Dealing with Mental Illness in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Like all exercise, the physical movements in Jiu Jitsu can leave a massive positive impact on one’s brain. The endorphins released while training can have an encouraging effect on one’s mental state on and off the mat. The constant physical contact in Jiu Jitsu can have a positive effect as well. When someone doesn’t have this, it can leave them feeling isolated and not have connections with other people. Studies show that newborns that don’t receive any physical contact from caregivers can leave lasting effect on them that could lead to mental or social disorders. Fortunately, since Jiu Jitsu can’t be performed without a partner, that physical contact and working hard together builds bonds and lasting friendships. Jiu Jitsu also teaches humility. It’s a constant struggle against one’s own perspective. In some mental illnesses, people get stuck in a single viewpoint and that’s how they see the world, but with Jiu Jitsu, it forces them to see the world is larger than we previously imagined. Lastly, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to a problem. There are some techniques or submissions that won’t work on everyone and the same could be said about people struggling with mental illness. There isn’t a treatment that works for one person that will work for the next. With Jiu Jitsu, I don’t think it will cure someone with a mental illness, but it will help them understand themselves better and help cope with the struggles they have internally and hopefully be the driving force in their recovery.