The Benefits of Boxing on Youth Mental Health
As we come into Youth Mental Health Week, it is essential to recognize and be reminded of the influence boxing can have on a child’s mind, body, and emotional well-being.
Self-confidence is an essential element of youth mental health. It acts as an internal source for believing in oneself, problem-solving, assertiveness, and becoming fully engaged with the world around them by standing tall without fear.
Boxing teaches youth about the importance of self-confidence through the art of discipline, strength and endurance training, and positive affirmation. Overcoming adversity in the gym through reliance on prospering mental resilience can translate to a child’s present and future mindset. Boxing functions consistently to improve an individual’s outlook, instilling a sense of achievement that builds both self-confidence and self-esteem.
With every step into the ring and every pair of boxing gloves worn, a kid is one step closer to developing confidence that they can rely on!
Overwhelming emotions like anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, and more influence how individuals function. During childhood, these new and challenging emotions can come up frequently. Without a way to handle these feelings, a kid can suffer from poor mental health.
Boxing benefits mental health by becoming a source of relief from negativity. It is a safe way to release anger by working through and overcoming strong negative thoughts and reactions. Prince Harry, for example, dealt with significant anger in his youth and turned to boxing to address such challenging emotions. As such, boxing is a perfect way for kids to feel safe addressing their feelings and combating overwhelming emotions.
Check out how Prince Harry dealt with his anger and overwhelming emotions here.
A Method of Stress Relief
Stress can often be a complicated and overwhelming feeling to handle, especially for youth. It harms mental and physical health, impacting how children live their lives and interact with those around them.
Like most physical activities, boxing is an excellent stress reducer. It focuses on relieving muscle tension and improving concentration and patience. Boxing also helps with thinking quickly and developing rational problem-solving skills. These benefits, in turn, improve how kids can handle and relieve any present stress.
Stimulates Endorphin Production
On a more biological side, boxing significantly benefits mental health through the increased production of endorphins. Endorphins are a type of neurotransmitter, or chemical substance, that is released during the process of exercising and increases feelings of happiness.
For the average youth, it can be challenging to receive enough stimulation of endorphins, leading to an increased likelihood of poor mental health. Boxing, however, significantly benefits a child’s mind, as working with the punching bag produces a surplus of endorphins, resulting in feel-good thoughts and a generally positive perspective on life. These neurotransmitters even continue to be actively engaged throughout the day following a single session in the ring.
Kicks Back at Loneliness
Early childhood to adolescence can be a challenging time. From balancing family, friends, and peers to struggling with conflicts in personal relationships, a sense of loneliness can often damage the mental health of many youths.
Boxing kicks back at these feelings by introducing children to a sport that can be highlysocial. Children learn how to socialize through one-on-one training or large group training sessions, giving them ample opportunity to form new and lasting friendships. In this way, boxing can combat negative thoughts and situations that adversely influence kids’ mental health.
Taylor Villa is a Queen’s University undergraduate student in a dual major program of political studies and sociology, and a freelance editor/writer specializing in Fitness, Health, and Wellness.