A Qigong client of mine wrote in with the following question:
“I have a very stressful life. At the start of the week I have a 6 hour commute to work and at the end I have a 6 hour commute back. I’ve been doing this since the start of the year. And I’m also involved with opening up a branch office for a major financial services company.
Qigong has helped me immensely with this pressure, but it’s constantly growing. Can I practice Qigong more often or just deeper?
I find it almost impossible to keep my work and my ‘to do list’ out of my practice.
I’m struggling a bit and I don’t like it. Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated.”
Here was my reply, which I think you’ll find beneficial, all page numbers reference material from my book Smiling From The Heart:
A couple of thoughts come to mind for your situation.
1) You don’t want to be practicing Qigong more than twice a day. But… you can practice skills like:
- Emperor Walks Heart Opens (p.31)
- Smiling From The Heart (p.46)
- Ultimate Mind Calmer (p.36)
As often as you like.
You can also practice Entering a QSoM (p.45), but just make sure where you’re doing it is safe. I.e. a quiet, peaceful place where you’re unlikely to be disturbed.
2) Turn to page 105 and re-read the section on stress. When you become aware that your stress levels are building up to a 5 or sliding into a 6 or 7 – you MUST do something to bring the levels back down to a healthier 3, 4 or 5. E.g.
- Go for a walk
- Sing a song
- Hum a tune
- Take a break
- Have a 5 minute breathing session.
Whatever works for you.
3) How do you do your 6 hour commute? If you drive, get some CD’s to listen to. For example when I go on a drive of more than an hour I make sure I’ve got a pile of podcasts, spoken word books, or learning material loaded up on my Mp3 player.
Then when I’m driving I’m actually learning or being entertained at the same time.
I also make sure to open the window regularly to let some fresh air circulate in the cockpit.
4) Remember you’re doing your best under difficult circumstances. Be gentle and compassionate to yourself, refer to the box on page 131 to recap why this is so important.
5) If your mind keeps wondering back to your job during practice simply keep your focus on what you’re doing e.g.:
Now I’m lowering my arms whilst breathing out through my mouth…
Breathing in through my nose I say the word ‘In’ to myself…
And so on.
Your mind can only focus fully on one thing at a time. Hence the saying:
“Use the one thought to overcome the 10,000 thoughts”.
Regular exposure to stressful situations like Brent’s lock you into ‘fight or flight‘ mode. Whilst this mode is great for survival, it’s not a good place to live.
And unfortunately too many of us do.
The 29 Qigong and non Qigong tools in my book Smiling From The Heart are powerful ways to transport yourself out of the toxic ‘fight or flight‘ mode and into a much healthier ‘rest and build‘ mode.
Personally, I don’t believe you can ever get rid of stress. I believe stress is a part of life. But instead of stress being in charge of you, you can learn how to be in charge of your stress.
Let me show you how:
The good news is it’s not that hard when you know what to do.
Enjoy your practice.