It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and we are launching a campaign that looks at effective ways to achieve mental, physical and emotional wellness.
Dancing has many well-known physical health benefits but it can also be incredibly beneficial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Here we look at some of these benefits.
Making you feel good
‘Even one lively dance session has been proven to reduced depression in comparison to vigorous exercise or listening to music’ according to research conducted by The Arts in Psychotherapy.
Dancing is known to be a fun and effective way to reduce stress levels and anxiety. It is a physical activity that releases neurotransmitters and endorphins into the body, which in turn reduces stress levels in the mind.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals within the brain that help communicate messages throughout the body. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller to reduce stress and improve the mind’s perception of the world.
Reducing depression and anxiety
Dancing is great for treating mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety due to the release of endorphins, mentioned above.
Swedish researchers studied more than 100 teenage girls who were struggling with issues like depression and anxiety. Half of the girls attended weekly dance classes, while the other half didn’t. The results showed the girls who took the dance classes improved their mental health and reported a boost in their mood. These positive effects lasted up to eight months after the dance classes ended. The researchers concluded dance could result in a very positive experience for participants and could potentially contribute to sustained new healthy habits.
Sociable and fun
Dancing is an excellent social way of making new friends. For example, dancing in a group environment helps to develop our sense of social “connectedness”. Dancing can help to expand your social circle, make new and old social bonds and friendships which helps with our overall mood and mental health.
Building Confidence levels
Research by Dr Peter Lovatt, Dance Psychologist, suggests that dancing provides with you with a sense of accomplishment and motivation, whilst also improving your confidence and self-esteem.
When you dance for fun and start braving the dance floor, the anxiety of bad timing and feeling awkward starts to fade away as you learn new movements and gain confidence.
Other ways dance can improve your wellbeing:
- Helping to improve relationships
Dancing can also improve your personal relationships. For example with your spouse or partner. Dancing together helps increase the physical and emotion connection between you.
- Improving fitness levels and losing weight
Dancing is a good low impact cardio workout that burns fat and helps to lose weight and boost metabolism.
- Self-Expression and creativity Levels
Dancing is a great outlet for your emotions and helps you to express yourself through the use of movement and rhythm, creatively. It can help release tension after a long day in a safe environment.