strength. It’s also becoming a vital exercise form for people who suffer from arthritis and pain.
There are several ways in which Tai Chi can boost mental health during the pandemic according to John Giorgi. They are:
- Slow pace
We need to slow things down while practicing “Tai Chi,” which compels us to move away from the speedy mental chaos prevalent because of the pandemic. When you move slowly, the body starts to relax, frees stiffness, releases tension and stress. When the body unwinds, the mind does the same too.
A peaceful and quiet ambiance surrounds our mind and body that enables us to switch off. Tai Chi can help us to press our inner reset button. And this conscious “time out” is essential for boosting our mental health, and it provides us the scope to heal.
- The controlled movement
The movements in Tai Chi are coordinated, measures, and controlled. Hence, there is a need for self-discipline says John Giorgi. It’s essential to be aware of the body and where and how it’s moving. It helps to make a person feel more organized and brings about mental calm. Currently, the pandemic outbreak is making people think that life is not in our control, resulting in anxiety, worry, and stress. It affects mental health negatively. Tai Chi can help us to feel positive and in control of our lives.
- Intention and focus
In Tai Chi, you learn to move with intention and focus. There is no “thrown away” movement. It’s deliberate, and you can feel the movements externally and internally. Tai-Chi’s real power, which is a mind-body exercise, helps in resulting in mental harmony. It helps to clear the mind of the chaos and focus on the present moment.
- Relaxation and breathing
John Giorgi opines that the connection between breathing, body, and mind is what helps people practicing Tai Chi, to relax better, which is essential for stable mental health. The slower, deeper breathing patterns can expand the chest and lungs, maximize the oxygen exchange, slow down heart rate, stimulate the lymphatic system, calms the adrenal, and lowers blood pressure. It helps a person to become conscious of the breath and the rhythm. It helps us to inhale positive thoughts and exhale negative thoughts and enhance the mood.
During moments of stress and anxiety, the body holds onto stress in the tense, tight muscle, resulting in both mental and physical fatigue. Tai Chi helps the muscles and joints to relax, become stress and tension-free. Hence, it’s one of the best relaxation techniques that one can practice. When the body relaxes, the mind also relaxes.
The pandemic phase can make people feel overwhelmed and stressed. Tai Chi can help to bring the body and mind to balance and boost mental health.