BJJ for Mental Health – Benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Martial arts have always been an incredible way to achieve balance. So it’s no surprise that people turn to BJJ for mental health the same as they do meditation. The benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu extend far beyond the physical body. Training in Jiu Jitsu classes helps with discipline, focus, determination – to name just a few benefits of learning and practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

In this article, we look at the following aspects of Jiu Jitsu for mental health:

  • Does BJJ help with depression
  • BJJ for fitness and mental health
  • Jiu Jitsu for anxiety
  • Benefits of BJJ for mental health

Let’s begin!

BJJ and Depression

If you are suffering from depression or other mental health issues, it is important for you to contact a licensed therapist. The purpose of this article is to show the mental health benefits of BJJ, how it can help you in everyday life, as well as the physical benefits of training.

Any kind of exercise will help with both your mental and physical state. Doctors around the world are prescribing physical activities as opposed to drugs more and more in recent years. However, not everyone wants to go to a traditional gym and run on a treadmill, take a class or roll out the yoga mat. This is where BJJ and mental health intersect.

Some people have a natural and healthy need for competition. That being said, not everyone wants to get punched in the face to quell their competitive fire. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, by its very design, is meant to abate that situation. It’s a toolbox meant for stopping the stronger and larger opponent from being able to bully you.

Unlike some of the other popular martial arts such as Boxing, Kickboxing, Karate and Muay Thai, BJJ is more focused on complex problem solving to get out of bad situations. The mental benefits of Jiu Jitsu include increased confidence, self awareness and focus to name a few.

BJJ, Mental Health and Fitness

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a very mentally focused sport. You cannot rely on just strength alone to win a match or even escape a disadvantaged position. You must think ahead, each move, no matter how small is a set up for the next.

Though other martial arts such as kickboxing also rely on set ups in order to land strikes, BJJ is much more nuanced and requires a lot of brain power and discipline in order to be successful on the mat. This is one reason why many people have turned to BJJ for mental health reasons.

Often, feeling down in the dumps can be a result of how a person views themselves. It’s a tough world out there and it can be easy to internalize criticism from your peers, leading to low self esteem and other mental health issues. There are of course mental health problems that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu cannot help with and require the services of a professional clinician. Never be afraid to ask for help, there are plenty of services out there that can aid you. 

Jiu Jitsu, Anxiety and Self Esteem

In today’s world, many people experience anxiety and don’t even know that they are. The hustle and bustle of daily life, the rat race, job related stress and more can all add into a feeling of near panic.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for anxiety might seem like the polar opposite of what you should do. Going to a gym and participating in a combat sport to ease your mind probably isn’t everyone’s go-to method. However, BJJ is a very different martial art from its distant cousins boxing and kickboxing. Jiu Jitsu helps anxiety in most cases. In fact, studies show that Jiu Jitsu for veterans with PTSD can be a very effective treatment for symptoms.

While learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you will constantly be rolling with a partner. Many people experience social anxiety, the fear of interacting with others. BJJ breaks down that barrier and gives you an amazing chance to not only learn from your peers, but to know them. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community is extremely open while also being very tight knit. When you are on the mat, you are family.

Experiencing this level of camaraderie can really help you push your boundaries and in turn lower your stress levels in general.

The Mental Health Benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Life in general can be tough. With the state of the world, constant negativity on traditional and social media, runaway inflation and supply chain issues – it can be tough to maintain balance and inner peace.

Martial arts have long been utilized as a way to calm the mind while also preparing for complex and often stressful life situations. The mental health benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu simply cannot be understated. In Sun Tzu’s Art of War he states “If you know the enemy, but do not know yourself, you will suffer the fate of one thousand battles”.

In the modern world, our battles are in everyday life. Whether it be a difficult boss, a fellow employee that has it out for you, or a relationship that just isn’t right. In BJJ, you will find your peace on the mat, learn about who you are and let the outside world be just that for a little while.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches composure, self discipline and patience – all very necessary traits for success in everyday life.

Jiu Jitsu and Mental Health, How are they Related?

As with any martial art,Jiu Jitsu and mental health are intertwined. Martial arts have been used to improve focus, instill proper discipline and expand the mind for thousands of years. Jiu Jitsu also helps the practitioner to better understand the relationship between body and mind.

Having a deeper connection with your body can help relieve stress and build confidence. To know oneself is to better understand the world. While practicing your BJJ, you will have plenty of people around you to not only learn from, but also have the opportunity to pass on the lessons you have learned to your peers both on the mat and in life. Additionally, the intensity of BJJ can help with mental health since exercise has a positive impact on mental health symptoms.

Building healthy relationships is also key to establishing a positive mindset, the hallmark of good mental health. Though Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is at times a solo journey, you will also have your team to rely on in times of struggle which is one of the main mental benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Even if you feel like you are alone, you can always talk to someone. When it comes to Jiu Jitsu, mental health improvement as well as stability are most certainly a goal.

If you are struggling, make sure to reach out to a professional for help. You can certainly improve your overall outlook on life by practicing BJJ. Depression however, in its clinical form, should be treated by a doctor or mental health professional.

Many people practice Jiu Jitsu for anxiety. Building self confidence can really help people who have problems with anxiety – especially social anxiety. Sometimes anxiety stems from the environment a person lives within. That could be stress from being overwhelmed at work, struggles with interpersonal relationships and many other factors. While on the mat, you will be in a positive and controlled setting surrounded by like minded people who want to help you on your journey – not hinder you on the way. So does Jiu Jitsu help with anxiety? In most cases yes.

The mental health benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are widely known. Being in a positive setting where you have the room to grow and learn is one of the staples of BJJ. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues can be helped by training in Jiu Jitsu. However it is important to note that if you are struggling with mental health issues, you should speak with a suitably qualified professional.

In order to answer this question, you need to test out some of them yourself and see what fits best with you. Where one person may thrive in kickboxing and really enjoy heavy contact to get out some frustration, others may prefer the finesse and low impact nature of Jiu Jitsu. Depression, social anxiety, generalized anxiety and several other mental health issues can all be reduced by practicing martial arts. While you can certainly practice Jiu Jitsu for mental health, it is important to reach out to a professional in the event that you are struggling.

Yes. The mental benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu certainly include stress reduction. Since stress can be the root cause of other mental health issues, it is a good idea to train in Jiu Jitsu. Social anxiety and many other mental health issues can be improved by reducing your overall stress – BJJ is one of the best martial arts for doing so.