Reducing the unpleasant feeling of anxiety is often a sub-goal of martial arts students who are looking to get fit, have fun, and learn self-defense but this sport can help students with anxiety directly in a few different ways. Let’s get into them. (We’re not medical professionals and recommend you consult with a doctor to get the proper treatment and care you deserve.)
How To Reduce Anxiety With Martial Arts
Martial arts can be hugely helpful to help adults reduce anxiety (and kids, too- but that’s a blog for another time). 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.
A common symptom of anxiety is racing thoughts. If you’re battling 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, when you’re feeling anxious, your brain can pump out adrenaline and turn on your fight-or-flight system. All that adrenaline usually just stays in your body because you’re not moving, you’re (over)thinking, but martial arts pushes you in a different direction. 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 a focused way. Secondly, the full-body workout you get when learning self-defense, 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
It’s no surprise that racing thoughts can lead to difficulty concentrating, another symptom of anxiety. Often when you’re struggling with anxiety, you’re in a weird dichotomy sometimes you’re sharply alert (presumably of all things your brain may see as potential “threats”) and almost hyperactive, and other times you’re fatigued 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.
Once you get here, we will help you. Our world-class instructors (who have probably experienced something very similar) will show you how to reduce anxiety and take your stress and tension and “help, my shoulders are stuck to my ears” feelings and channel them into your moves. 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 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.
Martial arts cannot cure or get rid of anxiety. Only a medical professional can show you how to reduce anxiety. But moving your body, joining a community engaging in positive social interactions, refining your mindset and slowly looking towards new horizons and accomplishments. These are vital components of your whole mental health picture that martial arts can help with.
Creating A Better Mindset Through Martial Arts
We say it all the time, but it’s true, martial arts is about so much more than just punches and kicks. Martial arts is an amazing tool that people have been using for centuries to achieve real success and change their lives.
How? With the help of martial arts classes and the martial arts philosophy, you build confidence and physical and mental strength. You develop perseverance while achieving your goals and getting your belts. 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, a lot of muscle movement, a lot of focus, and discipline required to be a successful martial artist. Our classes aren’t peaches and roses and neither is life, and 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, 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
In our martial arts classes here at BGr8 Martial Arts we are huge believers in the power of mindset because we’ve seen it work time and time again. One of our favorite quotes is “A black belt is a white belt who never gave up.” That’s indeed 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. 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.
You’d be surprised by how many of them have struggled with their mental health issues, and have turned to the mat time and time again for support from their 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 struggling with anxiety you can’t see anything other than your shortcomings and failures. But know this, our instructors and the community here are going to support you. We are going to show you just how much freaking amazing you are, 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 can carry yourself through tough moments with compassion and grace. The whole self-defense piece of it, then, becomes just the cherry on top.
Martial Arts And Mental Health
So now hopefully you can see that martial arts can help with anxiety. Staying active, channeling racing thoughts into something useful through kicks and punches, and mindset/community support are martial arts benefits that are critical to staying well. With martial arts classes, your mood and health can improve tremendously right alongside your mindset, which gives you the proper tools to reduce anxiety and get through those tough times.
Ready to see what martial arts can do for you? Give BGr8 Martial Arts in Irmo a try with our risk-free trial (yes, risk-free!) and see for yourself how it can change your life. You’ll love it! Check out our free trial offer now!