Ever feeling like you're on a funny path, searching for a new way of releasing any pent up anger, emotions, maybe heven suffer from social anxiety or depression. You know how some people toss on a good playlist, crush some weights in the gym or tune out and blast through some cardio on the treadmill or bike? Have you ever thought ‘what about dancing?’
It is led to believe that there are multiple ways in which therapy of any sort whether it be sport, art, music, dance, herbal, nutritional, etc. is good for the soul, the cognitive mental state and or even an emotional release for the individual. Taking dance as a form of therapy towards helping prevent the development of any type of illness, such as cancer or depression, “the physical benefits of dance therapy as exercise are well documented. Studies have shown that physical activity is known to increase special neurotransmitter substances in the brain (endorphins), which create a state of wellbeing. And total body movement such as dance enhances the functions of other body systems, such as circulatory, respiratory, skeletal, and muscular systems” Aktas, G., & Ogce, F. (2005). Sometimes looking for a new alternative to becoming more “fit” or falling into a healthier lifestyle – ever think of dance? Not saying it has to be professional, but allowing for oneself expression.
Its purpose is designed to help an individual achieve greater self-awareness in creating a positive outlet for one’s wellbeing. Connecting through authentic movement, allows oneself to express moving in a rhythmical pattern to eases muscular rigidity, diminishes, anxiety, and increases energy. Giving the chance to balance out physical movement in a manner of interpretive expression.
Within the article of 'Neuroscience meets dance/movement therapy: Mirror Neurons, the therapeutic process and empathy,' utilizing a empathic projection it allows for the quality of feeling a shared affect state, sharing the frame work of mirroring another - but make it your own! 'The underlying principle of the mirror matching mechanism is that humans and their subspecies are biologically wired with these types of brain cells,' Berrol, C. F. (2006). Now imagine using dance - looking in the mirror trying to understand your movement, or learning a dance but mimicing another, with a partner allowing for the sense of trust but feeling the movement in rhythm, vibing off one another's energy to allowing for your mind to play your soundtrack, letting the emotions flow in rhythm to how you want your body to move. What do you have to lose? Giving oneself the chance to achieve greater self-awareness and a more positive sense of well-being, why not try a new technique at bringing a new tool of happy into your lifestyle.
By dance, it is led to believe that it will affect one first, more on a spiritual level, then refines back to socially and physically opening up that way gateway to cope with any chronic illness or from those who may of suffered from social or physical abuse. Dancing increases ones ability to enhancing their memory, coordination, release of pent up stress or emotions, muscle toning, and so much more. Dance being known to be quite spiritual, and used as a ritual in some cultures as traditions to connecting and releasing on a higher level of a euphoric journey. Not saying you have to go that far, but dance is a very alert way of regaining balance in your own ground works of motor control mentally connecting to the physical action scaling back to the fundamentals of conscious and unconscious awareness.
What better way then to connect with your own self expression. What do you have to lose? Society and those who surround us put too much pressure on judgement and expectations on how we should behave, this and that. Well, if its any way of increasing your health and well being then I say, why not dance how you truly feel? Powerful form of thinking yet centering your calmness, who cares how it looks and is perceived by another. So many benefits to increasing the whole personal fitness and well-being can be gained through dance therapy. So the next time you're feeling down, or having a tough time with motor control and relaying what you see to mimic - take five minutes and just bust a move! Evaluate how it left you feeling, with out any conscious thought of what people think. Dare you to give it a try.
By: Rebecca Ulch
Aktas, G., & Ogce, F. (2005). Dance as a therapy for cancer prevention. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 6(3), 408.
Berrol, C. F. (2006). Neuroscience meets dance/movement therapy: Mirror neurons, the therapeutic process and empathy. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 33(4), 302-315.