Last week we discussed the four different mental health languages; movement, sound, sight, and touch. This week, we'll be discussing my favorite...MOVEMENT! Dance is a longtime passion of mine. It is common knowledge that when you move, you being to feel good. Dancing and movement are not only good for your physical wellbeing, but also your mental wellness. Below, find benefits of dance and if you're not a fan of the activity, I have also listed ways in which you can get moving as well.
Dance has so many benefits! Science has shown that dancing helps to reduce stress and anxiety due to the release of endorphins, and this release allows an improvement of mood. In fact, studies conducted by University of Hertfordshire Professor Peter Lovatt suggest that one session of dance alone can positively alter happiness levels for as long as a week following the session's commencement.
Aside from this benefit associated with the release of chemicals in the body, dance is a great tool used universally for expression. For individuals like myself that have found it difficult to express themselves publicly and sometimes privately, dance is a method used to connect with the innermost feelings and communicate with others comfortably. Studies have shown that patients that have been diagnosed with the mental illnesses depression, anxiety, and PTSD, have seen a significant reductions in the symptoms associated with these illnesses. When placed in recreational dance sessions regularly as a form of therapy, these patients also displayed stronger connections to others and a sense of unity and community.
Personally, the ability to dance has allowed me to "leave it all on the floor". This means that whatever I am feeling or experiencing in that moment does not need to be carried with me following release. In times when I am upset or uncomfortable or sad, I find solace in moving my body and reconnecting with her. When asked why I dance, my answer will always be "dance saved my life". It's a beautiful experience!
If dance isn't quite your thing, there are so many other activities available to you. Here are a few activities that get you moving:
-Go for a nature walk
-Jog around your neighborhood
-Bike on a trail
-Take an exercise class
There are so many options! If movement is your language, please feel free to share in the comments below what speaks to your body.