Taoism “Take it Easy”

Just as discussed earlier, Chinese students also used coping strategies grounded in Taoism. Taoism is an important school of philosophy in Chinese history. Strategies used by Chinese students that reflected Taoism included practicing attitudes of taking it easy and letting it happen. Taking it easy involves taking life as it comes and not fighting against what life brings. An attitude of letting it happen submits all matters of life to fate and Tao.

A finance student stated:

Just take it easy. We have bad days and good days. It is normal. I just try to be at peace with whatever life brings me. Try to change that you can change, try to accept those which you can not change, and try to tell the differences between these two. For instance, when I first got here, it was much more difficult than I had expected. Facing the new environment, new culture, academic challenges, financial difficulties, long separation from my family, as well as concerns over my visa status, I found myself experiencing a variety of stresses from a disjunction between goals and means. Okay, I told myself, this is life, this is reality. I can not change the environment, just as I can not change my foreign identity. I can not change the environment, but I can regulate my emotions and try to make everyday happy. (Participant 4)

An educational psychology student concurred:

Physically, I deal with challenges and difficulties by myself. But emotionally, I try to assume an outsider stance. By outsider, I mean that you should hold such an attitude as “work like you do not need money, love like you have never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching”. Personally, I do have bad days. During these bad days, I just encourage myself. I tell myself: just imagine life is a novel, and you are one of characters. So, please take it easy and let it happen, just as you read a pre-written novel and it is not you who controls the character’s fate. What I need to do is try my best to handle my research and life. Then, I leave the final result up to fate or God. Also, try to observe things and see how they happen and reflect upon why it turned out this way. (Participant 16)

 
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