There is an inextricable link between feelings of stress and feelings of being unable to cope with the hardships of life. After all, if you had a dependable set of coping mechanisms at hand, you would unlikely feel the levels of stress to which you are probably accustomed in your everyday life.
The good thing about coping mechanisms is that they have a sort of carryover effect: if you grab the bull by the horns in one area of your life, you have tapped into a resource that will work wonders in other areas of your life. This is evident when we hear sportspeople of all stripes saying things such as how
being able to run that distance or ride that wave helps them to achieve clarity and confidence elsewhere; when we hear Toastmasters saying that their newfound public-speaking skills have been a lifesaver in so many ways; and when we hear first-aid students and survival students saying that they feel as
though they can conquer the challenges of life, no matter what.
Finding that catalyst for peak self-confidence and heightened perceptions of coping ability is not always easy. But there is one pursuit that almost guarantees improvement in this area of your life: studying a martial art. Knowing that you have the ability to defend yourself in a hostile situation; pushing your body and mind to the edge; building self-discipline, willpower, and strength of character; and quite simply just being able to blow off some steam a few days a week -- all of this contributes to a state of mind in which
high stress levels are the exception rather than the rule.
There are a bewildering number of martial arts available, and the novice can face the daunting prospect of having to select from them. Worse yet, picking the wrong martial art not only is a waste of time and money but also can lead to a false sense of security when it comes to fending off an attacker. Over the last two decades, several martial arts have emerged as the clear victors in realistic self-defense. Traditional martial arts have had to move aside, and the old beliefs about what constitutes effective training have needed serious revision.
If you are keen on studying a martial art, you are advised to look into a mixed martial arts (MMA) club that combines the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) grappling art with some form of striking art, ideally Muay Thai. Such a combination will provide you with a solid system of self-defense that has proved itself in the ring time and time again.
Full-contact sparring is a very important consideration when selecting a club. You would not dare pull punches in a life-threatening street situation, so you should not expect to train under the highly unrealistic conditions of "shadow boxing", dance choreography, or worse. Doing so will serve only to delude you
into thinking that you can defend yourself when the pressure is on.
Within a few months of training, the changes in your personality will be dramatic. The little things that once stressed you out will blow over you without having a negative and destructive impact. You will stand taller and be more assertive in your daily interactions with other people. Your friends and relatives will definitely notice the big changes in the new you. You will look the challenges of your life square in the eye and proclaim, "Stress? I eat stress for breakfast! Bring it on!"