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Tips How to Reduce Anxiety : Can Martial Arts Classes Help?

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How to reduce anxiety

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 life-saving skills … 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

How to reduce anxiety

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), but it’s also a unique tool we can use to combat symptoms of anxiety.

One 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 sensations in your body. Martial arts can be a great solution for this. First of all, the excess of adrenaline that your brain can dump into your endocrine system 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, 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. 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

How to reduce anxiety with taekwondo

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 this sounds like you – show up to class. That’s all we ask you to do.

Once you get here, we will help you. Our world-class instructors (most of whom have dealt with or still deal with anxiety themselves) will show you how to take your stress and tension and “help, my shoulders are stuck to my ears” feelings and channel them into your moves. 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 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- this help anyone’s mental health. They’re key pieces to the whole picture that martial arts classes can absolutely provide.

Creating a Better Mindset through Martial Arts

How to reduce anxiety with karate

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? 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 strong your mind is 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. 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

How to reduce anxiety

Mindset is so important to us here at Martial Arts Advantage 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.” 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’s easily 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 martial arts 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.

Okay, one more thing with the instructors. 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 believe this- our instructors and the community here are going to support 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 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 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 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 Martial Arts Advantage in Centerton a try with our risk-free trial (yes, risk-free!) and see for yourself how it can change your life. You’ll love it!

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