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 self-defense. But this sport can help students with how to reduce 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
Martial arts classes can be really helpful for adults (and kids!) who may struggle with how to reduce anxiety. 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 a unique tool we can use to combat symptoms of anxiety.
A common symptom of anxiety is racing thoughts. If you struggle with 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 an amazing solution for this. First of all, the excess 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, 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 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, 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. 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.
The only time we can help you beyond the words of a blog post is when you’re standing right in front of us, ready for class. Our world-class instructors (most of whom have dealt with or still deal with how to reduce anxiety themselves) will show you how to take your stress, 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 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.
We can’t say that martial arts classes can “cure” 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 can help 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
This 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 improve their lives and mindsets dramatically. How to reduce anxiety? With the help of martial arts classes and the martial arts philosophy, you build confidence and 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 demanding sport. We’re not going to sugarcoat it – 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 be a successful martial artist. It’s not all peaches and roses in our class, but neither is life, especially life with anxiety. 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 to Reduce Anxiety with Your Mindset
In our classes at Peak Performance, we are huge believers in the power of mindset because we’ve seen it work time and time again. 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 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. You’d be surprised by how many of them have struggled with their own mental health issues, and have turned to martial arts 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. This is how to reduce anxiety with taekwondo.
Martial arts and Mental Health
So now hopefully you can see how to reduce anxiety with karate. Staying active, channeling racing thoughts into something positive 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 can help give you the proper tools to reduce anxiety and push through those tough times. Ready to see what martial arts can do for you? Give Peak Performance in Foster City a try with our risk-free trial (yes, risk-free!) and see for yourself how martial arts can change your life. You’ll love it!