Is BJJ the road to happiness? You may instantly say yes, I know a lot of people who would. Or you might think the Old Munki is going all new age. But could scientific research back up the concept?
BJJ the road to happiness
There are different types of happiness?
Yes there are, according to the research there are two types of happiness. The first one is based purely on self indulgent immediate pleasures. Like binge watching your favourite TV shows. Or maybe relaxing and eating a box of doughnuts.
The second type is based on doing something good and the positive feelings of satisfaction and contentment. However this second type of happiness does take more effort, than the doughnut option. Finding those positive feelings and emotions does take work. However that is the type of happiness that lasts. This is where the BJJ comparison comes in for me.
Your BJJ happiness
When you start training in BJJ it is difficult. There is no one who trains that will deny that. But you continue. It provides a challenge, but a challenge that means something to you. Training also provides a chance to see ongoing self improvement. We all know the sense of joy when you pull off that move in a roll. The one you’ve been drilling for weeks.
You’ve put in the effort and when the work pays off, you feel really positive about yourself. Kennon Sheldon, a psychology professor at the University of Missouri says; we’ll be happiest, “doing what you want to be doing and believe in doing”; or “doing something well and/or seeing improvement” That definitely sounds like training to me.
Further research has also show, that like in all things balance is better. Yes I do like some research on a subject. If you want to read the full paper you can here. This further backs up psychologist Martin Seligman. He proposed that the full life (being high in both meaningful activities and instant pleasures) leads to greater life satisfaction than either pursuit alone. I have to admit I agree with this whole heartedly. We only have one lifetime, so lets make it as satisfying as possible.
More BJJ Happiness
As I have said balance is better overall. BJJ also in a round about way helps with the first sort of happiness. The one that is based on immediate pleasures. How many of us love a post competition binge? After the months of clean eating and training to make weight. There is a massive amount of pleasure eating all those naughty foods you’ve denied yourself.
The same applies even if you don’t compete. How about relaxing and watching TV after a hard session. Or if you’re feeling a bit beat up, how good does a hot bath feel? Oh and cheat day meals are so good.
Does this not apply to other stuff too?
The question I asked at the is BJJ the road to happiness, does seem to have been answered. I know I have crow barred BJJ into the research findings. But it probably explains why so many people fall in love with BJJ. Of course, meaning lies in the eye of the beholder. For some, riding a bike across the country is an extremely meaningful journey. But for us juijiterios BJJ provides an opportunity to connect to others and be part of a community. When you add up everything up BJJ gives you the opportunities to find happiness.