Your brain is like any other muscle in your body, and it requires stimulation and exercise to ensure optimum flexibility and performance. Without, it your muscles become stagnant and sore, for your brain this often translates into boredom and laziness. Such a state can easily lead one down to a spiral of negative mental health.
Muay Thai is excellent at counteracting this as it constantly stimulates the brain and keeps it working and developing through constant learning, reflection and improvement. Learning and identifying your own development leads to happiness and committing to this helps perpetuate the process. Furthermore, it will help build self-confidence and instil a sense of purpose – both of which help build a positive, forward thinking metal state.
Connect with other people
Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. Developing relationships with new people can be difficult within the fast-paced lifestyles many of us live, however, sports, hobbies and group activities are a great way of meeting and connecting with people who enjoy the same things as you. Given the fact that Muay Thai is most effectively practiced inside a gym with others, it makes the gym a suitable place to connect with other people. What makes the gym setting even more interesting in this regard is that people from all walks of life, cultures, ages and identities enjoy Muay Thai and, by meeting them in gyms and potentially extending friendships outside the gym, you can broaden your horizons and learn new things beyond Muay Thai too.
As such, the common interest in Muay Thai helps provides plenty an opportunity to meet new people with whom you can learn, grow and develop. It’s not easy for everyone but the open environment of a gym should make this easier. Being confident and approachable during training also means you can easily get training partners and can meet new people as a result.
By being part of a community like this, you can develop a sense of belonging and build your self-confidence. You’ll also be learning from people and helping others learn which is a very fulfilling experience for all involved.
Push yourself physically
There’s plenty of evidence showcasing the benefits physical exercise provides people both physically and mentally. Any form of physical activity has the potential to enhance our wellbeing. In fact, even a brisk 10-minute walk boosts our alertness, energy and mood. While pushing yourself through more intensive exercise like Muay Thai is likely to leave you more tired than energised, it’s undoubtable that you’ll experience heightened alertness and a positive mood as a result. Pushing through the challenges that intensive sessions present also helps you achieve, learn and grow which, in turn, further boosts your mental wellbeing.
In addition, it’s likely that it won’t just be you pushing yourself in sessions. Your team members will do the same and training partners will spur one another on to break boundaries and better themselves. Not only does this boost self-esteem but it will also help reduce stress, relieve anxiety and build a sense of fulfilling camaraderie.
Experience and fight through pain
This point builds on the one above but focuses on the mental and physical growth that the endurance of voluntary suffering and pain brings to Muay Thai practitioners. Effective Muay Thai is often difficult and can leave you both physically and mentally exhausted. Numerous times during your Muay Thai training experience you’ll feel sick (or even be sick), contemplate quitting and get angry at your inability to execute something properly. All this is necessary to learn and grow one’s ability in the sport and enduring the pain these experiences bring helps develop one’s character and build perseverance.
Reflecting on these experiences after you’ve endured the pain and suffering will build your confidence and develop a sense of achievement – after all, you could have just quit but instead you pushed on and proved yourself. This will further build your self-esteem, your self-confidence and self-belief in your ability to succeed even in the face of discomfort and pain.
As you continually train Muay Thai, you’ll come to recognise that there is always something to refine, hone, learn and improve. That said, you’ll also experience plenty of frustration when trying to develop and build your arsenal yet struggle to do so or fail to recognise any improvement. However, your persistence and dedication to improve will develop resiliency, which is incredibly valuable for life outside Muay Thai as it helps you spring back from the many challenges we all face in life. Having the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and look beyond the immediate challenges and pain is crucial to continuous development and a strong mindset.
The importance of maintaining one’s mental wellbeing is crucial for performing at ones best in all aspects of life, as well as enjoying life itself. Fortunately, mental health is no longer a taboo topic to for discussion and it’s importance is increasingly discussed and studied. Often sport is recognised as an avenue to helping people overcome troubles with mental health. Muay Thai provides numerous opportunities for doing so while developing your physical health too.
The trials and tribulations people experience when practicing Muay Thai help build resilience, self-confidence and self-belief - all of which help build character and enable people to face the many challenges of life with a stronger mindset. As such, Muay Thai can not only help you elevate your mental wellbeing in the short term but help you strengthen your overall mindset for the long-term.