New students join martial arts classes for different reasons, like improved confidence and fitness with a purpose, 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.
One 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 sensations in your body. 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 courses through your body as you think, think, and (over)think – but martial arts pushes you in a different direction.
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.
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. 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 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.
We can’t say that martial arts classes can “cure” 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 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 definitely 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 so much more than just punches and kicks. Martial arts is actually an amazing tool that people have been using for centuries to achieve real success and change their lives. 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 to get your mind on your side from such a physically demanding sport. Listen – 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. It’s not all peaches and roses in our class but neither is life, especially life with anxiety. 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
In our classes at Martial Arts America 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.” 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 gets 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.
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 comforting and helpful in reducing anxiety.
Last thing. Sometimes when you’re really in the thick of it with anxiety you can’t see anything other than your own shortcomings and failures. But know 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 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 icing on the cake.
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 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 push through those tough times. Ready to see what martial arts can do for you? Give Martial Arts America in Greendale a try with our risk-free trial (yes, risk-free!) and see for yourself how it can change your life. You’ll LOVE IT!