How to reduce anxiety with martial arts? Many martial arts students come to the sport for different reasons, but find that their anxiety is helped 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.)
How To Reduce 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.
Here are three ways how martial arts can help to reduce anxiety:
- by teaching how to control your emotions and reactions;
- by providing a physical outlet for stress and anxiety;
- by helping you to develop a positive mindset and outlook on life.
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, the excess of adrenaline that your brain can pump through you 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 an intentional 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 … 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
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.
Once you get here, we will help you. 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.
Martial arts cannot cure or get rid of anxiety. Only a medical professional can show you how to do that. But moving your body, joining a community and engaging in positive social interactions, learning about mindset and slowly looking towards new horizons and accomplishments – these are vital components of your whole mental health picture that martial arts can definitely help with.
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 so much 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? With the help of martial arts classes and the martial arts philosophy, you build confidence, physical and mental strength. You develop perseverance while achieving your goals and getting your belts.
And you learn so much about how to get your mind on your side from such a physically involved sport. Look – martial arts is HARD. It is a difficult sport. There’s a lot of complicated coordination between your brain, your body, your muscle memory and your discipline skills required to really be a successful martial artist. So martial arts is 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 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 Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness Academy 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. 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 our awesome instructors. Many of them 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.
Last thing. Sometimes when you’re anxious you can’t see anything other than your own shortcomings and failures. But believe 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 grace. 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 how to reduce anxiety and push through those tough times. Ready to see what martial arts can do for you? Give Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness Academy in Kanata a try with our risk-free trial (yes, risk-free!) and see for yourself how it can change your life. You’ll LOVE IT!