Tips to Reduce Anxiety. 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.
Reducing 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 actually doing something with all the adrenaline that the anxiety produces), 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 just your thoughts, not feeling present or even feeling sensations in your body. Martial arts can be a great solution for this. First of all, when you’re feeling anxious, your brain can pump out adrenaline and activate what’s known as your “fight-or-flight” response. All that adrenaline usually just stays in 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 an intentional 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
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 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 who you are, anxiety or no, 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 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 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 coordination, muscle memory, focus and discipline required to really be a successful martial artist. Our classes aren’t peaches and roses and neither is life, and furthermore, 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
Mindset is so important to us here at Vitali Family Karate 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. Sometimes, when you’re anxious, 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 “emergencies” (which are really non-threats) 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 helpful in reducing anxiety.
One more thing about the instructors. 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 just that, here… for you. We are going to show you just how much you actually can achieve, despite (or maybe because of?) your mental health struggles. What’s so cool is that as you keep coming to classes, you start to internalize that supportive encouragement, 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, focusing those 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 overall mood and your health can both 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 Vitali Family Karate in Lexington a try with our risk-free trial (yes, risk-free!) and see for yourself how it can change your life. You’ll LOVE IT!