Martial Arts and Punchbags For Stress Relief

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Stress is a problem that exploded during the 20th century and which covers a multitude of different symptoms. It is normally the result of too much pressure being applied to an individual. There is no such thing as "good" stress; Rather, people’;s lives are enriched by being put under certain levels of pressure, which enables them to move out of their comfort zones, and grow as people. Without pressure, everyone’;s lives would simply roll along in endless boredom and more likely than not, also be a health risk, possibly leading to depression. When the pressure gets too much, or the recipient notes that they have been cornered – figuratively speaking – the pressure then becomes stress. So if you are a manager, this is the time to take that foot off the gas pedal, and give the other person a way out of the situation, in order not to impact their health and productivity, but also not to get landed with a lawsuit.

The health effects of stress are rooted in the innate physiological processes that the human species evolved to counter threats of imminent danger or death – the so-called "fight or flight" response. The response is automatic, and pumps our bodies with adrenaline, raising blood pressure and respiration rate, and pumping this fresh oxygenated blood to our brains and limbs, for fast thinking and decision-making, or fast running!

In modern day society, the types of response that would deal healthily with the adrenaline release of a stressful incident, are deemed to be unacceptable. You can not scream at people in the middle of a business meeting; or fly across your boss’;s desk and start strangling him. And you also can not just run away from a meeting. In other words, your automatic biochemical responses fill you with chemicals designed for action, but society insists you sit quietly and take it on the chin. When the levels of stress become too much for a person, the result can be explosive rage. This is usually the point when a person has endured multiple stressors, each releasing adrenaline, and their body is screaming for evasive or confrontational action. The very modern crime of road-rage is a real world example of the primitive natural instinct finally winning over the artificial teters of social rule.

Ironically – given that road-rage is illegal, and ruins many people’;s lives – the action response is the most healthy. Not releasing yourself from the grip of adrenaline is more dangerous, in an insidious way. It eats away at health, can lead to mental problems such as panic attacks, anger-management problems and depression. High blood pressure is more common in people who bottle up their rage, rather than letting it all go.

The solution is a very simple one: make time, three times a week, to do something violent! Find a martial arts club or a boxing club, and sign up. You can hit the punchbags and spar with other people in a controlled environment, where you will be safe. Just doing this simple action will of course keep you fit; but it will enable your body to metabolize away the adrenaline and other stress hormones in your blood, and release calming endorphins. The excellent thing about joining a martial arts club is that, if it is a good one, you will get all the exercise you need to appease your fight or flight response, but you will also get training in meditation. So as you progress, you will have a hobby that keeps you fit, helps you to defend yourself, enables you to control your stress, and if the stress does get the better of you, the martial art also offers an avenue – called a punchbag – to relieve that stress, rather than keeping hold of it or releasing it in a place where you really should not!