This Brown Belt Is Conducting A Study On Jiu-Jitsu & Depression And Needs Your Help

Photo Credit: Laura Guest

We’ve all seen, heard, read about, or personally experienced how jiu-jitsu can help depression not be such a burden. But actually finding research on the subject is a bit more of a challenge. It’s because of this that brown belt Vermont resident Laura Guest decided to conduct a survey for her master’s program in human services to see if jiu-jitsu might have a greater impact on depression than other types of exercise typically recommended by medical professionals. And if you’re someone who lives and rolls with depression, your input is extremely valuable.

“I’m specifically looking for input from grapplers who have experienced depression at some point throughout their BJJ journey, rather than people who have experienced depression earlier on in life but not since starting training,” says Guest. She says she’s also looking for people who would be willing to elaborate on the responses given in the survey, which can be found here.

The survey is short — only ten questions — and could really help both the jiu-jitsu community and those who live with depression. Please take a few minutes to fill it out, and if you’d be willing to go a bit more in-depth with your responses, please let us know in the comments or contact me directly on Facebook. (***UPDATE*** Due to the overwhelming response to this, Laura already has more than enough subjects for interviews. Please continue to fill out the survey, but further messages about more in-depth interviews will be turned down. Thanks for all your help!)


  1. Hi Laura Guest, I would be willing to go into more detail with you if you need people. I am a white belt at BJJ and I have depression (actually Bipolar Disorder diagnosed over 20 years ago.) BJJ is the best thing I’ve done for my mental health!

  2. I’d be willing to chat. My anxiety/depression was on the milder side, but it was exacerbated by a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Disease when I was a blue/purple belt. Feel free to hit me up. Thanks for doing this!

  3. 36 year old blue belt. I’d be willing to discuss more in depth if you wish. In addition to being a consumer, I’m also a therapist myself.

  4. I would be willing to more detail if you are interested. I have depression and anxiety depending on the severity sometimes I am on medication and other times Jiu Jitsu and exercising is enough. My doctor even said the Jiu Jitsu and exercise is better than the medicine if it works alone, but sometimes that alone is not enough.

  5. I am willing to talk more if you need more in depth information. I actually started BJJ to help deal with my depression and it has significantly helped me with dealing with depression.

  6. When my little Brother passed away I went into a bad place but my jui jitsu helped put me back on track and kept me focused and helped me turn it around.
    It was one of my main points along with family that helped me get out of my grief and depression.

  7. Hi Laura. I’m a 46 year old purple belt and a licensed clinical social worker. I refer many of my clients to bjj and similar activities. I have theories myself about how bjj helps with depression and anxiety and would be happy to share them.

  8. Hi Laura! (great name by the way)
    I started in Muay Thai and MMA before I even touched Jiu Jitsu thinking that would help my issues. I had depression and a hard hard case of anxiety doing Muay Thai and MMA. I lost most of my fights due to anxiety and depression. I was the egotistical brat that hated BJJ and always said everything negative about it. I met someone that is into BJJ and not only has he changed my life, but BJJ has dramatically gave me a vision of life. I am a 31 year old mother & blue belt, now my new addiction is getting other women/kids into this amazing art!


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