How Martial Arts Helps With Mental Health
Martial arts has garnered a reputation for being a great way to stay fit and become physically strong. People who have been practicing martial arts for years have an increased awareness of what their body is really capable of.
These physical effects are what often come to mind when it comes to talking about martial arts, but the mental effects of a martial arts practice are equally as important. The focus and discipline you build throughout your training will benefit you for years to come.
Peace of mind
A lot of people get into martial arts as a form of self-defense. As martial arts student Brooke Crockett writes in our previous blog post, knowing you can defend yourself saves you from a lot of unnecessary stress. Harmful incidents can occur no matter where you live in the world, so having the physical intelligence to handle yourself in a potentially dangerous situation is important. This knowledge also gives you the freedom to move around as you please — whether you're traveling solo or walking home at night alone.
Mastering martial arts requires dedication, even more so as you progress. Thrive Global reports how martial arts can foster concentration skills in people, which has a positive impact on their ability to absorb new information. This is especially true of those who struggle with focus, such as those with ADHD. Martial arts can be a positive activity that motivates them to overcome their own difficulties. Psychologists at Maryville University have found links between mental health and learning development, with those who have a healthy mind much more motivated to be successful in what they do. This can explain the reason why we get motivated to push through something as we develop our skills. While it may be a bit difficult to push through with your training at the beginning (particularly if you’re not used to athletic training), you’ll start to become more self-motivated the more you train your body and your brain, and see the benefits.
Working through mistakes
Humans learn well through trial and error. We all learn through our mistakes, but this is especially true for those practicing martial arts. Sparring with your fellow classmates means that you’re bound to make more than a few mistakes over the course of your training, regardless of what level you’re at. Constantly dealing with errors teaches you that mistakes are ultimately learning opportunities, rather than something to be ashamed of.
Takes time away from the screen
We’re glued to our screens more than we would like. In fact, some people still stare at their screens when using machines at the gym or going for walks at the park. According to an article on Self, the jury's still out on whether or not screen time can directly lead to poor mental health. However, there is something to be said about unplugging and fully focusing on the present moment. With all the moving you’ll do each martial arts class, you won’t have much time to look at your phone at all!
Fosters social interactions
One of the best parts about martial arts is that you get welcomed into a community straight away. Evolve notes that team building is intrinsic to virtually every martial arts practice, and the way to truly get better is to spar with different members of your class. The fact that you’re all taking a martial arts class means that you and your classmates have something in common, and the repeated interactions you’ll have over training can be a great foundation for lifelong friendships.
written by Florence Wright for ohiomartialarts.com