Can jiujitsu training on its own make us happy?
To begin this reflection, we must first locate: after all, where and how is the feeling of happiness born?
Everything, as it turns out, begins in our brain, which, triggered by various sensations, radiates a feeling that we are used to seeing as joy and willingness to live. An ephemeral feeling, of course, and which needs to be constantly stimulated so that we are excited to face the challenges of everyday life.
Below we have listed seven signs that jiujitsu can indeed make us smile and feed our brains with that vital feeling of happiness and lightness.
1. The body in motion brings happiness
Nothing activates our brain better than a good sport or a pleasant exercise. All because of endorphin, a hormone released when we move our bodies, and which gives us ample pleasure and euphoria. That is why, after a good jiujitsu training session, it is impossible not to feel lighter and happier.
2. Learning combats melancholy
It has been noticed that the satisfaction of learning, of being in contact with new cultures, techniques, or any novelty, floods the body with dopamine. Learning something new works as a reward for the brain, and the result is a feeling of comfort and happiness. When practicing jiujitsu, every day the brain is fed with a trick or discovery about the art and about your body.
3. Laughter is a great antidote to heavy clouds
Laughter also generates endorphins and pleasure, says science. And where do we laugh more than when surrounded by good friends? In jiujitsu we meet new people, we are surrounded by people we have learned to trust, and, of course, we are always surrounded by a lot of funny people who make our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard.
4. Hugging = joy
In jiujitsu we are always hugging people—and not only during the fights. The fact is that the brain also releases oxytocin, the hormone of affection, which comes when we meet old friends and people we like.
5. Store smells, appetites and memories
Harvard scholars have done extensive research on the relationship between smell, memory and behavior—if you have read Proust or seen the movie "Ratatouille," you understand what good food does to your brain. Once you start jiujitsu, you will pick up the pleasure of eating light, fresh, natural food that makes you train lighter without feeling the weight in your stomach when it's time to roll. Feel the aroma, enjoy the food in less of a rush, and watch how your brain will thank you.
6. People who get some sunshine are happier
Without overdoing it, the sun is the best friend of happy people. The sun releases serotonin, produces vitamin D, essential to the body, and improves our mood. What's more, outdoor activity is usually fun, entertaining, and attracts friends. Those who practice jiujitsu are always in a better mood and happier with themselves and their body, eager to get the family together for hiking trails, beaches and hobbies.
7. Living without fear
Every jiujitsu instructor is partly a psychologist, and on the mat we learn to deal with and overcome our fears—the main obstacles to a free and satisfying life. According to Rickson Gracie, it is in jiujitsu that we learn to breathe, calm ourselves, and always be ready and wise in the face of any threat. "For the intelligent person, fear is our best friend," he says. "Because it puts the person in a situation of mindfulness, of caution. I can't take chances with things I don't know about. I have to protect myself. Fear helps me make adjustments. If I have to fight someone I will be afraid of him, since he knows how to hit and defend himself. Jiujitsu teaches us to understand and measure the importance of fear, and to realize the value of courage. It is courage at the right time that overcomes fear and makes it so that the jiujitsu practitioner doesn't freeze up and run away from big challenges."
Remember Rickson talking about how to combat inner fear below. And keep up the good work.