Brain health

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Can't be bothered?

This is perhaps the laziest era in recorded history. People are not wanting a challenge. They lack interest, passion, patience and enthusiasm.
Rather than work, people just want to be entertained. Like spoiled children...


Apathy, indolence, laziness, listlessness and indifference can all be signs of fatigue and depression. These are not healthy. Treat your brain with care and respect.


Just as muscular tension prevents relaxed, free movement of the joints, psychological clutter impedes the mind. It is necessary for the mind to become empty and relaxed.
Instead of thinking constantly, comparing, problem solving, judging and remembering, be present, be here and now.


Make sure that you drink a lot of water throughout the day. 1.5 - 2 litres is best.


Contrary to what people believe, caffeine-laced stimulants will not improve your brain health. Avoid sugar and caffeine.


What alcohol does to your body, brain & health | Huberman Lab podcast #86


A healthy brain is capable of dealing with change. It can see things clearly. Insights flow easily and the ability to adapt spontaneously is heightened. You begin to learn from everything you see around you.
A more flexible, healthy brain gives you a major edge.

If there is any instrument you must fall in love with and fetishize, it is the human brain - the most miraculous, awe-inspiring, information-processing tool devised in the known universe, with a complexity we can't even begin to fathom, and with dimensional powers that far outstrip any piece of technology in sophistication and usefulness.

(Robert Greene) 


Once you are training tai chi, you must supplement physical training by reading the recommended books.
These titles will expand your consciousness, increase your awareness, develop a more flexible mind and make you receptive to unforeseen possibilities.
Ultimately, the time you commit to your mental development will prove to be just as valuable as the physical training.

Mind leads the body

Tai chi is understood by doing. It is a physical activity. You cannot claim to have any grasp of the art by only watching video clips or reading a book.
It is necessary to physically experience the art using your body.

Mind tension

Most people's arms are extremely tense and they don't even realise it. Why? Why are people's arms tense?
Your hand is the primary tool employed by the mind for the exploration of reality. You touch, you hold, you press, you pull, you manipulate most things using your hands.
Jacob Bronowski wrote "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind." There's your answer. A tense arm is the by-product of a mind that is not in any way relaxed and at ease.

Staying tense

There is a direct correlation between mental tension - over-thinking, anxiety, frustration, worrying, anger, stress - and physical tension in the body.
Indeed, students who are actively sharing news snippets and regurgitating political views on Facebook are inevitably the most tense in class, have the most trouble concentrating and subsequently make little or no progress through the syllabus. Their brains have been hijacked by the mass media. If you want to stop being tense, you need to switch it all off.


Initially a student gains a certain level of understanding. This is merely a starting place.
With further study and discussion, the student discovers more. They then employ the insights in their tai chi practice. The student goes deeper. You can always go deeper.


Imagine an instructor who was unfamiliar with The Tai Chi Classics? Or had never read Chuang Tzu, Tao Te Ching, The Art of War or The Book of Five Rings repeatedly over many years?
Reading these books provides a necessary background for the art. But more than that; they help the student to gain the degree of mental flexibility required to practice tai chi properly.
The classic texts cannot be quickly or easily understood. They must be read over and over again.
Unrelated authors such as Krishnamurti can further stretch the mind and assist in the process of comprehension.

We are checking our smartphones on average 221 times a day. Recent research found that 80 percent of millennials look at their phones upon waking; this addiction is a strong one. As a result, our cognitive processing has become shallower and we have become so distracted that we play directly into the hands of the autopilot. Digital devices are the modern day equivalent of tranquillisers. They instil a trance-like state almost immediately as they are anchors for our subconscious to take over. 

(Chris Barez-Brown)


Many people imagine that everything can be explained using words. A common myth suggests that the failure to convey reality via language is a failing of the teacher. This is absurd.
Try explaining what a car is... A vehicle (what is a vehicle?), a mode of transportation, a status symbol, a means of getting from one destination to another...
Does the explanation enable you to drive a car? Do you now know how to make your own car? The danger with explanations is that they invariably fall short of being useful. They are often too simplistic.

Brain training

Every activity you undertake in a given day can be enhanced and improved by exercising your mind, calming your emotions and cultivating mental resilience.
You work more productively. You drive with greater awareness and caution. You feel significantly less stressed. You see choices, possibilities and options more readily.

How is this possible?

By starting the day with a brain health regime.


These five morning activities will drastically improve your mental acuity:

  1. Constructive rest (15 minutes)

  2. Standing qigong (20 minutes)

  3. Form

  4. Reading (20 minutes)

  5. Sitting meditation (10 minutes)


Don't take our word for it. Find out for yourself.

Earthquake in Sumatra. Plane crash in Russia. Man holds daughter captive in cellar for thirty years. Heidi Klum separates from Seal. Record salaries at Bank of America. Attack in Pakistan. Resignation of Mali's president. New world record in shot-put. Do you really need to know all these things?

We are incredibly well informed yet we know incredibly little. Why? Because two centuries ago we invented a toxic form of knowledge called 'news'. News is to the mind what sugar is to the body: appetising, easy to digest - and highly destructive in the long run.

(Rolf Dobelli)

Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 06 October 2023