According to a 2014 study conducted by The American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress and another 73 percent experience regular psychological symptoms of stress. Physical symptoms of stress range from a nagging headache to chronic chest pain. Psychological symptoms of stress include mild depression and problems with memory. The four pillars of stress reduction are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Read on to discover how martial arts effectively incorporates all four pillars to combat stress.
Practicing martial arts naturally releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormone, into your body. The physical activity associated with martial arts also raises your metabolism, builds muscle strength, increases flexibility, and improves immune system responses. All of these aspects reduce areas of potential stress as well as help to prepare your body to better handle future stressors.
Martial arts requires its pupils to be in a calm and focused state where the participant is completely immersed in the present moment. While in this state of consciousness, troubles are allowed to slip from the forefront of the mind where the subconscious takes over and works to find an effective solution. The consistent practice of martial arts allows its pupils to reach this state throughout everyday life and more practically solve problems rather than dwell on stressors.
A person’s emotional response, or the feelings that they have pertaining to a specific circumstance or event, directly influence the level of stress they experience in relation to that event or circumstance. The regular practice of martial arts physically and mentally releases these feelings and allows a person to see the situation solely for what it is, thus significantly reducing the self-attached stress level.
Similarly to meditation, martial arts significantly increases personal spiritual awareness. At the core of all forms of martial arts, breathing and focus are taught to harness the power of one’s own self-awareness. This self-awareness, in turn, provides the power of learning one’s strengths and weaknesses and how to genuinely listen to themselves. In effect, the routine practice of martial arts significantly increases personal spirituality.
Few sports harness the power of the four pillars of stress reduction as effectively as martial arts. Practicing martial arts can help improve your ability to combat and prevent the negative effects of excess stress.