Adult Martial Arts and Mental Health
Adult Martial Arts and Mental Health
Adult Martial Arts is great for managing stress, healthy weight, building confidence, and improving your outlook. Read further to learn how martial arts can benefit you in these stressful and uncertain times…
A Lot on Our Minds.
The year 2020 will be long remembered as one of the most bizarre periods of modern day. While some individuals and businesses have thrived during this period, the hard truth is most of us have experienced a negative impact. Mental health is a big topic of concern and we’ve seen an uptick in many negative consequences of poor mental health. While poor mental health is harmful, there are many things we can do to strengthen ourselves against this condition.
As a martial artist and instructor, I wanted to share how martial arts is a great way to strengthen your mind and create a positive outlook. Many consider martial arts for kids, but these benefits are big for adult martial arts as well.
Adaptability and Self-Control.
A key character trait of martial artists is self-control. Students learn from the beginning how to control their fear, frustration, and slumps in motivation to maintain a consistent training routine. We focus very heavily on this trait from day one and remind students that while they can’t always control the circumstances around them, they can control how they react. Maybe work or home life is stressful, maybe there’s a sparring partner in class who’s really intimidating.
No matter the obstacle, you have to decide whether you’re going to let the circumstance determine your actions, or if you’re going to control your outcome. This is very directly applicable to what we’re all experiencing today. There’s much we can’t control, but rather than seeing these challenges as obstacles, we can view them as opportunities for growth and new beginnings. Being controlled by the circumstances around you makes you a victim, choosing how you respond to your circumstances makes you victorious.
Whether it’s your first day on the mat or you’re pushing through a grueling belt test or competition, challenges are present at every stage of the martial arts journey. These are positive challenges that lead to growth and teach students the concept of perseverance. Nothing worthwhile comes easily, and in those moments when a student feels pushed beyond their limits is where the most growth happens.
Martial artists learn this valuable lesson of not letting hardships stop them and constantly pushing the limits. It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a skill and mindset that must be developed and trained like a muscle. This ability gives you the strength to push through obstacles and uncertainty.
Good Mood and Confidence!
We’ve all heard that exercise produces endorphins that naturally boost your mood. Plus if you’ve had a rough day or you’re frustrated by circumstances, sweating it out and hitting a heavy bag are great ways to let go of that stress. But did you know that regular martial arts training also gives you a boost in confidence? Naturally, as you adopt a regular training regimen, your body composition begins to change in positive ways. You start to notice these positive improvements in your physique and you receive an instant confidence boost!
Additionally, when you gain strength and start to become more proficient at learning your new skills, you’ll have an increase in self-efficacy. This just means you become more sure of your ability to succeed in different situations. If your ego could use a positive boost, you might want to consider martial arts!
We were created to be social beings. Much of what’s gone on over the last year or so has left many feeling isolated. Maybe it’s hard to make friends and connect with people in this current environment. This disconnect takes a major toll on our mental health. Being socially connected can reduce depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness, and even add years to your life.
One of the great things about martial arts is the community it builds. While much of the training is solo and you’re focusing on your individual self-improvement, you can’t help but connect with those who are on the same path as you. Students become like family to each other who push and motivate one another. This home away from home at the gym has been a great source of community and positive support for many martial artists.
Perhaps you’ve been considering adult martial arts or it’s never crossed your mind. No matter where you are, now is a great time to start! Whether it’s Karate, Muay Thai or Jiu Jitsu, all forms of martial arts carry these positive mental benefits to varying degrees. Why not try something new?
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By Stephanie Spears
Published: March 25, 2021
Categories: black belt, Health, Muay Thai, Self-defense, tang soo do, Training