Muay Thai and Depression

We all have our down days when we feel crushed and defeated, because life isn’t always easy. It can be really hard at times; painfully hard. If you are going through a trying period in your life right now, believe and know that we all have it in us to overcome the struggle.

I had some physical ailments several years back that made my life somewhat sedentary. After going through some life difficulties and a period of aimlessness, I decided to take up Muay Thai to be stronger, both physically and mentally. At the beginning, the regular painful bruises masked my emotional/mental pain. As days and weeks of training went by, I had traveled so far down the road of recovery even without realizing it. To date, the rewards of training have been numerous. I feel happier, more positive, healthier and certainly fitter. It has made me more focused in life which has had a positive effect in my work and life.

One of the best thing about Muay Thai training is definitely the endorphins rush. You know that high feeling you get after a really good workout? That’s endorphins rush and a Muay Thai session is guaranteed to give you one like a skillful lover. Endorphins are part of a group of chemicals secreted within the brain and nervous system. Among its many benefits, they trigger positive feeling, help you to relax and improve the quality of your sleep. In short, they are your body’s best defense and natural medicine against stress, anxiety or even depression.

Sure, you get the occasional bruise(s) or regular sore muscles but these are just steps -rather than obstacles- towards a more resilient you. If you adopt a positive mindset, your bruises can teach you many things, and make you stronger in every possible way. There are certainly a lot of worse ways to deal with stress, such as emotional eating, binge drinking, and porn addiction, which offers temporary relief with plenty of side effects.

There are still days when I feel down or out, and the first thing that always comes to mind is “Muay Thai”. Only yesterday morning, I was feeling stressed out by work and some personal issues. I decided to drag my languid body and soul to my fight gym, as it is now my de facto stress management mechanism. Once I stepped into the gym, seeing the friendly faces of my gym mates  and Krus and smelling the odd familiar scent of the gym, I could already feel the anxiety dissolving. There was a sense of peace as I performed my warming up, rubbed Thai liniment oil over my legs and subsequently wrapping my hands in fabric while rhythmic grunts and heavy hitting sounds fill the gym. Before my training session even ended, my body was drenched in heavy sweat and a wet, wide smile took over my heavy heart.

If you are dealing with a lot of stress in life right now, my own advice would be to take up Muay Thai, speaking out of my personal experience. There have also been many before me, who have overcome depression through Muay Thai. Your nearest fight gym -if of a decent quality- should most likely offer a free trial class. So pick the phone, or drop-in at the gym, and make an appointment for a trial. The worst that can happen is a good surge of endorphins and the best workout you have had in a long time, regardless of your fitness level. You can thank me later for the life-transforming experience.

Chok dee!

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