The thought of a bloodied face, broken bones or rib-rattling body kicks may be the subject of nightmares for most people, but for Regan Gowing, Muay Thai was a life-changing pursuit.
Depression, anxiety and other woes that came with her teenage years had Gowing on medication and hospitalized as a teen. It’s the typical cycle most of us see. Substitute Medication A for Medication B and
that will work. If not, Medicine C is also an option. The hope for a smoother mental state was always there, but the faith began dwindling.
It took a trip far off the beaten path for Gowing to ever start to feel progress.
As opposed to blanketing issues, Muay Thai gave Gowing a violent shove into the face of those issues.
“I think none of that addressed underlying issues, whereas being involved with something like Muay Thai and competing made me face things head on,” Gowing said. “Not only can it be a coping mechanism, but it really addresses the issues of confidence, self-esteem, being able to set boundaries and that sort of thing.”
A product of an environment where such issues weren’t discussed, being forced to juggle exhaustion, fulfillment, defeat and other emotions all at the same time was a welcome change. As much of and advocate for Muay Thai as Gowing is, she explains that it isn’t just Muay Thai that could act as a deterrent for depression. There are many avenues worth pursuing.
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“I think physical activity in general or anything that requires discipline is underutilized,” Gowing said. One potential roadblock in the way when considering a combat sport isn’t necessarily the aggression and violence, but could the potential of anxiety pre-fight and depression post-loss have an adverse effect?
Not if your understanding of martial arts has been properly implemented.
“Figuring out how to view a loss to make you grow can change your mentality with everyday life,” Gowing said. “You don’t see major setbacks in everyday life. You’re training your mind to view things as a chance for development and growth."
From “giving martial arts a chance” to having championship fights and students of her own, Gowing sees herself as a success story. While she’s mentally in a good place now, the battle isn’t over and Gowing is at peace with that. There will always be ups and downs but there will also always be martial arts.
“There’s always room to keep building,” Gowing said. “I think everybody goes up and down throughout their life. Right now, I’m in a really good place because I took the time to identify what needs to happen, what changes I need to make, and I implemented them. Training has helped with that. Thanks to training and coaching and building my routine I’m in a really good spot right now.”
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