There are many reasons students come to martial arts classes, but one of the lesser-known benefits is that of improved mental health. Martial arts classes can help reduce anxiety in a few different ways. Read on to find out more! (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 (which means you’re doing something with all the adrenaline that the anxiety produces), but it’s also an effective tool we can use to combat symptoms of anxiety.
One symptom of anxiety is racing thoughts. If you’re battling anxiety, you may feel like you’re just your thoughts, not feeling present or even feeling your body at all. Martial arts can be an amazing solution for this. First of all, the excess adrenaline that your brain can dump into your endocrine system when you’re feeling anxious needs to go somewhere, or else your body’s thinking it’s “fight or flight” time all day. Kicking and punching and channeling that energy effectively is healthy and can even be necessary for your body, as it’s getting the adrenaline and anxiety out in an intentional way. Secondly, the full-body workout you get when learning self-defence, in general, is going to melt that stress away and help you get all of those feelings out. Work stress, kids stress, relationship stress, life stress.
All the things you’re way overthinking come 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
It’s not hard to correlate racing thoughts that occupy your brain space with difficulty concentrating, another symptom of anxiety. 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 this sounds like you – 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. If you can commit to making it through the door, soon the minutes will fly by as you’re having fun with your friends and getting your sweat on, and then you’ll wonder where that hour went. For this one martial arts class, you don’t have to be anything other than exactly who you are, anxiety or not, doing what you’re doing, exporting your thought process to your instructor, and getting it all out through physical movement.
We can’t say that martial arts classes can “get rid of your anxiety- only medical professionals can show you how to do that. But we can say that physically moving your body, channeling your racing thoughts into something awesome, being a part of a fun community with rewarding social interactions, and setting and getting new goals- this help anyone’s mental health. They’re key pieces to the whole picture that martial arts classes can provide.
Creating a Better Mindset Through Martial Arts
We say it all the time, but it’s true – martial arts is about way more than just punches and kicks. Martial arts is an amazing tool that people have been using for centuries to improve their lives and mindsets dramatically. How? With the help of martial arts classes and the martial arts philosophy, 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 involved sport. Listen – martial arts is hard. It is a difficult sport. There’s a lot of coordination, a lot of muscle movement, a lot of focus, and discipline required to be a successful martial artist. So martial arts are difficult, but guess what- so is life with anxiety, and we’re going to help you get through it.
Whether it’s just anxious feelings or full-on generalized anxiety disorder, we know the difficulty of living 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 Focus 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.” It’s true- that’s the only difference. And it’s the difference between perseverance and giving up, 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. Sometimes, when you’re anxious, your brain is not your most reliable workout buddy. It gets distracted, it can say some pretty mean things to you and hype you up for “emergencies” (which are really non-threats) 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 our instructors. Meeting them, you may be surprised to know that they have struggled with their own mental health issues, and have turned to martial arts 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 comforting and helpful in reducing anxiety.
One more thing about the instructors. Sometimes when you’re struggling with anxiety you can’t see anything other than your own shortcomings and failures. But please hear this- our instructors and the community here are just that, here… for 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 over time, you start to internalize that supportive encouragement, and are able to carry yourself through tough moments with compassion and understanding. The whole self-defence 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 gives you the proper tools to reduce anxiety and push through those tough times. Ready to see what martial arts can do for you? Give Focus Martial Arts in Brisbane a try with our risk-free trial (yes, risk-free!) and see for yourself how it can change your life. You’ll love it!