Paul Pound, MS, MPhil, LCADC, LPC, ACS. | Blog
Maintaining Recovery with MMA
The development of martial arts skills requires practice, patience and perseverance. Often these observable behaviors are the prerequisites needed to tackle the challenge of unhealthy anxiety. Although many individuals will shy away from the environment of the dojo, research has supported the use of martial art training to combat a variety of concerns that include anxiety disorders (Chapman et al, 1997). Recovery is a period of time in a client’s life when memories of participation in drug and alcohol influenced activities can lead to feelings of anxiety and panic. This can often occur when considering the impact of past behaviors on future opportunities.

The MMA proposed in this article focuses on the mindfulness, movement and activity skills of the anxiety fighter. Many individuals willing to engage in the training will experience an inner strength, mental growth and inner peace through the three phases of training presented.

Mindfulness training can be completed in almost any environment and requires only commitment from the anxiety fighter to focus on an object and involve all senses for enough time to locate a present state that eliminates all peripheral objects and thought. Some practitioners recommend the use of focused breathing combined with positive images. Mindfulness has been described as “paying attention, in the present moment, on purpose, without grasping onto judgments” (Siegel, 2007). The committed anxiety fighter will use mindfulness in the same way the martial artist practices stretching. The flexibility of the mind to move into the temporal zone of the present reduces the impact of thoughts of a negative past and future (Zombardo, 2008).

Exercise has consistently been prescribed as an effective tool that can be utilized against unhealthy anxiety (Brohman et al, 2004). Often aerobic exercise is introduced were continuous movement that triggers the release of endorphins is seen as the weapon of choice. Key neurochemicals involved in anxiety include GABA, Norepinephrine and Serotonin while dopamine, epinephrine, acetylcholine and histamine also appear to play a role (Donaldson, 1998). The anxiety fighter has many choices that could include walking, swimming, riding a bike and one of the many advertised workout programs that increase the pulse to healthy training levels and ignite a cascade of neurochemicals that results in inner peace. The undertaking of any training may require the consultation of a licensed medical professional in the same way the martial artist may respect the advice of a sensei or sifu.

The wise martial artist often studies his/her environment to assess an optimal form of action. Participation in life’s activities may govern the intensity and frequency of the opponent, attacking anxiety. The anxiety fighter can improve their ability to deal with their opponent by creating a conducive environment by developing activities that satisfy needs (Glasser, 1998) while regulating activities that feed the anxiety attack. Research has highlighted the constant use of personal phones, highly active facebook use and active social media participation as nourishment for the anxiety attacker (Kross et al. 2013, Kent State University, 2013). Glasser believes humans desire the satisfaction of survival, love and belonging, freedom, power and fun at different levels which leads to the unique behavior of the individual. MMA practice may provide the anxiety fighter with fulfillment of the additional desire of hope.

Developing the mindset of the MMA practitioner can be helpful to those who battle anxiety while desiring to remain in recovery. Assessing the situation, minimizing the negative environmental influences and increasing the fulfilment of desired needs can result in a lifestyle of reduced anxiety.
Ask for Growth and Healing
Tenacity has been described as the persistency of purpose (Webster, 2008).

ASK Principle

ASK is the acronym for a framework that provides the template for growth and healing. This basic outline describes a progressive enlightening journey into self-discovery and life satisfaction. The time spent in each area is absorbed by an individual who seeks understanding and expansion. The signal for movement from one area of growth to another is distinctive. Just as the baby shifts from crawling to stumbling steps, the moment of change will be self-selected.

The framework serves as a background that encompasses many evidenced based theories that relate to awareness, skills and knowing. ASK defines the three area of psychological focus as follows:

1. Awareness is an individual’s ability to be mindful of psychological Time, Space, Emotional Needs and Perspective.

2. Skills are learned actions that we develop to achieve something we need and/or want.

3. Knowing is the active state of internal and external awareness. This enhanced understanding is the foundation of an individual’s ability to experience life satisfaction.

Tenacity is the fuel for growth while ASK is the engine. The power of ASK is found in its holistic approach that requires complete self – reflection from the participant.

Paul Pound MS, MPhil LPC LCADC
Parents, Teens and Tolerance
All to often parents are frustrated by the lack of activity they find in their teens. Their seem to spend many hours in front of screens that require little physical activity. The moment the parent attempts to encourage a change of action the teen becomes frustrated and defensive.This increased sensitivity found in today's teens has seen a rise in suicidal thought, angry dispositions and apathetic teenagers who don't want to do anything.

Today's teens lack tolerance which is the backbone of hopeful thought. The lack of hope found in teenagers appears to be an important ingredient when developing the resilience they require to live in a competitive world. We all start without patience, our first cry for food is often a demanding command. As a society we help build patience in our population yet today's teens lack the patience to endure a slow computer or game download. They have tremendous knowledge from viewing youtube and internet information yet they emotionally understand little of what they see.

Tolerance requires patience and understanding.

Hope requires willpower, waypower and tolerance to endure the time between wishing for an outcome and reaching that goal.

The inability to acquire tolerance leaves the teen sensitive to feelings of hopelessness that can be expressed in the inability to attempt activities, defensive anger and despair.

The goal is often seen as a destination yet hope can be found in the process. Process movement is the action found in the pursuit of a goal. It is the motivating journey that builds hope and tolerance of the final outcome which becomes a simple event along a long path of process movement.

The next time your child indicates to you that they want something;

1. find time to explore the path,
2. help them focus on the process movement.

The goal will become secondary to the active pursuit. Tolerance will fuel the feelings of hope.

Paul Pound MS, MPhil LPC, LCADC, ACS