Lately, I’m noticing some really fun trends on the internet that are having a positive impact on mental health. Specifically, dance challenges on Instagram, Facebook, and Ticktok. Entertainers like J-Lo, Jessica Alba, Wiz Khalifa, and so many more have joined the playful movement during quarantine. I’m writing this as someone who used to avoid dancing like the plague. After awhile, it ironically became mentally draining to avoid the dance floor. But why does this matter? Check out the video connected to this post above.
I know that many people feel the same avoidant feeling about many things like dancing, especially in clients who struggle with anxiety.
Here are some benefits of dancing carefree:
To be connected to others.
Physically practicing will help overcome the fear of looking silly. Things become easier with repetition. The key is to remember that vulnerability connects us to others and is actually admired by other people.
it’s healthy exercise
it’s a way to “let go!” Allowing our body to stretch and relax has an impact on our physiology and release endorphins to ward off cortisol (stress hormones.)
it allows us to connect with our bodies rather than our minds. Ever feel like you were thinking so deeply that you get to your driving location, end of the page, or miss the last few sentences when someone was speaking to you? Dancing challenges us to stay present through movement.
It embraces self acceptance! Look around at everyone else (or watch videos!) No matter how silly you look, joy always looks more authentic, accepting, and open then anything else.
“Dancing can maintain and even boost your ability to think as you age. Well, according to some studies, scientists have found that the areas of the brain that control memory and skills, such as planning and organizing, improve with exercise like dance.”
Plus, unlike other forms of exercise, dance has the additional benefits of improving balance through rhythm and music.
Try it out right now!
1. Click here for “The best and easiest ticktok dances to learn with your family.” No matter what your age is, tiktok has become popular throughout all ages. Download the app, watch some dance videos for inspiration, grab your fam (or fur babies), pick a song, and bust a move. Check out our some of our favorites! Even LeBron James and his family got in the fun.
If the idea of making a tiktok for the World Wide Web is a little cringy, opt for saving it and keeping it as a fun memory instead. Dancing is about connection; whether that’s to your own body, a partner, friend, or group. If you feel energized and connected, you achieved the goal!
2. Did you know that there’s a dance therapy association? They have tons of free resources to help you connect with your body and get moving. (Especially right now with COVID-19). You should check it out!
“In times of need, communities come together. The American Dance Therapy Association is coming together as a united community to support everyone through virtual self-care offerings. Let’s join online through Facebook to sit, breathe, move, meditate, dance, pray, and exist together. We invite you to share in an ongoing self-care practice and cultivate energy to support grounding, witnessing, and being. We are thankful for our amazing community and want to offer space for togetherness, healing, laughter, and perhaps respite and levity. The ADTA hopes you can join us for “Community Wellness and Togetherness.” No registration is required. Simply join us in the American Dance Therapy Association Group on Facebook.. Times will be announced as they are scheduled. When we take care of ourselves we also take care of our communities.” https://adta.org/self-care-broadcasts/
SUNDAYS 5:30 p.m ET (APRIL 19, APRIL 26, MAY 3)
Who Wants to Dance?
Guest Facilitator: Jody Wager, MS, BC-DMT
3. Dust off your kids (or your!) Just Dance or a dance related video game- alone or with another person!
4. Enjoy free classes online. Here is a free ballet class, but there are virtually a TON of classes with all types of music online. (My fav is cardio kickboxing on YouTube!) Even if you’ve never tried it before, the privacy of your living room is a great start!
I hope this inspires you to crack a smile, remember to breathe mindfully, and find your way to cope with stress among this time of mass uncertainty. We are all in this together, and we all deserve a momentary break from the stress to dance like idiots.