I must say I found American politics riveting ever since I was kid. Especially when election time rolls around. It’s certainly a lot of more interesting than the politics north of the border. This year’s election pitting Hillary Clinton and the smack talking billionaire Donald Trump has been one of the most controversial in years. It’s not lacking when it comes to drama. So many things have been happening south of the border with tensions rising between the black community and police brutality. Now we have Mr. Trump continuing to fan the flames further dividing the American public. It’s no wonder why stress levels are increasing as the election looms near.
Just today I saw in Time magazine in big bold headlines, “Nearly Half of American Voters Are Stressing About the 2016 Election: Poll.” That’s a whole lot of Americans! I feel for my brothers and sisters south of the border. As if they don’t have enough stress at their daily jobs. A survey conducted in 2013 found that more than eight of ten employed Americans are stressed out by one thing in their job.
Adding the election stress to your daily stress can push many past their tolerance point. It is therefore important to deal with the stress before it become detrimental to one’s health. Scientists now know chronic stress can lead to illnesses such as obesity, heart failure, diabetes, or stroke. It can also exasperate existing conditions such as eczema, arthritis, or fibromyalgia.
Today I would like to share with my friends south of the border a few traditional Chinese ways on how you can quickly relieve stress:
1. Self-acupressure message
In China, they refer to this technique as Tuina while in Japan they practice shiatsu. These styles are based on traditional Chinese medicine. Here they stimulate the clearing of stagnant energy by pressing on the meridian points (pressure points) along the body. Think of it as acupuncture without the needles. One can use their thumbs or fingers to apply gentle pressure to certain points along the body to relive a host of ailments.
One of my favorite techniques is called the cat’s paw or claw. Just take your hand and make it into the shape of a claw. Grab the back of your neck and gently squeeze for a second. Alternate between right hand and left hand making sure you don’t dig your finger nails into your skin. Go up and down the back of your neck.
This ancient Chinese exercise therapy has been practiced for over 4000 years to cultivate vitality and energy. It’s the father of Tai Chi and is easy to learn for beginners. If you don’t enjoy the stillness of meditation, qigong might be the ideal solution for you. Many people refer to qigong as moving meditation. Not only is it great for stress relief but also for managing pain as well. It’s a great form of low impact exercise which can be done standing or sitting.
Tapping is a warm up exercise to get the energy moving to areas within the body. Many perform this routine before doing qigong or tai chi. It involves gently but firmly slapping meridian or energy points along the body to stimulate the flow of chi (bioelectricity). I learned tapping when I saw some elders practicing tai chi at a local park one day along my walk many years ago. Not only does it get my energy level going but it was a fantastic tension reliever.
A basic tapping technique for stress is to stand shoulder width apart. Using your waist, you will swing your left hand upward to hit your right shoulder then swing back the opposite direction with your right hand to hit your left shoulder. Do these 12 times to increase the circulation and release the tension from your shoulders.
Give these exercises a try and let know what you think? On a positive note, the election is only two weeks away. Take care until then my American friends!