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The power of a glass half full

June 26, 2014

Martial arts can improve positive thinking.

When martial arts students work on developing new skills or try to reach the next belt, they may say to themselves, “I can do this!” or “I can’t – it’s too hard.” These inner voices can influence students’ feelings, behaviors and actions and have a direct effect on their success or failure. It’s important for martial arts students to be aware of whether their thoughts are productive or not.

However, only 19 percent of 3,542 respondents said they monitor their thoughts throughout the day, according to Southwestern Consulting’s Focused 40 online self-assessment. Rory Vaden, a self-discipline strategist, mentioned in his blog post that less than 1 in 5 people is aware of his or her own thoughts. Additionally, 76 percent don’t have a list of positive affirmations, which are statements people tell themselves depending on the environment or situation.

Vaden referred to this process as cyclical. People’s affirmations can shape their attitudes, which influences their actions and actual results.

The Mayo Clinic indicated positive thinking occurs when students approach difficult situations in more constructive ways, and it comes with health benefits such as increased life spans, lower levels of stress and better coping skills during hardships. Typically, optimistic people maintain a healthier lifestyle they get more physical activity and follow a well-balanced diet. This proves that positive thinking isn’t just good for your mind, it’s beneficial for your physical health as well. Optimism can even translate to increased resistance to common colds.

Similarly, martial arts can lead to improved physical and mental health. While Karate or Tae Kwon Do can help children and adults get more exercise, martial arts can have positive mental benefits as well, such as increased focus and a more constructive approach to difficulties.