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Martial Arts and Mental Health

Martial Arts and Mental Health

Martial Arts and Mental Health

By: Josh White, MA, LCMHC, CGPPosted: Section: Parent Resources

Initiate Launch!

Millennials are failing to launch with increasing regularity, and their younger teenaged brothers and sisters are in an even worse boat. Research shows that young adults today experience failure to launch through things like psychological issues and addiction. Martial arts training encourages mindfulness, which helps transition beyond the self into successful independence.

Martial Arts And Mental Health

Research shows there's a relationship between martial arts and mental health. When you work out it stimulates the mind and body. If you're going to "run that extra mile", you have to steel yourself. It's going to be tiring, and it's going to be uncomfortable; but you can do it. And when you do it, the reward's a thousand times greater than the difficulty experienced in acquiring it. Martial arts compounds this difficulty/reward spiral by constantly providing goals and feedback.  

Martial Arts Helps Develop Self-Control

The biggest reason that martial arts helps combat addiction is through facilitating personal self control in an individual. It's the same principle as finding an activity you enjoy, which is physical, to help you lose weight. You can either hit the gym, or hit the tennis court. One will be easier to maintain over time. With martial arts, you have to learn a certain family of moves. Then you have to spar with those moves. As you become better at sparring, you are upgraded in your classification of understanding; usually, as in karate, the way this upgrade is conveyed is through the kind of belt that is used to tie a gi, or traditional karate uniform.

Different martial arts have different designations, but what most have in common is a "ladder" or "staircase" of development. There is always a goal at the end, there is always a carrot before the horse; and self discipline brings reward. See, by allowing the mind to focus on something unrelated to the addiction, recovery can be attained obliquely.  

You've heard of reverse psychology. Young adults today are unlikely to do what you say because you say it. But if you give them some other motivation that results in the same action, you can often get your teen to follow instructions. Addiction can make even this difficult, but the same reasoning underlies martial arts as a form of therapy: instead of assaulting the mental wall of addiction, you're going around it to find where it can be pushed over from behind. For 24-hour admissions assistance for new students, please call 855-998-5272

Author Josh White, MA, LCMHC, CGP

Author Josh White, MA, LCMHC, CGP

Follow Josh White, MA, LCMHC, CGP

Founder / Executive Director Josh White, Sensei, MA, LCMHC, CGP earned his Master’s Degree in Psychology from Naropa University, the nation’s premier mindfulness-based therapeutic training institution. A recognized leader and innovator within the young adult treatment field, Josh has pr..

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