DEPRESSION - HOW TO USE MARTIAL ARTS TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION

Depression is as old as humankind, and is one of the oldest described diseases in the history of medicine.
World Health Organization predictions suggest that depression in 2020 will be the second cause of disability for general population, immediately after cardiovascular disease, and in 2030 even the first.
Though it was known in all cultures and civilizations, depression is certainly an important determinant of our time and there is an impression that today we are dealing with epidemic proportions.
Depression affects people of all status around the world.
Today more than 600 million people suffer from depression.
Most people will go through more than 10 (minor or major) depressive episodes during their lifetime. It is believed that every fifth woman and every tenth man experience a major depressive episode in their lives, and that women are more affected; the ratio of women and men being 2:1, but the fact is that men are less likely to seek help.

Depression in most patients begins gradually and almost completely unnoticed. Their contacts and ordinary conversations with people slowly become obsolete and boring, they gradually lose interest in everyday small things, they feel uncomfortable in society as the interest in close and dear people is slowly disappearing, their souls no longer have joy, and almost every thought and every task to be done is followed by an inexplicable sense of discomfort and fear.
In the case of the ill, there is apparently unprovoked sorrow that lasts and lasts and follows a man for days and does not stop at all.
The causes of depression are closely related to poorer mental health, and experts agree that depression causes a man to feel uncomfortable with mental pain and that this is the worst life experience for a man to face.

Everyone can be sad because they have not achieved a goal, because they have experienced a failure or experiences a certain separation, but that does not mean a depressive disorder either. A person who normally mourns can optimistically look at the future and not lose hope while a person with clinical depression is hopeless, pessimistic, and thinks it will never be better. The feeling of self-esteem is in people with normal grief preserved while in people with depression it is significantly disrupted and associated with the sense of inexplicable guilt and reverberation with the abundance of black, negative thoughts. All of us sometimes find ourselves in life situations that we do not know how to deal with, which we are pressed and pulled down - into a state of depression.
Simply, certain circumstances of life made it possible that life at a certain point required us more than we could give.
Stressors are sometimes so powerful that they also lead to breakdown and psychotic symptoms in a healthy individual.
There are various stressors such as; the global economic crisis with an emphasis on unemployment, growing and more responsible jobs, the use of constantly new technologies, various stressful debts, job or family abuse, job losses or changes in the job, personal financial backdrop, indebtedness, a higher material loss or losing home, severe living conditions, the loss of loved ones, post-natal depression, weather disasters, seasonal (winter) depression, frequent terrorist attacks, and many other different stresses.
The real depression should be diagnosed when a person is constantly feeling sad every day in a period of two weeks or longer and when nothing can cheer one up again.


In the case of psychological symptoms of depression, seek advice from mental health professionals. Be careful, there is no easy way to treat depression because your brain is not easy either. Also, no depressive patient is similar to another, so treatment should always be individual. The psychiatrist will most likely prescribe tablets after the interview. Such tablets - antidepressants do not actually treat the disease, but just suppress the sensations you are experiencing.
Such tablets will reduce the feeling of fear and anxiety, but only for a while, because the medication will not work the same after a certain time and will not be so useful, and if you suddenly stop taking it you will feel a terrible abstinence crisis.
The psychotherapist will give you different kinds of analysis of your problems, but it will give you more food for thought, instead of relieving you of excessive thoughts. That's why depressed people have too many thoughts in mind and too much to deal with these thoughts and believe in them. They do not realize that they are just thoughts, some particular ideas or concepts, in fact something unreal. Only when we stop believing and torturing ourselves with our own thoughts and start to let them freely pass through our minds ,then suffering and depression stop.
In group therapy, you will hear from other people about their various problems which you might consider to be at that moment unable to listen to because you have too many of your own. Also, you will realize that you are unable to help yourself to anything else and then you will know the fact that the best therapy is still self-help and self-cure.

You will gradually accept the fact that the best thing for your self-help and self-indulgence is moderate but regular exercise. It is known that physical activity encourages the production of endorphin neurotransmitters responsible for a sense of satisfaction, and it is also proven to stimulate the growth of new brain cells. After exercise, you will feel better because of serotonin that supports the feeling of happiness. Exercising outdoors, as well as exposing to the sunlight certainly help too.

One of the best, if not the best, self-help techniques in treating depression, is exercising some of the martial arts skills. Practising martial arts not only relieves and removes depression but also greatly prevents its return. Certainly one of the most effective exercises is the breathing exercise, whether it is a known technique of breathing yoga - pranayama, or similar breathing technique - uyai, or kung-fu breathing technique -chi kung, or karate technique -kokya (aikido, tae kwon do) or breathing technique with the emphasis on exhalation technique - kiai (kihap). The breathing technique helps people with depression to relax and calms them down.
One of the best ways to breathe is the technique in which a slow inhalation is carried out through the nose while you count up to three, followed by a shorter pause, and a slow release on the mouth with a count of six. The breathing can be performed so that we breathe first and then later, through the other nostril. Another method of breathing is the more powerful inhalation of the nose, followed by the more powerful exhalation of the mouth, with the knocks being carried out by the kiai (kihap). The sufferers from depression should initially practice breathing techniques next to the windows in their bedroom or living room, and only after a while in their backyard or nearby park. Certainly, proper meditation will also help the patients, but it needs to be done gradually and with control.
They will also be helped to perform the appropriate katas (forms), especially those with an emphasis on breathing technique. It is well known that some of the kata (forms) are considered as a kind of meditation on the move (sanchin,tensho, wuji-qigong,thai chi, etc.). It is also good if those suffering from depression while performing the kata, perform only some sections of the kata, not the entire kata, especially not some complicated and harder (masterful) kata. At the beginning, the kata can be run in their own flat, then in the yard or in the nearby park, and later somewhere in the nature.
Depressed people need to leave their home after a certain time and start practicing in the nature and outdoors, preferably with exposure to sunlight. Starting a training session for the sick will be initially quite a traumatic and stressful event. The depressed person will be very reluctant to come to the training. It is very important for instructors, or their assistants, to learn that such a person can behave rather uncommonly. They should note that a certain sick person is dejected, slow, acting sadly and listlessly, and above all, avoiding other exercisers and searching for solitude. It is good for such persons (and probably they will ask for it themselves) to let them do some training alone. Do not force them into training or ask to do some more complicated or heavier task because too many demands can increase the feeling of failure. Give such people some lightweight task for which you are sure they will successfully solve, and praise them for a well-done one, preferably in front of the others. It would be also good to give such persons some lightweight task, which they will have to do in the near future, for example, for a few days. The justification will be that you have just given this assignment because you are certain they will do it better than others. Assign an older member of the club or a trusted person, a task to visit such persons in their home, with the justification that you've forgotten to tell them something important and that he or she can definitely come to the next training because you count on them.

