Many humans have turned into armchair dancers. They tune in and watch dancers glide across the floor, or bust a few moves, on shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. People love to watch these awesome dancers and, it turns out, dancing movies are once again gaining in popularity. Research shows, however, that getting up off the couch, and actually dancing, can improve your social skills, lift your spirit, and has shown to reverse depression. Why is this, you might ask? Well, dancing isn't only fun, it's exercise; and exercise releases endorphins in the body that make us feel good. Several studies in the US, and elsewhere, show that dancing has the same effects as meditation; it requires mindfulness and purpose. It calm calm the mind and relieve stress. The expressive nature of dance allows us to interpret, then release, our pent up emotions. This is, as I found out, very freeing! Dancing lifts the body into an an open and optimistic posture. Many doctors, trainers, and psychologists are prescribing dance for their patients and clients. That's a prescription I'd actually like to take.
Don't have a partner to dance with? No problem! Turn on your radio, CD player, or your iPod. Dancing around to fast, upbeat music can get you out of your disorgaized fog and back to feeling energized...all in a just a few, short songs. If you prefer couples dancing, try signing up for dance lessons. A study done by Rosa Pinniger shows that you don't need special skills to dance. She says, "If you can walk, you can do the Argentine Tango." but she admits, that "some concentration and improvisations are required." You're not trying out for a TV reality show, so the important thing to remember is just to have fun. Research also shows that dancing expands your sense of self and connectedness with others. If you don't want formal ballroom dance lessons, check and see if there are other types of dance classes in your area. Interpretive dance can be both fun and a wonderful way to "let it all out."
I don't dance often enough. But if I learned anything from this weekend's outing, it's that I love to dance...and it makes me happy. I don't need any other reason to get out there and "busta move" as often as I can. Go ahead and try it yourself. I know you can do it!