The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” For the purpose of this article, we can generalize that into the following understanding: Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America these anxiety disorders are the most common metal health disorder in the United States (U.S.), impacting 18.1% of the population each year. However, only 36.9 percent of people with the condition receive treatment.
But, does everyone with a mild case of anxiety require medical treatment?
Anxiety disorders are treatable. Even better: There are many means of treating the illness. Some of those include:
- Professional Therapy
- Complimentary & Alternative Treatment (e.g., kung fu)
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
What I’d like to discuss in this article, given the topic of my website, is the third option as it pertains to kung fu and its ability to help you with anxiety (and depression).
In kung fu disciplines, like those we teach at the Yost Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy in Terre Haute, Indiana, there are some truths of life and being that are understood. Some of these include:
- Using the wrong part of our brain will reduce motor skills and increase tension in the body;
- Increased tension in the body will lead to fatigue and damage to our self (which is in opposition to our act of self-defense and the idea of martial art use);
- The proper structure, breathing and mind intention help to reduce these issues and increases our integrity of intention (e.g., meditative actions while sitting, standing, moving or lying down); and,
- Learning to relate to our environments (e.g., temperature, people, etc.) helps us understand the importance of what we’re doing while we train as well as increase our stamina in being well, efficient and effective in life.
And, on that last note, learning to develop wellness, in kung fu, is more than building muscle. It has more to do with developing all of ourselves and learning to involve all of ourselves in what we do (something neurologists and psychiatrists call the flow state).
In kung fu the student partakes in a number of exercises and drills and disciplines in order to become just that – whole and wholly involved.
By the way, did you know that the combination of physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation is one of the top ten practices of complementary and alternative medicine? This is why so many doctors recommend it.
If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, we always recommend you speak to your doctor about it. But, don’t give up on yourself and give power over to a medication. Where you do have control (and don’t require medication) take action by seeking a kwoon near you that can help you with kung fu for the reduction of your anxiety and depression.
Empower yourself to life!™
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