Many martial arts students come to the sport for different reasons, but find that their anxiety is reduced the more classes they take. Why? Read on to find out! (We’re not medical professionals and recommend you consult with a doctor to get the proper treatment and care you deserve.)
Reducing Anxiety With Martial Arts
Martial arts classes can be really helpful for adults (and kids!) that may struggle with clinical or just life-related anxiety. Not only is it a highly physical sport (get all the adrenaline out), it’s also an effective tool we can use to combat symptoms of anxiety.
A common symptom of anxiety is racing thoughts. If you struggle with anxiety, you may feel like you’re living totally in your mind, not feeling present or even feeling your body at all. Martial arts can be an amazing solution for this. First of all, the excess of adrenaline that your brain can dump into your endocrine system when you’re feeling anxious needs to go somewhere, or else you’re stuck in fight-or-flight mode for too long.
Kicking and punching and channeling that energy effectively is a superb way to combat the adrenaline pump and can even be necessary for your body, as it’s getting the adrenaline and anxiety OUT in a focused way. Secondly, using your full body in a self defense workout in general is going to melt that stress away and help you get ALL of those feelings out. Stress at work, stress with your kids, your partner, your life …
Everything you’re ruminating on or worrying about flushes out on the mat. You channel it all into movement and it makes you a focused, clear-headed person off the mat- and an excellent martial artist on the mat, with real power and energy behind your moves.
Concentration and Motivation Through Martial Arts
Another symptom of anxiety is difficulty concentrating or feeling motivated. Sometimes you feel hyper alert and hyperactive, other times you’re pretty sluggish and don’t want to do anything.
You’re either frozen in panic or spinning your wheels with stress. If you’re experiencing this – show up to class. That’s all we ask you to do.
The only time we can really help you beyond the words of a blog post is when you’re standing right in front of us, ready for class. We will show you how to push yourself just beyond what you think you’re capable of, and you’ll feel your focus shift. You concentrate on one minute of each class at a time and soon you’re having a lot of fun and the time is flying by.
For this one martial arts class, you don’t have to be anything other than exactly you, even if you’re anxious, doing what you’re doing, exporting your thought process to your instructor and getting it all out through physical movement.
What we can’t say is that martial arts classes can “cure” your anxiety- only doctors and therapists can show you how to do that. But what we CAN say is that physically moving your body, channeling your racing thoughts into something useful, being a part of a fun community with rewarding social interactions, and setting and getting new goals- these help anyone’s mental health. They’re key pieces to the whole picture that martial arts classes can absolutely provide.
Creating a Better Mindset Through Martial Arts
This is something you’ll hear us say a lot, but it’s totally true – martial arts is about way more than just punches and kicks. Martial arts is actually an amazing tool that people have been using for centuries to improve their lives and mindsets dramatically.
How? Using ancient techniques that are mixed with a complete education on modern mindset in your martial arts classes, you build confidence, physical and mental strength. You develop discipline and perseverance by hitting your fitness goals and moving through the ranks. And you learn so much about how strong your mind is from such a physically demanding sport. Look – martial arts is HARD. It is a difficult sport.
There’s a lot of coordination, muscle memory, focus and discipline required to really be a successful martial artist. Our classes aren’t peaches and roses and neither is life, and furthermore, neither is life with anxiety. So let us help you get through it.Whether it’s just anxious feelings or full-on generalized anxiety disorder (LINK), we know the difficulty of life with mental health issues cannot be understated. But we also know it can be helped through the power of martial arts classes, and the development of your mindset.
How Mindset Can Help You Reduce Anxiety
Mindset is so important to us here at Ultimate Martial Arts because we’ve seen it work time and time again, on and off the mat. One of our favorite quotes is “A black belt is a white belt who never gave up.”
The only difference between the two belts, or any two belts, is the commitment to show up and keep at it, even (especially) when times are tough.
When you’re by yourself in a gym, for example, it’s you, the machinery or weights, and your brain telling you what to do. If you’ve ever been to the gym when you’re anxious, you’ll know that your brain is not your most reliable workout buddy. It’s easily distracted, it can say some pretty mean things to you and hype you up for what it sees as emergencies in the worst way possible.
But when you’re in our martial arts classes, it’s not your brain telling you what to do (not yet, anyway)- it’s instructors, who have been right there where you’re standing.
Meeting them, you may be surprised to know that they have struggled with their own mental health issues, and have turned to the mat time and time again for support from their own instructors, their peers, and this family here. Martial arts is an individual sport in a group setting, which means that you’re never alone, and that fact alone can be hugely helpful in reducing anxiety.
Okay, one more thing with the instructors. Sometimes when you’re anxious you can’t see anything other than your own shortcomings and failures. But please hear this- our instructors and the community here are going to support you.
We are going to show you just how much butt you can actually kick, despite (or maybe because of?) your mental health struggles. The best part is that as you keep coming to classes, you start to internalize that positive mindset, and are able to carry yourself through tough moments with compassion and understanding. The whole self defense piece of it, then, becomes just the cherry on top.
Martial Arts and Mental Health
The benefits of martial arts for mental health in general are endless. For anxiety specifically, staying active, channeling racing thoughts into something positive through kicks and punches, and mindset/community support are martial arts benefits that are critical to staying well.
With martial arts classes your overall mood and your health can both improve tremendously right alongside your mindset, which can help give you the proper tools to reduce anxiety and push through those tough times. Ready to see what martial arts can do for you? Give Ultimate Martial Arts in Heathmont a try with our risk-free trial (yes, risk-free!) and see for yourself how it can change your life. You’ll LOVE IT!