Humans are not only physical creatures, we are essentially emotional ones. In order to live full and happy lives we need to know how to live emotionally healthy lives. Of course, martial arts isn’t the usual place that people look to when thinking about emotional health – but maybe it should be! Learning martial arts is a proven and perfect way to improve and strengthen emotional health.
How? Here are six ways that it happens.
- Creating Self Worth After Failure
The worst thing about life is that we so often feel as though when we fail that we are worthless. Martial arts teaches us that failure isn’t the end, but rather it is a gateway to more and better things! For example, being unsuccessful at a grading is not a personal loss, it’s a time to stop and reflect on where we can improve.
- Combating Loneliness
Even in a world where we’re surrounded by people, we aren’t necessarily connected to them. The martial arts community is one like no other, warm and welcoming while still pushing each class member to improve themselves. Shared growth and trial through physical effort is what creates a network of people who are really connected.
- Growing Self Esteem
Learning martial arts is a great way to improve self-esteem and self-worth. Mastering a pattern in our training makes us feel great! Getting over our fear to learn to defend ourselves and to feel in control is an essential part of martial arts training, and it’s something that grows the self-esteem of everyone. And again, remember that the martial arts community is a supportive one, allowing each member to feel good about their ability to do great things.
- Halting Negative Thinking
One thing that happens to even the best of us is that we get caught in the cycle of over thinking and agonising over the negative things in our lives. Martial arts is wonderful for breaking that cycle. It does this by shaking us out from our comfort zone, and by the body/mind integration that it encourages. The physical aspects of martial arts are a wonderful way to alter the mental state that we’re in.
- Finding Meaning in Struggle
Struggle is something that we all must face in life. Martial arts fosters the ability to overcome challenges, but also to find meaning in them. We do learn lessons and grow because of difficult times. It can be very hard to see that when those challenges seem to be insurmountable, but in the training hall we’re able to fight small battles and to see our growth from them, which then translates to the ability to see the meaning in life struggles.
- Gaining Control
As martial artists, we learn not only that we have the ability to gain control over our lives, but we also learn how little control we really have. And we learn to be at peace with that lack of control. The truth is that in life, as in martial arts, we don’t have the ability to determine everything. What we do have the ability to do is to control how we react to the things in our life. That’s the true meaning of being a martial artist – mastery over self. It’s also the key to emotional health.