sakura-martial-arts-blackbelt-01We’ve all got things to worry about.  Whether it’s work, kids or bills, there is always something on our mind.  The key to avoiding a mental breakdown is to manage your stress properly.  My Karate instructor always said, “Acknowledge your stress – but don’t let it control you.”  Words to live by in my opinion.  So what exactly did he mean?  Well basically, if you don’t acknowledge your stress – you will be consumed by it.  One way we leveraged our Karate training to help us manage the stress in our lives is to practice specific types of meditation.  The only difference is that instead of trying to “clear your thoughts” during meditation (another way of saying don’t think about anything), a better approach is to acknowledge your stress.  Yes – this particular thing is stressing me out.  Don’t be afraid of admitting that something is stressing you.  A bit part of managing your stress is to admit that you are actually stressed.  Karate teaches us that only when we are completely honest with ourselves, can we then begin to plan a strategy to reduce our stress.  So – when we’re practicing meditation in the Dojo – don’t be afraid to explore this option.  Let your mind acknowledge the stress that you’re experiencing, and then move on from it.  Now that you’ve opened your mind to acknowledging your reality –  you can build a plan to tackle your stress.  This is just one of the many ways Karate training can improve your mental health.

Sensei Pennell.