Exercising martial arts greatly increases people's awareness of themselves and their abilities and eliminates anxiety.
It is good for a depressed and anxious person to be in the company of stable personalities with strong character, who will show them that various life problems can be treated as a specific challenge rather than some unsolvable problem.
An anxious person will be influenced by a company of strong personalities, who are ready to fight, ie those who are born fighters, used to various challenges and life difficulties.
Such persons will help the depressed one to gradually change his or her negative thinking and hopelessness into positive attitude.
A depressed person will feel a certain loss of strength and energy, so that various other people in the club - such as leaders, competitors, or some of the members - will instigate the depressed one, using their own example, to try and exercise more. In a group of strong and self-confident people, the anxious and depressed person will feel safe and secure, and will gradually want to become a strong and confident
person, too. A depressed person feels that no one wants to be with him/her, because it is known that all people prefer to be in the company of cheerful people rather than depressed ones, but it is not significant for the exercisers of martial arts. Those practicing martial arts do not have time for fear, insecurity, or any regret for the disadvantages they have experienced, but they keep fighting against the troubles, because life itself is a kind of struggle.
Don’t think depression is a disease affecting only weak or lanky people, because that is not true.
You might be surprised to find that some familiar people, such as retailers in a nearby store, bankers, nurses, doctors, cops, firefighters, teachers, students, some military personnel, artists, journalists, businessmen, drivers, and various other people, are or were suffering from depression.

Sometimes men knowingly conceal their illness behind a variety of aggressive and irritable types of behavior, but when they come among those who train some of the martial arts they will be exposed because martial arts require self-control, certain calmness, great self-confidence and overly controlled aggression. So, people who practice martial arts should, by their example, point out a desirable behavior to a depressed person, both in the club and outside. It is commonly known that many people want to throw out some of their dissatisfaction and frustration, some of their inner discomfort and anger by kicking a sack, a makiwara, or a wooden kung fu (muk-yong) puppet or a rubber man-shaped puppet. Such persons will also be recognized by the leader, and they will be warned and taught so that they can learn to rule their emotions. Depression is sometimes hidden behind such uncontrolled aggression (more often with men).

The fact is that a certain hormonal status may, through biological processes in the brain, condition the occurrence of various and even depressive disorders in women.
Practising martial arts helps women greatly to overcome such health problems. Women often heal their inner discomfort, a certain fear, sadness, concern, or a disease like depression, with yoga, thai chi or some kind of meditation. Unfortunately, it is less known that one of the best ways of treating such conditions in women is fencing (modern or kendo). The discipline requires certain calmness, concentration, focus on a particular moment, all of which encourages women in self-confidence, and removes fear as well as undisputable concern for some event in the future.
Exercise of the kata (forms) will also help with such depressive conditions, as well as the katas with various tools or weapons that are aesthetically appealing to women.
Women also feel much stronger and safer if they hold some of the tools or weapons such as swords, spears, tonfas, some knives, and so on.
Practising various martial arts also helps children in eliminating various depressive states. If a child is in training or somewhere else, uncontrollably aggressive, irritable, listless and confused, do not immediately conclude that he/she is simply undisciplined because he/she may be ill and suffering from depression. Such a child's condition will be immediately recognized in the training,and the trainer(instructor) will help the child with his example, as well as with the conversation with the child. The child will be directed to controlled aggression and also to a certain correct control of his/her emotions, and in particular there will be certain exercises to enhance his/her self-esteem.

Although depression can be cured in more than 50 percent of cases, it is recurrent. In the prevention of relapses, it is important, together with the use of appropriate and carefully dosed medications, to work on oneself, to induce certain lifestyle changes, reformulate and set up new and realistic goals, or apply a whole range of psychological and social interventions. Then a person will certainly be greatly assisted with some of the martial arts skills. Martial arts coaches can never be misled by a sick person's false smile or with short – “I'm fine“. During the training they will notice a change of behaviour in the sick person and respond in a timely manner. Martial arts help people not to get into a state of depression, they help in its elimination, as well as in preventing the relapses of the disease. The treatment of depression lasts for a long time, but it can be greatly reduced if a person undergoes proper training of some of the martial arts skills.

Confide in your instructor - the leader of your martial centre and trust him!. He will not condemn you, nor consider you weak, but he will have understanding for you, and will certainly strive to help you. One of the first things to do is to get acquainted with a familiar saying, often used by various masters of martial arts.

"That in itself it is good or bad weather!"

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Copyright © 2016. Fabien Latouille Studio pour sifu mag. All rights reserved.
Posted By: Sensei David Stainko Prof. of kinesiology - Master 7th MMS