Why The Modern World Is Bad For Your Brain And What Shaolin Monks Do About It

yellow mt3-00085 Most of us love our smart phones. I use mine all the time to keep in touch with my family in China. But the constant multi-tasking of texting, emailing, social media and apps is over stimulating our brain and increasing the production of the stress hormone cortisol according to Neuroscientist, Daniel J Levitin, who has written a new book about his findings. So does this mean we have to throw away our smart phones? At The Shaolin Temple we tread the middle way, using Zen techniques to keep us tranquil and focused while still being a part of the modern world. Here I share with you seven Shaolin tips to help you stay calm in a crazy world IMG_0815

  1. Take Small Regular Vacations  Turn your mobile phone to aeroplane mode or switch it off completely two hours before you go to sleep. The same goes for when you workout, meditate, and eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These small, regular vacations from your smart phone will restore your inner peace.
  1. Drink A Cup Of Tea  Instead of drinking your plans, thoughts, and worries, drink a cup of tea. You will find it far more refreshing. Concentrating completely on this one action helps you come back to yourself. Being Here Now is a great way to banish stress and anxiety
  1. Workout Zen Style   Everybody needs to workout. Not only does it make us feel better but it’s good for our brain. If you’re not a martial artist then find a workout you love and make it your meditation. How do you turn your workout into a meditation? By simply concentrating on your breath and movement together and letting go of everything else. Modern research is showing that meditation leads to a more focused, tranquil and happier way of being. And who doesn’t want that?
  1. Make Everything You Do Your Last  In martial art’s there is only the present. Live now. Take care of now and you take care of your future. Give yourself completely to everything you do. Leave no energy left in reserve. Only then can you take in fresh energyShaolin Temple
  1. Balance Yin & Yang  Health and fitness are like two wings of a bird, you need both Kung Fu (or anaerobic/ aerobic exercise) and Qigong (or an internal practice such as yoga). Exercise can prevent many illnesses from developing but we also need a restorative mindful practice to ground us and give us inner peace. I use my Qi to defend myself from kicks or bricks, you can use your Qi to defend yourself against ageing and ill health
  1. Ring The Bell Of Now  Thich Nhat Hanh, the great Buddhist Zen Master advises that every time we hear a bell – whether that’s a ringing phone or a church bell – we stop and breathe for three breaths. Try it and track your impatience.
  1. Little Reminders  A peaceful brain is a happy brain. Practice small steps of nourishment each day: one cup f tea, ten minutes of switch off, a fully engaged workout, 5 minutes of Qigong. These small moments will re-centre you and lead you to the health and happiness that is your natural birthright.

Shifu Yan Lei is a 34th generation fighting disciple from The Shaolin Temple of Zen. He teaches a graded path of Shaolin Qigong and Kung Fu. He is teaching a Shaolin Summer Camp close to the Shaolin Temple in China.

13 thoughts on “Why The Modern World Is Bad For Your Brain And What Shaolin Monks Do About It

  1. There is an exercise i practise every day. It is similar to 6.Ring The Bell Of Now. In my case i said that every six hours(00.00/06.00/12.00/00.00) i will stop everything no matter what i do or where i am and i ´´come to myself´´ for a few seconds. with practise you dont need to watch a time… you know when its time to stop….but you can have problém if you sleep too much as i do..i do 3 not4 timez a day commonly. Thank you Shifu for your sharing. Today i ordered some new stuff from your blog. I will practise with bamboo brush =)


  2. People need to live more in the moment. Too many people I know, will not be without their cellphone for even a few minutes. Panic sets in as soon as it is perceived to be misplaced. Sadly, I do feel tied to my cellphone BUT, I realize I am not fully living in the moment when my cellphone can completely remove me at any moment. People (including me) need to take vacations from the cellphone. Start small with little things like leaving the cellphone in the locker while working out or not taking the cellphone to meetings. Baby steps.


  3. Reblogged this on eloquentzen and commented:
    Decided to take a month off from “social media,” to re-balance my priorities.
    Does this mean I’m throwing my smartphone out the window? No.
    But I did delete a few apps, and deactivated a few accounts.


  4. I have been training from your book(mainly) and DVD’s since 2009? But have practiced many forms of Qi Gong for years. I found the Shaolin way more disciplined and positive. I also use the Bamboo brush which is an amazing tool, feel invigorated after its use. A E Taylor.


  5. Fantastic ideas all around! Just listened to reflections on some similar topics in the Art of Charm podcast where Daniel Levitin was invited: bit.ly/AoCDanielLevitin


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