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

How to reduce anxiety

New students join martial arts classes for different reasons, like improved confidence and fitness with a purpose, but find that their anxiety is lessened 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

How to reduce anxiety

Martial arts can be a huge help to help adults reduce anxiety (and kids, too — but that’s a topic for another time). Not only is it a highly physical sport (which means you’re doing something with all the adrenaline that the anxiety produces), but it’s also an effective tool we can use to combat symptoms of anxiety. A common 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 your body at all. Martial arts can be a great 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 because you’re not moving, you’re overthinking, but martial arts pushes you in a different direction. Kicking, punching and channeling that energy effectively is healthy and can even be necessary for your body, as it’s getting the adrenaline and anxiety out in a focused 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, or your life. 

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

It’s no surprise that racing thoughts can lead to difficulty concentrating, another symptom of anxiety. 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.

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 who you are, anxiety or not, doing what you’re doing, exporting your thought process to your instructor, and getting it all out through physical movement.

What we can’t say is that martial arts classes can “cure” your anxiety — only doctors and therapists can show you how to do that. But what we will say is that physically moving your body, channeling your racing thoughts into something awesome, being part of a fun community with rewarding social interactions, and setting and getting new goals — this helps anyone’s mental health. They’re key pieces to the whole picture that martial arts classes can provide.

 

Creating a Better Mindset Through Martial Arts

how to reduce anxiety with karateThis is something you’ll hear us say a lot, but it’s true — martial arts is about so much more than just punches and kicks. Martial arts is 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. You also learn so much about how strong your mind is from such a physically involved sport. Look — martial arts is hard. It is a difficult sport. There’s a lot of coordination, a lot of muscle movement, a lot of focus, and discipline required to be a successful martial artist. 

Our classes aren’t peaches and roses and neither is life, nor 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. However, 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 anxietyMindset is so important to us here at Meyerland Martial Arts 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 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. Many of them have struggled with their mental health issues, and have turned to the mat time and time again for support from their 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 shortcomings and failures. But know this — our instructors and the community here are going to support you. We are going to show you just how much butt you can kick, even with your mental health struggles. What’s so cool is that over time, you start to internalize that supportive encouragement, and can carry yourself through tough moments with compassion and understanding. The whole self-defense piece of it, then, becomes just the cherry on top.

 

Martial Arts and Mental Health

Adult Karate Classes

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 Meyerland Martial Arts in Houston 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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