Mental Health: How Boxing Has Helped My Mental & Physical Wellbeing

DISCLAIMER: These personal stories do not constitute medical advice. This piece contains descriptions of mental struggles and trauma including suicidal thoughts, that may be triggering for some readers.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please contact the Silver Ribbon hotline (+65 6386 1928).

The following post is a personal anecdote of Hannah from our Marketing and Members Relations Team.

 

I’m seated alone, on an armchair in an open area. My hands are bound, mouth sewn shut, eyes forced open and I’m on fire. It is dark and I am afraid. I am choked up and I cannot scream. Every nerve in my body is throbbing with pain and the voices in my head are all screaming at once, and yet I feel nothing.

My body trembles as these different emotions collide and I feel a need to inflict pain on myself. Without hesitation, I do exactly that. Since the age 13, I have used self-harm as a way of escape. With every slice, I went deeper… and deeper… until the physical pain drowned out the voices in my head. This was the only tool I had to take control of how I was feeling.

It has been a decade of dealing with the rollercoaster of emotions that come with these thoughts. At their mildest, I brush them aside. At their worst, I regularly contemplate suicide. As I have gotten older, some of my coping mechanisms have evolved into head twitches or punches to my arm. Believe it or not, my mental state is in a much better place than it was years ago. Look out for Part II of my story as I share more of my journey to better mental wellness.



Mental health should be taken care of as urgently as physical health. No matter the severity of something physical, it’s very common for people to say, “You should see a Dr about that.” How come we aren’t as supportive of each other when it comes to mental wellness?

On my quest to find healthier ways to deal with my mental wellness I found an outlet where I was able to release the knotted emotions within; exercise! I always felt a sense of accomplishment when I would nail a certain technique, when my chest would touch the floor doing a push-up or even a quick roller-skate to the store. In those moments my mind is occupied with the present moment and celebrating small wins that my inner voices are muffled.

Scientific studies have found that physical exercise, while commonly associated with the desire to lose weight, look great and stay fit, also has strong psychological benefits. The potency of physical fitness has been proven to ease depressive episodes.

Endorphins, or as I like to call them, ‘feel-good chemicals’, are produced by the brain and spinal cord while exercising. Whenever I exercise, a type of high flows through my body as I am filled with a sense of euphoria, relaxation, and optimism.

Boxing is a sport that constantly requires the participants to engage both physically and mentally. It’s not called “the sweet science” for nothing! Through boxing, I am challenged to stay in the present moment, which silences my inner voices and helps me perform at my best. I have developed healthier habits because I have had to accommodate being physically and mentally present. Also, it is truly cathartic and therapeutic when hitting the bag.

Words of advice to my younger self:

  1. You are not alone, seek help for mental wellness in the same way you would seek help for physical wellness.
  2. Regular exercise helps regulate naturally produced chemicals in your body and brain so exercise is good for your head and your heart!
  3. You are enough and you are worthy just the way you are.

The Ring, your boxing gym Singapore, is dedicated to normalising mental wellness and encourages will be your pillars of support. We’re always in your corner, never forget.

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