10 Ways Dance Supports Mental Health
10 Ways Dance Supports Mental Health
Taking care of our mental health is vital to living a healthy and balanced life. While some people start dancing for the physical benefits, if you’re a dancer, you know how important dance is to mental well being.
And while the current pandemic may leave you feeling down—don’t lose sight of what’s yet to come.
The Breaking Bounds Dance team put together this list of ten amazing reasons why dance is a great way to support your mental health.
1. Dance is a Great Way to Express Yourself
Sometimes, we can struggle to find ways of expressing ourselves. When the words don’t seem to do justice to our thoughts and feelings, we can start to feel stifled and misunderstood. Trapped thoughts and feelings can take a toll on our mental health.
Dancing is a fabulous way to express ourselves without words. In some ways, dance can actually become a much more powerful tool for self-expression.
2. Dance is an Outlet for your Creativity
As humans, we all have some kind of creativity as part of our personality. It’s important that we all find a way to express this creativity. Whether it’s through writing, singing, drawing, or dancing, we all need our creative outlet.
When it comes to mental health, the importance of having a creative outlet cannot be underestimated. This outlet can become a channel that we can pour our intense emotions into and release them into the world.
3. Dance Builds Self-Confidence
A lack of self-confidence can result in a range of mental health issues. Particularly in young people, low self-confidence can easily lead to depression, loneliness, and anxiety. For young children and teenagers, the pressures of school, friendship, and family can have an effect on self-confidence. In the modern world, children and young adults are constantly bombarded with images of airbrushed young women. Low self-esteem can easily develop.
Dance is a wonderful way to bring children and young adults out of their shells. By connecting your body and your mind and expressing yourself physically, you can quickly begin to develop a new perception of yourself. You’ll realize that you can take up some space and be proud of who you are.
4. Dance Builds Self-Awareness
Dance is a highly rigorous physical activity that requires exceptional coordination, strength, timing, and muscle memory. When you train as a dancer, you begin to develop a deeper understanding of how your body works and what it’s capable of. This is sometimes referred to as a mind-body connection.
By building this awareness of your physical body and all of the unique things it can do, you will also develop a refined awareness of your inner self. Through dance, you can become reacquainted with yourself physically and mentally, leading to a more stable, connected sense of wellbeing.
5. Dance Creates a Strong Sense of Community
When we feel disconnected from other people, this sense of isolation can lead to serious mental health issues such as depression and social anxiety. If you are struggling to connect with your peers, it’s important that you find a way to connect with others and share joint experiences and emotions.
There is no community quite like the dance community. From training in the rehearsal studio to performing on stage, dancers create deep, lasting bonds with their fellow performers that can last a lifetime. Studies have actually shown that dancing together can have the same effect as bonding over shared interests.
6. Dance Improves Mood and Lowers Anxiety
Dance can have some powerful, immediate effects on our mood. When you dance, a whole host of mood-boosting chemicals are released into the body. These chemicals include endorphins, which are commonly known as the “happy hormones.” Most people will agree that it’s hard to dance wildly around the room to your favourite song without inducing a big grin.
Studies have shown that dancing is actually the best form of exercise for releasing endorphins. Not only does dancing boost happiness, but it can also reduce stress. This is because the activity lowers your level of cortisol. This means dancing leaves you feeling relaxed and content.
7. Dance is a Tool of Therapeutic Expression
You may have heard of Dance / Movement therapy. This is a form of therapy that uses movement to help with a wide range of mental health issues. For people who are struggling with their mental health, there are DMT programs available where dance is incorporated in the treatment program.
8. Dance can Help Reduce Depression
Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects over 350 million people around the world. While a rigorous treatment program might be needed, dance can have a huge positive impact on your life if you are living with this condition.
In addition to releasing good ‘happy’ hormones into the body, dance incorporates music. Music and rhythm give the mind something to focus on. In fact, it can be a very meditative experience. By spending some time focusing on your body’s relationship with music, you can enter an almost trance-like state.
The psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihalyi calls this the state of “flow.” Studies are already emerging, suggesting that the state of flow can provide long-term relief from depression.
9. Dance and Social Unity
There’s nothing better than feeling like you’re part of something. When you feel like an outsider, the dance community can give you a sense of belonging. Check out this study on why a sense of belonging is crucial for mental health.
10. Dance Is the Ultimate Form of Release
Suffering from poor mental health can make you feel physically strained and compressed. If you ever feel like you just need to shake it all off, dance can give you this massive feeling of release. Releasing through creative physical expression allows us to release some of the physical tension we carry around with us every day.
Keep Dancing—the Best Is Yet to Come
Mental and physical health are interconnected. As a result when one suffers, the other suffers too. Dance can not only keep you physically fit, it can help with your mental wellbeing too.
So, next time you’re feeling stressed or sad, try putting on your favourite song and DANCE, MOVE, CREATE!. You’ll see how quickly your mood can change.
And remember, BE DANCERS STRONG.
Much love from your family at Breaking Bounds Dance!