It has been said that one hour of BJJ rolling equates to 10 hours of therapy.
And although this would mostly be seen as an exaggeration or statement with no science to back it up, there is no doubt some real truth to it.
In fact almost everyone who trains in the Gentle Art of Brazillian jiu-jitsu will proclaim the stress busting benefits of hitting the mats and grabbing a fistful of cloth. Every Jiujiteiro will at some point have hit the gym feeling down, stressed and somewhat unmotivated, but after just an hour or so on the mats will almost always leave rejuvenated with a complete mood reset - even if you just got smashed and wrapped up like a pretzel for an hour and a half. In fact, sometimes that's just what you need, to be choked back into the present.
Of course any form of exercise can uplift your mood, even lesser strenuous activities like stretching or walking are better than doing nothing. However nothing quite hits the spot like grappling and Jiu-jitsu sparring, although rigorous exertion of the body is required it is also a kind of fast track to a meditative state that puts you straight into the zone without having to sit cross-legged focusing on your breathing for 20 minutes beforehand. With BJJ you have no choice but to have intent focus from the get-go. You are either very present in the moment or you get strangled and mangled.
Enter straight into the flow state, where much of what happens is from muscle memory. This is what the experts would call invisible jiu-jitsu, where the finer details that can't be taught and only come with experience happen.
Other positive aspects of Jiu-jitsu are the need for consistency, commitment and patience. As popular and mainstream as the art has become, there are still no short cuts to getting good. So regardless of how privileged you are you are still going to have to keep showing up and putting in the work. Whilst having money might mean you can train more and pay for extra private lessons, you are still going to have to put the work in and suffer just as much as anyone else. And this is what makes it so great, it keeps everyone on the mat that toughs it out humble, regardless of their background.
In my personal opinion, what make's BJJ so powerful is that you have no choice but to drop the ego. We are simulating death and maiming our opponents and for many of us those opponents are often much smaller, physically weaker people than you are. And when that person is 3 or 4 steps ahead of you every time you spar it soon becomes apparent that, in the reality of a real life situation this much smaller human being has consistently killed you over and over again, almost effortlessly. For some people, this is too much to accept but for a minority it is extremely powerful and part of what hooks them to the process of progression. And that is where the real therapeutic aspect comes in, there is real growth to be made in the death of the ego. And you don't have to head to the Himalayas to find it, you can get there almost every time you hit the mat.
So it's no surprise when you hear uplifting stories of people suffering with debilitating issues such PTSD, depression and addictions having cured themselves with Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, even sometimes from people who have exhausted every other avenue and thought there was no way out. Emmersion into martial arts can give people the much needed structure, focus and teach them how to live more in the present moment, something we as human beings have forgotten how to do.
So, keep up the therapy, keep rolling...and don't ever quit. Have the same ethos in life as the one you will develop on the mats. Just keep showing up and keep tapping.