Anger management: it’s something that everyone tends to need at one point or another. A rough day at work, relational frustrations, or any number of life-related events can cause anger to bubble up inside. Often, reducing feelings of anger once they have risen inside can be a great challenge. It’s easy to stay angry.
While anger is a completely normal human emotion, it is also really important to learn how to manage anger appropriately. No one really enjoys the feeling of being angry, and yet sometimes, the struggle to find healthy outlets for anger management leads to simmering feelings of anger for a long time. Finding some techniques for managing and reducing anger will help you lead a healthier and more enjoyable life.
Fortunately, martial arts has a lot to offer in this department. It is well-rounded when it comes to helping guide anger management and getting you back on the path to being happier again. Here are four ways that martial arts will help with anger management.
1) Martial Arts Makes You Move Your Body
Martial arts will always get you moving your body. Different styles will move differently, but nonetheless, you will be actively moving and sweating during martial arts. Movement is one of the best ways to diffuse and manage anger. Exercise releases endorphins into the body, which will help you to feel happier and view your situations more positively.
Exercise also naturally reduces stress hormones in the body, making movement the best cure for anger. The next time you are feeling angry, be sure to grab your gear and head to a martial arts class. The movement will help you manage your anger in a healthy manner, and you’ll walk out of class feeling so much better.
2) Martial Arts Makes You Mindful
Martial arts has a unique way of focusing your mind. When you feel anger boiling up, martial arts will help you pivot your attention and focus on something else. Whether you find yourself sparring with a partner or hitting a bag with certain combinations in a Muay Thai class, or rolling or drilling a position in Jiu-Jitsu, you will have to narrow your attention and be mindful of your movements, your partner, and your goals and tasks at hand.
Mindful focus is an excellent way to help manage anger, and martial arts is full of this aspect in so many ways. If you’re struggling with anger, try focusing your attention and practice being mindful through martial arts.
3) Martial Arts Helps Hone In On Your Breathing
Breathing is an important part of martial arts. Spend some time listening to someone hit the bag or pads in Muay Thai and you will quickly see that they have intention in their breathing. Listen to someone rolling in Jiu-Jitsu and you’ll find that their breathing sounds drastically different, and yet, it is also incredibly full of intention.
Anger tends to quicken our breathing and keep us in a state of “fight or flight.” Martial arts combats this short, anger-laden breathing with slower, more intentional breathwork.
In Jiu-Jitsu, your breath needs to be calm, slow and utilized well. If you are on the bottom of someone much bigger than yourself, or even just someone with great pressure, slow, long breaths will help you manage your position and avoid feelings of panic or anxiety.
Breathing in Muay Thai sounds different yet carries similar importance, allowing you to fully throw your strikes while simultaneously flexing your abdominal muscles for protection from oncoming strikes.
Regardless of your chosen martial arts, breathing is typically an important aspect of the sport for one reason or another. If you neglect to breathe properly in martial arts, you will have a more challenging time carrying out the tasks of the sport. Breathing, coupled with mindfulness, is a sure-fire way to utilize martial arts as you work through managing anger.
4) Martial Arts Offers Visualization Practices
Visualization is another excellent way for managing anger. Fortunately, martial arts is full of these types of opportunities. Whether you are shadowboxing and visualizing an opponent, their movements, and their strikes, or you are moving through a new technique in Jiu-Jitsu on your own and visualizing how you will complete the technique, your body will begin to calm down.
Visualization takes you out of your current space and puts you, mentally, in another space. It helps combat anxiety and anger by forcing your brain into a space that is focused on a goal. Martial arts has no shortage of opportunities for visualization – whether it be visualizing your own movements, visualizing someone else’s movements, or even visualizing an interaction between the two of you. Learning to visualize a more positive scenario than the one that is currently causing you frustration or anger will aid in managing your emotions.
The next time you are feeling angry, try stopping right where you are and practice visualizing yourself sparring, hitting a bag, responding to a takedown, defending a kick, or even shadow boxing with an opponent. It’s a quick, easy, and sure-fire way to utilize martial arts in anger management.
The Best Way To Manage Your Anger
Managing anger can feel overwhelming sometimes. When a new scenario pops up and you are immediately thrust into a state of anger, it can be challenging to get your mind and body to “snap out of it” and get back to your baseline. Martial arts offers so much in this regard.
Whether you are physically moving your body and creating the release of feel-good endorphins, practicing being mindful of where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing, working on your breathing, or engaging in visualization practices, you are sure to find release from your anger while practicing martial arts.
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