Think about how stressful life gets as an adult. Worrying about work, paying bills and supporting a family can seem overwhelming. With that in mind, the American Psychological Association released a report parents of teens may find shocking. New research shows teenagers may be more stressed out than their parents. Even more worrisome, the study states high school students’ problems will continue into adulthood if they don’t “reverse their current trajectory of chronic illness, poor health and shorter lifespans.” Kids and teens need an outlet to blow off steam, and many have found that in martial arts.
Any age can make a change when it comes to healthily handling life’s difficulties. Martial arts help kids and adults develop positive, responsible strategies for dealing with stress. If these skills are taught at an early age, they can set a child up for success throughout their teenage and adult years.
Improved Outlook on Life –Martial arts emphasize confidence, physical fitness and teamwork. This foundation of skills help kids and teens grow into responsible, balanced adults. The positive results help children out with current challenges, resulting in improved grades and lower stress levels.
Accepting Their Body – Some advertisements for beauty, health and weight loss products contain an ugly message: Your body has to look a certain way, or it’s worthless. Kids may start believing this falsehood after hearing it over and over again. Martial arts counteract this. In a dojo, it’s not about what a body looks like. The focus is on what a body can do, regardless of size or shape. It sends a positive message to children that abilities matter more than appearance.
Self-Discipline – One of the most important ways martial arts help children is teaching them to concentrate on a task from start to finish. On the mat, persistence and practice trump instant gratification. Learning the values of patience, respect for others and discipline at a young age helps cut stress levels later in life.
Self-Esteem – Confidence isn’t a trait everyone is born with, but it can be built by achieving goals. In martial arts, kids are constantly focused on completing their goals. Their self-esteem is given boosts both big and small whenever they learn a new technique or earn their next belt rank.
Respect – It’s one of the foundations of martial arts. Children learn to positively interact with authority figures. That means they’re prepared for everything from taking lessons under a teacher or meetings with their future boss.
Physical Fitness – Kids and adults become stronger, more flexible and healthier through martial arts training. These skills even carry over to other sports they participate in. Exercising reduces stress, helping both their physical and mental health.
Listening Skills –Today’s world moves fast. When information can come instantly through text messages, Facebook and other sources, it can be difficult for kids to develop attention spans long enough to take in lessons during school. The kind of focus martial arts builds in kids not only can help them pay attention in class, but later in their lives as well.
Teamwork – Kids aren’t alone during their martial arts training. They learn with support both from instructors and students. This team-centered environment helps children learn to navigate working with others, an essential skill both in school and life.
Socialization Skills – People who share common interests tend to get to know each other. In a martial arts class, peers from diverse backgrounds have a common bond. That helps them learn to relate and work with others in friendly, positive ways.
Anti-Bullying and Non-Violent Conflict Resolution – Over three million kids skip school due to bullying every month. Bullying at any age can be a huge source of stress. That’s why it’s absolutely essential kids learn non-aggressive, positive ways to deal with this important issue. Martial arts training can help students to respond in non-violent, calm and controlled ways when handling these difficult situations.
Life can be stressful. That fact isn’t changing anytime soon. Young children, teens and adults can still learn healthy ways to deal with stress through martial arts training. The earlier in life these skills are learned, the longer they’ll last.