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.)
Reducing Anxiety With Martial Arts
Martial arts can be hugely helpful to help adults reduce anxiety (and kids, too- but that’s a topic for another time). 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, the excess of adrenaline that your brain can pump through you 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 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. 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
Another symptom of anxiety is difficulty concentrating or feeling motivated. 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 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. 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.
We can’t say that martial arts classes can “get rid of your anxiety- only doctors and therapists can show you how to do that. But we WILL 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- 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
We say it all the time, but it’s true – martial arts is about way 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 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 involved 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 martial arts classes here at Premier Sport Taekwondo 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.” 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 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 the 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 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 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
So now hopefully you can see that martial arts can really help with anxiety. Staying active, focusing those 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 mood and health can improve tremendously right alongside your mindset, which can help give you the proper tools to reduce anxiety and get through those tough times. Ready to see what martial arts can do for you? Give Premier Sport Taekwondo in North Grafton a try with our risk-free trial (yes, risk-free!) and see for yourself how it can change your life. You’ll LOVE IT!