2014, Volume 10, Issue 1
Martials Arts for Mental Health: Cultivating Psychological Well-Being with Martial Arts Practice
1University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, United States
The question of what constitutes and facilitates mental health or psychological well-being has remained of great interest to martial artists and philosophers alike, and still endures to this day. Although important questions about well-being remain, it has recently been argued in the literature that a paradigmatic or prototypical case of human psychological well-being would characteristically consist of positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Other scholarship has also recently suggested that martial arts practice may positively promote psychological well-being, although recent studies on martial arts have not yet been reviewed and integrated under the PERMA framework from positive psychology to further explore and explicate this possibility. This article therefore contributes to the literature by reviewing recent work on psychological well-being and martial arts to determine whether there is substantive support for the claim that practicing martial arts can positively contribute to one flourishing with greater psychological well-being.
Key words: social relationships, positive psychology, personal accomplishment, mental health, meaning in life