7 Ways Martial Arts Improves Your Mental Health

Have you heard someone say that practicing martial arts has transformed their life?

Maybe you’re wondering if you can change your life too.

This is because martial arts, according to many health experts, has a wide array of health benefits. These are not just limited to our physical bodies, but also our emotional state.

Simply put, practising any kind of martial arts has both mental and physical benefits. Some consider them vindictive outcomes, but according to several studies, their effectiveness has already been proven.

Assertiveness and emotional stability, improvement in self-esteem and alleviation of depression and anxiety are a few of the positive impacts that martial arts have.

Martial arts like Tae Kwon Do help create a mindset that’s stable and more balanced. They might be primarily seen as a way to physically defend yourself, but they are effective as a technique to balance the body and mind.

So, why are they particularly helpful for mental health? 

If you are looking to learn more about how martial arts contribute to a sound mind, this post will provide some really good insights.

1. Alleviate Stress

Winston Churchill once said success isn’t final, and failure isn’t fatal. What counts is the courage to continue.

We are all bombarded with endless challenges with our hectic daily routines, causing us to fall behind deadlines. Constant facing of stress and anxiety can eventually lead to heart problems.

However, you can combat this with martial arts training. It includes cardio, which helps people fight the adverse effects of stress and anxiety. Further, most of these training sessions include breathing and meditation sessions, which also help to reduce stress levels.

2. Let Go of Anger

Being kind is important, as everyone you meet is most probably going through a battle that you don’t know about.

Since martial arts involve intense aerobic workout, it can help you let go of the built up anger. According to some researchers, martial arts combat the negative effects related to anger. If you are not in an ideal state of mind, it is easy to lash out and act without thinking properly.

As mentioned above, martial arts include meditation and breathing exercises which help with calming our thoughts. This helps you to learn how to deal with your inner self and let go of anger without a reaction.

As you already know, self-control is a key part of martial arts training, which is closely related to mindfulness. This training ultimately helps you become more disciplined.

The health professionals from Expect Me emphasise that martial arts make people feel more in control of their emotions. They say:

It’s counterintuitive at the surface level, but martial arts actually help people lead calmer, more self-possessed lives. One of the main reasons why this happens is mindfulness. To excel at martial arts, it is important to pay very close attention to the present moment.

3. Reduce Frustration

Bruce Lee once said, ‘’take things as they are, punch when you have to and kick when you have to.’’

Regardless of how careful you are and the amount of effort you put into something, failure is inevitable. Whether you like it or not, some pressure such as commitments, responsibilities and deadlines will sometimes run behind you.

At some point in life, frustration is bound to occur. Martial arts training sessions are a combination of cardio training and muscular workout, both of which are excellent ways to make you relax and let go of frustration.

4. Increase Self-Esteem

Difficulties strengthen your mind, similar to what labour does to the body.

According to Beyond Blue, it’s estimated that 45% of people in Australia will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety.

If you are having a low moment in life, martial arts can actually boost your self-esteem. Most individuals with lower confidence levels experience this on a regular basis, and it really affects their ability to keep up with their everyday activities.

They also become pretty uncomfortable when they have to interact with others, and this ultimately damages their social life, family ties and even personal growth.

Ilona Nichterlein, an emotional counselling expert from Hypnotherapy Canberra says that lessons taken from martial arts can be easily applied to your daily life. She explains:

Martial art teaches you that it doesn’t matter how many ‘hits’ you take in life – financial, mental, physical or emotional, it’s important to come back stronger and smarter after each blow, and to toughen up for bumps still to come. They teach you how to deal with these situations and build character.

5. Boost Your Focus

Muhammad Ali once said, it is not the mountains ahead that wear you out, but the pebble in your shoe.

We all have numerous sensory distractions that make it hard to concentrate on the tasks at hand. According to various medical journals, extensive physical activity such as martial arts training can help reinforce the neural pathway.

Martial arts training is designed in a manner that helps you focus on one point, depending on the session. As the session starts, all those distractions go away, and you are left to concentrate on the present moment.

If you do this on a regular basis, your mind will learn to clear your perception as needed, and you will be able to focus on tasks like important work without getting distracted every single minute.

6. Calls For Introspection

Practising martial arts can help you fight those inner struggles you go through on a daily basis. Martial arts sessions train you to work on your inner energy along with your physique. It has an innate wisdom that after adequate practice, you are certainly going to call for introspection.

This will help you discover any repetitive mistakes you are doing on a regular basis, question yourself on what went wrong, which is an excellent starting point for searching for solutions.

7. Releases The Feel-Good Hormone

Any form of physical training leads to the stimulation of the feel-good hormone, known as dopamine. Since martial training is a form of intense physical training, you certainly get to enjoy the benefits that this hormone offers.

Endorphins have a subtle effect on one’s emotional state and leave you with positive energy after every session. During the training, the dopamine levels rise, and you ultimately gain a greater persona.

The professionals at Northern Sports and Remedial Myotherapy explain dopamine is important because it helps us focus and feel motivated both physically and mentally. They say:

Dopamine is part of the reward pathway of the brain. When something is interesting or exciting, we feel more motivated to learn and retain information better. That’s why it can help modify behaviour in a positive way, when done correctly.

Martial arts, as an intensive physical form of training, isn’t just a discipline, but a complete value system as well. When you stick to the core principles of martial arts, you will become a more humble and respectable person.

This modern age is pushing more and more people to seek mental health support, and most of them prefer natural options rather than medication.

This makes martial arts an excellent solution if you are on the same boat. This is the best time to get into martial arts if you really yearn for a sound mind and a healthy body.

If you’re ready to experience the physical and mental benefits of practising martial arts, click here to contact IMT – one of Sydney’s most advanced martial arts organisations!