How Martial Arts Can Improve Depression, Anxiety, And Mental Focus and Clarity
Martial arts disciplines such as karate are well known for their long list of physical health benefits, but what you may not realize is that the psychological benefits you will are equally as important.
But how do you know if martial arts will be a good fit for you and help with whatever ailments you are experiencing?
Who Can Benefit from Karate as an Adult?
Regardless of physical fitness or mental wellness, any adult can benefit from practising karate for a variety of different reasons.
Karate is a total body workout that will help improve your strength, endurance, flexibility and balance, and increase muscle tone. So, even if you’re not typically the athletic type, practicing karate as an adult will whip you into tip-top shape.
Plus, every student is able to progress at their own pace, so you won’t ever have to worry about over-exerting yourself in order to keep up with others.
Mental Benefits of Practising Karate
For people struggling with mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, regular exercise is often recommended as a natural way to ease symptoms.
Karate, in particular, is great for your mental health because it incorporates meditation and breathing techniques that allow you to gain a deeper understanding of your body and mind.
Here are some of the specific ways your mental health can benefit from practicing karate.
In martial arts disciplines such as karate, you will learn to remain still and regulate your breathing for extended periods of time, giving your brain time to relax. Also, focusing your physical and mental energy into your training helps to put your mind at ease, avoid stressing yourself out about negative experiences or over-thinking’ situations that are out of your control.
Many people think of karate and other martial arts as a violent, aggressive sport, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Karate is so much more than just punching and kicking and requires a lot of concentration and focus. In fact, before you can even begin to learn specific moves and skills, you must have a clear mind free from distraction.
You always have to be completely in tune with your body and pay close attention to detail in order to succeed in the sport. This allows you to learn how to remain calm and reflect on what has prevented you from maintaining a balanced state of mind.
Confidence and Self Esteem
Martial arts are great for people who lack confidence, as it can help you overcome shyness and learn to carry yourself with authority.
By exposing yourself to challenging situations and pushing yourself to perform your best and meet your goals every class, you will feel confident that you can tackle any challenge that comes your way.
This newfound confidence will continue to grow each class, as you are being trained to focus and perform under pressure, regardless of the situation.
And by aiming high when it comes to your goals as a martial arts student, you will develop the confidence to accomplish anything you set out to do, both inside and out of the dojo (training hall).
Developing friendships with peopling that have the same values and interests as you can be difficult as an adult.
However, martial arts classes are a great place to meet new people and make friends.
Going through difficult trials together such as belt testing can help you develop stronger bonds with your classmates and build long-lasting friendships.
It’s no secret that exercising is a natural mood booster. The reason for this is that when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body that can last for up to four hours afterwards.
Karate in particular in can produce the same level of endorphins as hitting the gym, making you feel happier and more content with consistent practice.
If you have trouble focusing on daily activities, taking up some form of martial arts can help you achieve more mental clarity as it requires deep focus to master the sport.
The exercises require you to focus all your energy on your opponent or sparring partner along with your breathing technique. As time goes by, you will find yourself being able to complete your goals more quickly, and better focus on any task in and out of the dojo.
For those suffering from mental illness, or just looking for more mental balance, focus, and clarity, martial arts is an amazing way to improve symptoms, because it allows you redirect your aggression, build confidence, and set goals and stick with them.
So regardless of which discipline you choose, any kind of martial arts will help you achieve a sound mind and strong body, leading to endless long-lasting physical and mental health benefits.