Ever wake up in a bad mood? You may notice that after you get up and get moving, you start to feel a lot better and your mood begins to improve.
Have you ever had a class that when you started you really didn’t feel too good? Then after a good warm up, you started to feel much better and ended up having a great class.
Scientists tell us that exercise influences mood. It correlates with an uptick in attitude and outlook, not to mention the overall physical benefits that come along with it.
Studies go so far as to say that physical exercise may be an alternative to traditional forms of treatment in some types of depression.
Those of us who are active in the martial arts know from experience that this is true – motion influences positive emotion. In other words, our minds are profoundly influenced by what we do (and don’t do) with our bodies.
What this means is that it’s possible to go from feelings of anxiety and frustration to ones of calmness and positivity with the help of a great martial arts class.
For example, when class starts with 10-15 minutes of proper warm up, it lays the foundation for what’s to come. But more importantly, it also serves to prime everyone emotionally through calisthenics and basic body mechanics.
(This is also why we like to see students arrive for class about 10-15 minutes early – to get themselves mentally and physically ready for a great class. Another benefit of early arrival is being around other positive, energized and highly-motivated peers.)
We know that when you combine physical movements and a powerful philosophical base, you have a dynamic combination. Add in the pragmatic elements of self-defense, and the martial arts delivers the complete package.
Developing a consistent habit of training puts your mind on the right track. Like any other habit, it takes time, effort and energy at the beginning, but the rewards are well worth it. The next time you feel a little tense or your emotions are on the dark side, remember that a body in motion both improves and influences your emotions.
Practice uchikomi, do a few bridges, drop down and do some push ups and sit ups. Or even better – come to class. In just a few minutes, your body will begin to warm up and feel much better, and soon your emotions will be out of the driver’s seat and back in the passenger seat. Your mood will improve and you’ll have more energy for the things you care most about.
Learn more about the training at Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
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