Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that has been gaining popularity worldwide and is praised by countless celebrities for its physical and mental health benefits.
But does Jiu Jitsu really offer mental health benefits?
The short answer is: Yes, Jiu Jitsu and mental health go hand in hand, as BJJ offers numerous mental health benefits. In this blog post, we will explore how Jiu-Jitsu can help you overcome mental barriers and achieve a positive mindset.
Mental Health Benefits of Jiu Jitsu
Jiu Jitsu is a martial art and combat sport that helps to improve your mental health in many ways. Lets see what BJJ can do for you:
#1 Lowers Stress and Anxiety
Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, which are known as the “feel-good” hormones. Endorphins help reduce stress levels, boost mood, and improve sleep quality, which again increases physical and mental health.
A great example of someone who benefitted greatly from Jiu Jitsu’s anxiety-lowering effects is Demi Lovato. The singer made it to BJJ Blue Belt and says “It’s empowering, for sure”. Check out our full article on Demi’s Jiu Jitsu journey so far:
#2 Boosts Confidence
Jiu Jitsu is tough at first, but as you keep going, you will make progress and realize that you can get better. The countless milestones and positive reinforcements along the way boost confidence which translates to every other aspect of life.
If you can deal with a physical fight, you can deal with almost everything else!
#3 Builds Discipline
Exhausting BJJ sessions can be really tough, but they will make your mind stronger. When you are on the mats with somebody else, you are far less likely to quit. Therefore, you will gradually become more disciplined.
There’s no reason why you can’t be the next David Goggins:
#4 Breaks Barriers
Close physical contact with strangers can be intimidating and uncomfortable in the beginning and takes a while to overcome. With time, you will learn to deal with it and even enjoy it.
#5 Teaches Trust
Jiu Jitsu can be intense and dangerous sometimes. Therefore, you need the right training partner to train safely and effectively. You will learn to trust someone and put your well-being in his hands.
Of course, you shouldn’t blindly trust someone, but you also have to develop a certain level of trust, or you will make your life much harder.
#6 Keeps you Humble
There’s always a bigger fish. No matter how good you get in BJJ, there will always be someone that makes you look like it’s your first day on the mats.
This way, Jiu Jitsu keeps you grounded and hungry to improve.
#7 Mental Toughness
Jiu Jitsu promotes mental toughness as you will learn to fight through very uncomfortable situations.
Jiu Jitsu promotes mindfulness as it requires focus and concentration. Practitioners are forced to live in the moment and let go of all other thoughts, or otherwise, get choked out. This way they will become more aware of their thoughts and emotions.
As a result, this awareness can lead to a better understanding of oneself and one’s triggers, ultimately helping individuals manage their mental health more effectively.
What Does BJJ Teach You Mentally?
Jiu-Jitsu is often called “arte suave” or “the gentle art” because it emphasizes technique and leverages over brute force.
Practicing Jiu-Jitsu teaches individuals discipline, perseverance, and humility. It also helps build confidence and self-esteem as one becomes more proficient in the art.
Additionally, Jiu Jitsu teaches you to control your emotions and stay calm under pressure.
How to Avoid and Overcome Mental Block in Jiu Jitsu
Jiu Jitsu can be mentally challenging, and practitioners common to experience mental blocks.
The first mental block most people have is starting to strain in BJJ in the first place. If you are already on the mats, you are already past the biggest hurdle. If not, just go for it, the BJJ community is very welcoming.
Later, mental blocks can prevent you from performing and competing at your best and can be frustrating. In the end, competing in BJJ is not only a physical but also a mental challenge.
However, there are ways to overcome them. For example, make sure to travel to BJJ competitions in groups with supportive people you trust. They can cheer you up and help you warm up to get into the right mindset to compete.
Finally, plateauing and stalling progression can be very demotivation and take a toll on you mentally. To overcome plateaus, make sure to incorporate dedicated and focused training practices as well as tracking and planning of your progress.
Check out our article on planning and journaling for BJJ which also includes our free BJJ journaling template.
If you are thinking about starting your BJJ journey, you should definitely give it a try. BJJ classes don’t cost much for what they offer and what they can do for you.
Jiu Jitsu and mental health go together, as you cannot develop a strong body without developing a strong mind. You will experience the countless mental and physical benefits of BJJ. Check out our article on the best BJJ body transformations if you want to learn more.
If you are already training or even competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, great! Your mental and physical health will benefit greatly. Keep going.
If you think about quitting BJJ, we urge you to think twice and evaluate your reasons again. Sometimes we have to understand the underlying cause first.