A Recipe for Health with 5 Powerful Ingredients
By Dr. Paul Lam, author of Born Strong
Narrowly surviving the Great Famine in China as a boy and overworking my malnourished young body left me with the legacy of arthritis, which I developed as a teenager. Today, decades later, while many people with my history would suffer with limited mobility, I become physically and emotionally stronger and more flexible with each passing year.
I’ve made it my life’s work to share my elixir with as many people as possible. Here is my recipe for health that has helped countless patients, friends, students, and tai chi colleagues live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Though it’s human nature to highlight the negative, try to keep your eye on the bright side. Focusing on difficulties may help you work harder during disasters, but in normal times negativity can adversely affect your health, thinking, and relationships. By looking for the best qualities in people, you enhance your relationships with them. Everyone likes to be recognized, which bolsters their confidence, resulting in more positive attitudes that lead to more win-win situations.
Whenever I feel down, I remind myself to “song” my joints—a tai chi state of gently loosening the joints, thus strengthening the body, inducing serenity, and reminding me to stand tall. I may not feel great, but that simple change in posture tricks my mind into feeling less stressed and thinking more “upright.”
I realized in my twenties that I needed to take responsibility for my own health. With crippling arthritis, I could have relied entirely on drugs to keep me relatively pain free. It took dedication to achieve major improvement through tai chi, but on the way I learned that keeping physically and mentally balanced in life is the best way to cope with arthritis, as well as most matters.
Take responsibility for your actions. Whenever something goes wrong, make an effort not to blame the circumstances and other people—not even the weather. Blaming anything or anyone, including yourself, when something goes wrong fails to help you reach a better place. Blame might soothe your insecurity for a little while, but it wastes time and prevents healing. Analyze a situation rationally and look at what was done and what can be improved. Your best line of defense is developing inner strength, which reduces insecurity.
Move it or lose it. Thanks to tai chi, I’m now fitter, more flexible, and stronger than many people half my age. Find excuses to be active throughout your day. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, ride a bike, and practice tai chi.
Fully immerse yourself in all that you do—from tai chi practice to working in your office to enjoying an excellent meal with friends. By engaging with activities, goals, and relationships, you’ll feel like you’re truly living your life. If you’re just doing something to kill time, you’re wasting life’s most precious gift and not fully living. You’ll gain excitement and happiness by engaging with others.
Studies show that interacting with people increases your immunity. I have friends all over the globe and take an interest in their culture, views, and personal stories. I strive to make my relationships with others as positive as possible and believe that the tai chi community has a role to play in the health and well-being of our global community and the planet.
A Good Way to Cook It Up
Once you make a decision to take control of your health, you’ll feel better immediately. As you proceed with implementing your decision, every step makes you feel more in control and confident. When you overcome the inertia and persist with regular use of these five ingredients, you’ll feel even better. Feeling good about you is the key to mental health.
Medical advances on health correlate well with the ancient art of tai chi. Tai Chi for Health is an effective tool to enhance these five ingredients and combine them in a balanced and harmonious way—like a good chef masterfully mixing ingredients.
Practicing Tai Chi for Health offers you infinite benefits. So have a go!
Dr. Paul Lam is a world-renowned tai chi master and instructor, whose Tai Chi for Health programs are used by millions throughout the globe. He lives in Sydney, Australia, where he worked as a family physician for 39 years. Dr. Lam is the creator of many instructional DVDs and the author of numerous scientific papers and books, including Overcoming Arthritis and Teaching Tai Chi Effectively. Find out more at http://taichiforhealthinstitute.org/bornstrong/.