Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, affects many people and causes a slew of adverse symptoms. These may include recurrent memories, flashbacks, nightmares, and intense anxiety. Dealing with the mental distress that PTSD evokes can be extremely difficult, as it can prevent an individual from carrying out day-to-day activities. It’s critical to seek help from a mental health professional and supplement this by finding strategies to better cope with the pain. One such method believed to be effective is participating in martial arts classes. Here’s how martial arts help PTSD sufferers.
Martial arts take a great deal of concentration on the part of the practitioner, and this can work to the benefit of someone dealing with PTSD. When the focus is on performing movements in a specific way and perfecting techniques, your mind has less room to wander. For the duration of the class, you can put aside the worries that plague you and think about only what is right before you in the present. Along with engaging the mind, martial arts are also physically challenging, which leads you to place your attention on improving aspects of your conditioning, such as flexibility and strength.
Strengthens the Mind
Your mind doesn’t only shift its focus during a class, though—it becomes stronger. Physical activity offers relief from the issues of PTSD, but martials arts go a step further by helping you gain greater control over your feelings and raising your confidence. They accomplish this by teaching self-discipline. You strike and grapple with power, but each motion is carefully practiced and used at the right time. Martial artists don’t just go into a blind fury and rush at an opponent. This can prove useful when you live with constant anxiety, as you can become less likely to overreact to situations by properly managing your emotions.
Moreover, when you face challenges, you are encouraged to overcome them. When you just can’t seem to gain mastery over a certain skill or best a sparring partner, you aren’t directed to give up. Rather, you think about what you can change to solve the problem and maintain your development. Your resilience is reinforced, and you acquire a mind-set where you look to make yourself better each day.
The torment of PTSD can be so draining that many who struggle with it feel disconnected from others and may sometimes end up isolating themselves. But this could make matters worse as unattended trauma festers. Martial arts can prove a worthy aid to you in those times when you feel alone because it provides you with a community of fellow students and instructors who share your goal of self-improvement. You can receive help from them, form a sense of camaraderie from your shared experiences, and offer your help to others as you progress.
If you suffer from PTSD and want to find a constructive activity in conjunction with medical care to help you on the path to recovery, contact Northwest Fighting Arts. We offer a variety of martial arts classes, including Jiu Jitsu, in Portland, Oregon. You can learn new skills, form meaningful friendships, and possibly find a passion that lasts a lifetime.