Most illness is caused by stress, making most absenteeism due to stress. In fact, aging is accelerated by stress. Studies show that change is stressful, even "good" change. So as we computer jockeys settle into the saddle of a new age of rapidly changing information, we need an edge that can help us stay healthy, sane, and vibrant, even as we are often at the very center of modern changes hurricane keeping up with new hardware and software.

Ironically an ancient mind/body tools provides the perfect balm for our generation's modern problems -- it is called "Tai Chi" (pronounced tie-chee). T'ai Chi' is a gentle series of relaxing motions that cleanses the body's tissue of accumulated stress and, by doing so, boosts all aspects of our health systems. What makes it the perfect business balm is that it doesn't require special facilities or clothing, and doesn't even make you break a sweat, meaning you can do it in office attire in an empty boardroom just by kicking off your heels. Yet, it provides the same euphoria of a long run, the cardiovascular benefit of moderate impact aerobics, and burns nearly as many calories as downhill skiing.

Our time is filled with paradox. A problem in this modern age stems from the great promise of the information age -- a tidal wave of data being created by and offered to our "left brain"; that part of our minds that is analytical, calculating, and categorizing the world. Of course, this is a powerful and important part of who we are. This is the part of the mind that gets things done, pays the rent, builds the houses, and makes the cars. Our "right brain," however, is getting left behind in our rapidly changing techno-world, and this imbalance of thought processes is at the heart of modern stress.

Our right brain is the feeling, smelling, sensing, enjoying part of the mind. This is the part of the mind that smells the flowers, not to analyze the smell, but to be filled with its beauty -- and this is the part that has been left behind in the digital world. When we go to the cyber mall, for example, our right brain doesn't get to play. The cyber mall is a wonderful thing that saves us time, money, and gas for our cars (and thereby saves the environment), but there are no Auntie Anne's Pretzels to smell in cyberspace, or warm sunlight streaming in through the big skylights.

So what do we do? We get the best of both worlds. T'ai Chi is a series of exercises to balance the mind. T'ai Chi teaches us to experience life for sheer pleasure, thereby creating balance in our busy "get things done yesterday" world. If you learn T'ai Chi and practice in the morning before you sit down at your computer, your right brain (the sensing and enjoying brain) will be turned on more. You will feel the texture of your computer keys. You will remember to take the time to get a nice cup of green tea or herbal cinnamon spice tea, and you'll interrupt your staccato keyboard occasionally to smell the tea's rich aroma, feel the warmth in your hands, and breathe the breath of life deeply into your lungs.

Although you are at the cutting edge of the information age revolution, you are also in the garden of life. This will give you an edge in the long run. Why? Because chronic stress diminishes our cognitive skills and therefore, our creativity.

Einstein said, "Creativity is more important than knowledge." Even if we have the world's knowledge at our fingertips, if we are too stressed out to use the knowledge "creatively, we are much less effective. Plus, we're not as much fun!

The bottom line is T'ai Chi is a set of exercises to practice enjoying life. It's not enough just to say, "I'm going to enjoy life more." We actually have to practice mind/body tools that can affect our brains' integrative and brain wave activity, as T'ai Chi is proven to do.

T'ai Chi is extremely sophisticated mind/body sciences that have evolved over millennia, and which are being made available after centuries of being closely guarded secrets in China. Even though the practices are ancient, they are in many ways just as cutting edge as the multi-gigabyte computer.

Don't just be "cutting edge" with your left brain. Go all the way and stretch the envelope with your right brain, too, by weaving T'ai Chi into your life. You will be forever glad you did.

Author's Bio: 

Bill Douglas is the founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, www.worldtaichiday.org, and best selling author of the The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong (Penguin Putnam), and Presenter in the acclaimed video series Anthology of T'ai Chi & Qigong: The Prescription for the Future. Bill has been a Tai Chi source for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Reader's Digest, and he is the Tai Chi Expert at DrWeil.com. You can reach Bill at www.worldtaichiday.org.