Dr Tal Ben-Shahar – Harvard Open Courses 1504 – Positive Psychology 17

In this session, Tal talked a lot about the importance of exercises in relation to the topic of Mind-Body.

The barriers to exercises are below. Exercise itself and the recognition of the importance of exercises will help us overcome the barriers.

  • Starting to do it is not easy as we felt the ache and challenge to our body.
  • Lack of time. Actually it’s an investment. It does not rely on self-discipline, but it’s a ritual we should have.
  • Our subconscious about exercises.

When Tal talked about exercise implements in schools, I thought through how I grew up. I don’t know if China has foreseen the importance of physical exercises or not, but some well-being concepts (e.g., cooking healthy food, having 100 steps strolling after dinner) have embedded in the Chinese culture for hundreds and thousands years. Actually, the sports class is a part of the education in China from nursery to university. It’s a compulsory course and we needed to pass the exam to get the credit of the course as a part of the study grade. However, truly and sadly I can see nowadays more and more young students have become less and less doing physical exercises because they have electronic toys, video games, iPod, TV and social media to entertain indoors.

I laughed when Tal talking about his experience of enlightened and his meditation class. I can see that I am not able to do a long meditation at all. My mind wanders a lot most of time. 30 minutes per day is fairly a lot for me. This is the 4th time I listened to the course. I remember that I skipped the sitting meditation practice in the first two times; last time I was doing something else over the time when Tal was practicing it with his students in the session; and this time I could really follow and was willing to try. It did bring calmness to me in a few minutes.

Meditation is to focus on one thing; its foundation is deep breathing, and it’s no bad or good meditation. It’s about being here and now.

The foundation of happiness revolution has to come with an exercise revolution.

Mindfulness simply changes us from doing to being.

Tal recommended “deep breathing”, which is important to everyone and can be practiced easily. Tal noted it again, this class is to help us chip away the excess stone so that we can go back our natural wisdom, our natural healer.

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