The Power of Dance for Mental Health
Did you know dance is a powerful tool to have in your mental health toolkit? The power of dance for mental health has been a prevalent and important topic of conversation lately on The Big Silence podcast, because not only is dance fun, but it has great benefits that help with mental wellness, healing, and to bring more joy!
Dance helps to lower your anxiety, improve your physical health, benefit your emotional health, and it's good for your brain. Dance also reduces the risk of dementia and keeps the brain feeling young. Dance has the power to help you to connect with your body and your senses, to be present in the moment, and heal stuck emotions (and connect with the inner child!). Dance also has the ability to help us to connect with each other.
"Dance can be a holistic way to find your life force again, to look at life with a brighter outlook and reenergize yourself while letting go of the past," says Anya Garnis, of So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. Anya recently shared on the podcast how dancing and mindfulness saved her life. She says, "dancing can reignite a fire within." When paired with mindfulness and intention dance can help us to heal stuck emotions and feel better mentally. "I could never sit in meditation, but with the power of dance I have found a path to mindfulness and connection," says Anya.
Dancing for Self-Expression and Inner Connection
Dance offers a powerful means of self-expression and connecting with your inner child. Whether you're feeling joy, sadness, anger, or frustration, dance provides a safe space to let go and move through these feelings. Experimenting with different styles, rhythms, and movements fosters a sense of playfulness and imagination that can help you connect with your inner child. Embracing your creativity through dance can lead to breakthroughs and self-discovery.
Find Your Power of Resilience with Dance
Not only is dancing great for opening up those hips and building up glute gains, but it can help connect the mind and heart with the body. Dancing, singing, and expressing the body through the senses can help you with letting go of self-judgements and limiting beliefs, and help you see how to truly connect with your inner strength and build resilience. This year we are all about embodiment and resilience!
"It's up to you to believe in your body and don't let anyone else tell you 'you can't dance!' Who says?" asks women's embodiment coach Alexis Artin.
Alexis explains, "It's through our senses that we actually experience our world. How deep in the relationship with your body are you, to notice all of the feedback that your senses are giving you? All of the gifts that your senses are giving you, that is the gift of being in your body." Resilience requires the ability to tap into both physical and mental resources. Alexis provides several questions to help to assess your body connection:
"How often am I shaming my body? How often am I bullying my body? How often am I ignoring my body? How often am I in a conversation of gratitude and unconditional love with my body? What signals and symptoms is my body giving me all the time that I'm not listening to?"
The Big Silence Dance Challenge
Karena invited Anya to create a fun choreographed dance for The Big Silence! You're invited to move your body and dance along to The Big Silence. Let's reclaim our mind and body and dance no matter who might be watching. Give yourself permission to enliven your senses and have fun with movement. Anya, Karena and Bobby offer a practice session with detailed instructions to follow along, right here:
How Dance Benefits the Brain, Body, Your Self-Esteem and Confidence
Not convinced yet?
We have even more info to help you consider giving dance a try!
Researchers at UC Berkely's Great Good Science Center in CA have determined that dancing releases all the feel good brain chemicals: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. These chemicals boost your mood, contribute to better emotional health, and can even boost your immune system and lower pain and inflammation.
Dancing is also great for heart health and provides a fun way to get your cardio in and develop better physical fitness. But besides these health benefits, you might be surprised that dance can help you to increase your self-esteem and improve your confidence.
Mental Benefits of Dance
- Improved self-esteem: Dancing can help you feel better about yourself and boost your self-esteem.
- Reduced depression and anxiety: Dancing can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Increased confidence: Dancing can help you feel more confident in yourself and your abilities.
- Improved social skills: Dancing is a great way to meet new people and socialize.
- Enhanced creativity: Dancing can help you express yourself creatively and explore new possibilities.
- Emotional release: Dance allows you to express your emotions freely and authentically.
- Reduced chance of mental health disorders: Dancing can help reduce the chance of mental health disorders by improving the pathways and transmission of chemicals in the brain.
- Boosts memory: learning new dance steps provides mental challenge that helps memory and learning ability.
Physical Benefits of Dance
- Increased cardiovascular fitness: Dancing is a great way to get your heart pumping and improve your cardiovascular health.
- Improved coordination and balance: Dancing requires you to use your body in new ways, which can help improve your coordination and balance.
- Increased flexibility: Dancing can help you stretch and strengthen your muscles, which can improve your flexibility.
- Reduced stress: Dancing can help you relieve stress and improve your mood.
- Increased energy levels: Dancing can help you boost your energy levels and improve your overall sense of well-being.
- Mind and body connection: Dancing helps you cultivate a deep mind-body connection by attuning to physical sensations and emotions in the present moment.
We hope your feeling energized and ready to experience the freedom of moving your body! Looking for more fun ways to dance yourself to better mental health? Check out The Fitness Marshall for fun mood-boosting dance workouts, too.
We'd love to see your dance for The Big Silence Dance-a-thon. Be sure to tag @the.big.silence.
Feeling anxious? We have 5 tools to help you with your anxiety.
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The Big Silence Foundation, Inc is a U.S. tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to changing the culture of mental health. Consistent with IRS guidelines, all gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Donate to bring change with us!