There are so many studies that show that physical activity helps your mental health, from managing stress and anxiety to helping you sleep better at night and having more energy in the day! While any form of exercise can help with this, a lot of people don’t enjoy things like going for a run or doing the same old gym routine. Jiu-Jitsu is a fun and interesting way to get your whole body moving and can benefit you mentally beyond this.
It can be hard to just turn your brain off and focus on something else, but using BJJ as an outlet makes it easier through being forced to focus on the now. It’s not easy to think about your bad day at work or other things in your life that are causing you to be stressed when you’re concentrating on making a technique work or trying to stay calm when someone is trying to catch you in a submission! Jiu-Jitsu forces you to use a lot of energy which can relieve stress, taking your negative feelings from the day and channelling them into something positive! You end up going home with a clear head ready for the next day.
Your mental health may be suffering from feeling isolated or alone. BJJ is a very social sport and at Gracie Barra we are proud of the friendly and welcoming atmosphere in our academies. Students work together to help each other out, and often end up becoming good friends through the amount of time we spend together in close contact! We are like a family and having that sense of belonging is important for your mental health.
It’s not just kids who need help with self-confidence and BJJ can also have the same impact on adults. It gives you a journey of progression, and while you’re not earning stripes and belts every class, you can look back on how you were a month ago and see how much you have improved. Techniques will start to click and you’ll get more of those little victories that show that your hard work and dedication is paying off.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a challenge and you get good at learning how to accept trying and failing. It’s not a loss, just something you can learn from and you get better at working through mistakes to grow in the sport. Your willingness to jump in and try something new and challenging can help towards the confidence you have in yourself!
Some days it can be hard to get yourself into class, but those days are the most important and just showing up will be a win! This crosses over into helping with other things like anxiety, where building a routine can help you to overcome dips in motivation to do anything because you’ve disciplined yourself into going to train BJJ.
It’s normal to feel anxious before class, but building that routine can give you a sense of calm and security. At Gracie Barra, our classes always follow the same structure, this helps with knowing what to expect when you walk in the building, helping you come to training with more confidence. This helps to build your routine which will help calm your anxiety in the long term.
If you or someone you know is seriously struggling with mental illness, it is always advised to seek professional help. While BJJ isn’t a substitute for this, these are just some of the ways it can certainly help ease symptoms and help students manage their mental health.