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5 potential Mental Health benefits of practicing Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu continues to gain popularity as a Martial Art and Combat Sport that focuses on grappling, ground fighting, and self-defense.

There are so many reasons people of all ages are signing up at their local gyms and academies to learn, “The Gentle Art”. Just ask anyone who practices Jiu-Jitsu why they love it… and have a seat, because they won’t hesitate in telling you ALL the reasons. You’ll find there are not only seemingly endless reasons Jiu-Jitsu has a positive impact on your life, but you’ll also notice that each person has their own subjective relationship with the benefits of training and competing. Coach, Mike Jaramillo, refers to Jiu-Jitsu as his “Happy Pill” and has built a successful training program that has undoubtedly impacted so many athletes and practitioners worldwide.

I agree with Coach Mike about it being a Happy Pill… and, like so many other practitioners, I will credit Jiu-Jitsu with playing a major role in changing the trajectory of my life in a positive way… and maybe even saving it. I am eternally grateful to Renzo Gracie for creating an environment conducive to growth as an athlete, healing as a person, and strengthening as a community.

People of all ages and walks of life can benefit from Jiu-Jitsu training. If you aren’t a student, I strongly urge you to find your local gym. Most offer a free trial… When one feels right, JOIN. You won’t regret it. You might even find yourself (shortly after joining) giving someone else a long-winded reason why you love it.

Today, I’ll keep it simple… Since I originally had wanted to focus this on my fellow Military Veterans… as the Mental Health crisis continues to keep its malignant grip on so many of my brothers and sisters who serve.

Thankfully, many gyms and academies have discounts for Veterans and excellent programs like We Defy Foundation are working hard to connect our heroes with their local training facilities and Jiu-Jitsu communities.

Aside from the Physical and Physiological health benefits Jiu-Jitsu offers, I’m excited to share some of the many Mental Health and Psychological benefits it offers those who practice it regularly.

*It's important to note that while Jiu-Jitsu can offer Mental Health benefits, it is not a substitute for professional mental health care. If you are experiencing significant Mental Health issues, it is essential to seek help from a qualified healthcare provider.

Here are 5 potential Mental Health benefits of practicing Jiu-Jitsu:

Stress reduction:

Engaging in physical activity, such as Jiu-Jitsu, releases endorphins, which are known as "feel-good" hormones… Chemicals in the brain that promote feelings of happiness and well-being. Jiu-Jitsu can be an intense and physically demanding activity, providing an outlet for stress and helping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Increased self-confidence:

Jiu-Jitsu training involves progressive skill development, which can lead to a sense of accomplishment and improved self-esteem. As individuals learn and master new techniques, their confidence in their abilities grows. Developing a positive self-image and a sense of competence can be crucial in building resilience and reducing a negative self-image. Overcoming challenges and achieving goals on the mat can translate into increased self-esteem in other areas of life.

Improved social connections:

Jiu-Jitsu often takes place in a group setting, fostering a sense of community and social support. Being part of a supportive Jiu-Jitsu community can provide individuals with a network of like-minded individuals who share a common interest. Training sessions and competitions provide opportunities to interact and build relationships with fellow practitioners. These social connections can contribute to feelings of belonging, reduce feelings of isolation, and provide a supportive environment where individuals can discuss their challenges and seek help if needed.

Focus, concentration, and self-awareness:

Jiu-Jitsu requires focus, attention to detail, and body awareness. Through training, individuals can develop their mindfulness skills, learning to be fully present in the moment, and to observe their thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce stress, improve emotional regulation, and increase self-awareness… all of which can positively impact your overall Mental Health.

Moreover, the concentration and focus needed to anticipate your opponent's movements and react accordingly can help sharpen your mental faculties, while enhancing your ability to concentrate… both on and off the mat.

Adaptability, resilience, and problem-solving skills:

Jiu-Jitsu presents a dynamic and unpredictable environment where you need to adapt to different situations and opponents. Training in high-risk, high-variable situations on a regular basis can enhance your problem-solving skills, as you learn to think strategically, make quick decisions, and adjust your techniques based on the circumstances. Remember, how you do anything is how you do everything… Fine-tuning and enhancing these skills can transfer to real-life situations, making you more resilient and confident in the face of life’s many challenges.

Jiu-Jitsu definitely changed my life. You’ll find the success stories of so many individuals around the world will have Jiu-Jitsu within its pages. I strongly urge you to look into “The Gentle Art” and try a class for yourself and your family. If you are already a student, I’m sure you talk about it every chance you get… and please continue to do so. If you know a Veteran, please share the beautiful healing magic and confidence-building aspects of Jiu-Jitsu with them. Maybe even bring them to a class. You can change a life.

Cheers to continued growth… Mind. Body. Soul.

*Anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts or Mental Health issues should seek professional help from trained healthcare providers, such as Therapists, Counselors, or Psychiatrists, who can provide appropriate support and treatment.


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