As dance instructors, it goes without saying that dancing brings us joy. We all know that if we’re having a hard day, we can just get up and dance, and even if nothing is resolved, we at least feel better about it! But, do we just enjoy dancing because it’s a lighthearted, fun activity or does dance actually have the power to make us happier, healthier individuals?
According to an article in Arts London News, a psychology student at the University of New England, Rosa Pinniger, has found that dancing can actually fight depression. “You really have to focus, concentrate, and it doesn’t allow your thoughts to drive into your mind,” she told CBC news.
When we look at the facts, it’s clear that dancing does, in fact, make you a happier, healthier person.
1) It’s a great form of exercise.
Exercise releases endorphins in the body. These chemicals reduce the perception of pain and trigger positive mental and physical feelings in the body.
The U.S.D.A recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity twice a week, so why not dance those 30 minutes away?
2) Not only is dance good exercise for your body, but also for your mind!
Dancing incorporates several simultaneous brain functions like rational thinking (keep in step with your partner), musical creativity (make your movements match the music), and an emotional sense of well being (support your partner and move with them in unison).
When you memorize new dance steps and patterns, you build new neural pathways. Making these connections becomes more and more important to maintain regular brain function as you age.
3) Learning to dance makes you focus and concentrate on just one task.
Because dancing requires your brain to function on so many levels, there is no room for negative thoughts, and the less you think about negative things, the less they have a negative effect on your life.
In a society of many distractions from iPhones, advertisements, facebook, and tweets, it’s important to give your brain solid blocks of time to just focus on one task at hand. Though it might be hard to focus at first, only worrying about one thing at a time can be calming and meditative.
4) Music is therapeutic, but dancing to music is even more therapeutic.
Music provokes a natural emotional response, and it can provide comfort and therapy when needed. Dancing allows you to just get lost in the music.
It’s no secret that your body has a natural, physical response to music. There’s a dance style for almost any kind of music, so whether you love Mozart, Eminem, or anything in between, just moving to your favorite song can make you feel at home.
The benefits of dancing are endless. So, get up, grab a partner, and start moving. You never know the joy it can provide until you try it. Feel free to share how dance has brought joy to your life in the comments below!