Being able to stay calm and focused while others are panicking; enjoying the simple moments with friends and family despite life’s stress; staying grounded and balanced when life throws hardships at you—these are a few of the powerful benefits that mindfulness has been shown to provide. As more research proves the tangible benefits that come from staying present and practicing mindfulness, more people are searching for ways to incorporate mindfulness into their lives in ways that are more varied beyond just a 10-minute morning meditation.
One of the most beloved but sometimes unexpected ways to improve mindfulness is martial arts. While fighting systems might not seem like an obvious source of mindfulness, when you look a little closer, many martial arts have a mindfulness practice built-in.
If you’re considering starting out with martial arts or want a more exciting method to train your mind, the connection between martial arts and mindfulness might be exactly what you’re searching for.
How Martial Arts Improve Mindfulness
It’s well known that martial arts benefit mental health but there are many different ways that benefit comes to pass. One of the powerful mental health benefits that come from these fighting systems is the state of being present.
There’s no shortage of research on the benefits of mindfulness, from improved mood to reduced stress.
Mindfulness is best defined as being aware, focused on, and accepting of the present moment. It’s easy to see how being present—rather than reviewing yesterday’s mistakes and tomorrow’s worries—can lead to less stress.
One particular study found that martial arts are especially powerful at increasing our mindfulness: “Given that MA [martial arts] requires expenditure of energy done with a high level of concentration, engagement in this form of exercise may provide an interesting and novel strategy for enhancing physical and mental benefits. The regular practice of MA could elevate MF [mindfulness] levels of practitioners and thus influence positively on stress management and therefore quality of life and well-being.”
If you’ve ever had trouble getting settled to start a few minutes of meditation on the couch, you can easily understand how the physical aspect of martial arts makes getting into a focused and present mindset more accessible. Especially when it comes to kids, you’ll be much more likely to see your child experience the benefits of mindfulness by giving them an active method for practice than by trying to get them to stay still and quiet on a cushion for even 10 minutes.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Does mindfulness live up to the hype? If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more mindfulness into your life, opting for a physical practice like martial arts might have you wondering whether mindfulness is worth the effort of starting a new practice. Not to worry—the results are crystal clear that mindfulness is worth pursuing. Some of the well-known benefits to a mindfulness practice are:
- Stress reduction, which benefits physical health through lowered cortisol. (Source).
- Reduced anxiety, especially for those suffering from higher anxiety levels. (Source).
- Improved attention span and even accuracy in completing tasks. (Source).
These are just a few of the well-researched benefits that stem from practicing mindfulness. The key to developing a strong and consistent mindfulness practice is to imbed that practice within your everyday life.
Pursuing mindfulness-boosting hobbies like martial arts is a powerful way to make mindfulness part of your life. Martial arts benefit mental health in many ways, including helping us train the focus and sense of being present that helps us better enjoy our everyday life.
If you’re ready to make martial arts the next part of living a mindful life, Premier Martial Arts is happy to support you in pursuing your goals. Find a martial arts studio near you to start building a happy and healthy life today.