- Apr 28, 2011
- Reaction score
- San Francisco, California
I have found little to no research in this area, other than it's use with physically disabled and some for anger control. I believe it has therapuetic utility for many issues such as depression, anxiety, addictions, etc. I am currently looking at martial arts training effects on self-confidence and self-esteem. I would like this forum to be a place to share your experience with martial arts on your mental health and any other area you have found martial art training to benefit you.
Hi Jason. Getting back into martial arts after a 13 year layoff (I was 29 when I got back in) changed my life for the better. At the time, the "nothing's working!" feeling was in my brain 24-7. Getting involved in kickboxing class and quickly switching to Muay Thai changed that. At times, I do have to battle depression, but it's much, much easier. And when I haven't been to a class in a while, my mental health is not as well as it could be. I actually plan vacations around the class schedule.
That said, I don't think it's martial arts per se that's helped. MA is my outlet for reducing stress, which lets the completely logical, rational part of my brain fully function and improve my life. MA is more of self-defense (pun intended) against stress and depression rather than as an engine of happiness. A bad MT class can cause stress just as easily as a mediocre/bad day at work. Moreover, I've felt similar benefits when I added running and tabata calisthenics to my training. Furthermore, stress reduction classes through my employer's wellness program have worked in the same way. Together all four work wonders, but separately they all do the same thing in various degrees. But martial arts was first, was the gateway to the others, and continues to be the most effective.
I've also experienced a serious boost in confidence at work, but I don't credit MA with that. I'm good at what I do, and I'm still early in my career when it's easy to make leaps and bounds in respect and prestige. It's this advancement I credit with feeling better on the career side. I am, however, open to the idea of the decreased stress as opening the door for my natural talent and confidence at work to shine through. Still don't credit MA with it, though.
I hope this helps.