Next time you feel the music taking over, let go, and express yourself.
Various studies have learned that dancing is both great for the body and mind. Whether you dance to country, pop, hip hop, or latin sounds, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says that dancing can:
- Lower your risk of coronary heart disease
- Decrease blood pressure
- Help you manage your weight
- Strengthen the bones of your legs and hips
Many of us aware that dancing is a great physical activity, but the following article highlights the significant impact dancing has on our mental health.
In addition, I want to mention that dancing is a unique because it allows people to engage in a social activity. This allows for positive relationships and stimulating the mind to benefit from healthy interactions from others.
I have also found that creating and developing your own style of dance is very fulfilling to say the least. For me, it’s any style of dance that has urban roots. There are many dancers out there that have inspired me to learn what I am capable of with motion and movement. Always appreciate the dance of others and see how that influences you.
Improving Mental Health through Dance
Dance has been shown to lift mood more than exercise by itself. In a study at the University of London researchers assigned patients with anxiety disorders to spend time in one of four therapeutic settings – a modern-dance class, a regular exercise class, a music class, or a math class. Only the dance class was shown to significantly reduce anxiety. Cardiac-Rehabilitation patients in a recent Italian study who enrolled in waltzing classes not only ended up with healthier arteries but were happier than those who went to bicycle and treadmill training. The effects of dance are increased and enhanced by the use of music which is also a factor in mood enhancement.
MRI scans show that watching someone dance activates the same neurons that would fire if you yourself were doing the dancing. So when one dancer’s movements express joy or sadness, others often pick up on it as well, so spreading the feeling and fostering empathy. Gabrielle Kaufman, a Los Angeles dance therapist has this to say “Dance’s expressive aspects help people process feelings they have trouble dealing with in conscious, verbal terms.” “Dance allows people to experience themselves in ways they didn’t know they could” says Miriam Berger, a dance professor and dance therapist at New York University, “You can change your internal state through external movement.”
A dance teacher usually but not always teaches a specific form of dance, for example, ballet, tap, ballroom, folk, latin, etc. He or she is concerned primarily with technique and the outward appearance of the dance whilst at the same time being aware of the psychological aspects. A dance therapist on the other hand more usually employs free dance, improvisational or inspirational dance with the student or patient encouraging them to create their own personal expression.There is no criticism in dance therapy classes – no right or wrong way. This unconditional acceptance is important to the participants. At the same time the therapist is consciously working towards helping the person to find within themselves catharsis, solutions and resolution to problems through dance. The dancers find the answers without words from within themselves. Dance therapy can have immediate and unexpected results. On occasion deeply buried blockages are resolved. Dance is a right brained activity and the left brain with its critical commentary is quietened down. This allows our subconscious and intuitive levels to function.