“Dance like there’s no tomorrow
Don’t care about the sunrise
Somebody please just hit the lights
All I wanna do is dance like there’s no tomorrow”
These lines from Paula Abdul’s song aptly describe my love for dancing. Not that I am a trained dancer or people love the way I dance, it is just that dancing makes me happy. I gather a bunch of kids from the neighborhood, switch on a fast dance number and dance like the kids do. Even a few minutes of dancing lightens hours of stress on my mind. I do not mind what people have to say about my dancing skills. This is because I dance for myself, my happiness, my contentment, my life.
I had no idea about emotional benefits of dancing until recently a psychologist friend told me how dancing has been healing people all around the world. I was just of the opinion that dancing helps reduce weight and such things. People who dance can connect easily with other people and even make friends quickly. While there are several forms of dancing, there is no particular one to relieve stress. If Bharatnatyam is what makes you happy, don’t think much and go ahead.
My two-year-old daughter inspires me to dance and keeps me on my toes. Initially, I danced to make her happy, but now with practice, I know that dancing is a biggest stress-buster. In India, there is a ritual of people dancing at wedding processions. What I liked about this kind of dance is that while dancing, people are not embarrassed at all. They dance to their contentment, in the happiness that their relative or friend is getting married.
Dancing for emotional happiness too requires a little bit of practice. Firstly, do not think about specific steps. Just move along with the music. Secondly, forget about the embarrassment of people watching you or commenting on your dance skills. If you feel embarrassed, close your eyes and move your body. Read here about how dancing benefits you emotionally.
How Dancing Benefits you Emotionally
A Smarter You
Yes, this is true. You can become a tad bit smarter than you already are if you dance on a regular basis. This is interesting, isn’t it? Dancers are known to be ‘body thinkers’. They are said to be kinesthetically intelligent. While dancing, some of the crucial parts of the brain get activated. This ultimately leads to good decision-making capabilities if there are regular utilization and exercise of these brain functions. Psychologists are of the opinion that dancing might lead to the opening of new pathways present in the brain, which helps in better absorption of novel information.
A Shapely Brain
What? Dancing will help keep my brain in shape. I knew it that if I dance regularly, I will shed a few kilos, but how will the shape of brain be affected by dancing? Dancing helps keep the brain and associated faculties stay in shape. For the purpose of brain health, opt for memorized dance steps and motions. While matching music with steps, your brain gets a good workout. It even results in increased circulation of blood. You will be surprised to know that this even helps in reducing the chances of dementia, aging and even loss of memory.
After dancing for some time, I feel energetic and enthusiastic. This helps me in concentrating on my work. For instance, what would have taken 30 minutes; I can easily complete it in 18-20 minutes after a round of dancing. My attention span has improved drastically post taking dancing as an activity. Dancing helps improve the functioning of the brain and thereby increases the ability of concentration.
A Great Antidepressant
Dancing elevates mood. People who feel lonely and depressed should take up dancing for several benefits. It even helps in cases of anxiety. After a stressful day at work or during bouts of low self –esteem, dancing is something that has been a great help. People who find it difficult to cope should definitely take up dancing to notice the transformation.
An Extrovert You
Get out of the cocoon with dancing. It not only opens up your mind but makes you connect with people easily. You will be able to make friends easily. Moreover, if you are going through a low phase with a friend or partner, take up dancing classes together. You will not only learn something but will also be able to resolve differences that had crept up in the relationship.
A Fun Therapy
The word therapy sounds boring. But when you take up dancing as a therapy, you will not only enjoy the journey but the results as well. Dancing helps alleviate several mental ailments. It keeps both mind and body fresh. Many believe that each body has some kind of music playing inside. If you concentrate on that music and dance to the rhythms of it, you will feel good and happy. Above all, dancing is like a meditation, which you can enjoy whenever you feel like.
How Kids can Benefit from Dancing
Children are little balls of love. I like watching them when they play, eat and especially when they dance. They are so immersed in dancing that it seems that they know all the forms and expressions of dancing. Children respond to dancing very well. For kids, dancing is a medium of communication, just like talking is. However, not all kids are same when it comes to behavior. Their conduct differs depending upon several factors like the ambiance in the family, exposure in school, encounters in day to day routine and others.
While some kids are shy by nature, others are a lot friendlier whereas some are a bit aggressive as well. To tackle behavioral problems in kids and to channelize their energy in the right direction, introduce them to dancing. Dancing has been benefitting kids of all age groups around the world. Dancing, as an activity, helps kids to focus, improves their memory and also makes them more social. If your kid is shy, let her express herself through dancing. Switch on some music of her choice and let her gyrate to the tunes of it with her eyes closed, probably. She might take some time but eventually will begin liking it. However, if she is not fond of dancing, do not force her. She might be fond of something else.
Kids who are very talkative can be asked to keep quiet for a while by involving them in dance. Instead of using words, they will learn to express themselves through actions. This might benefit them and save their energy that they waste into talking. No, I am not saying that talking is a behavioral problem. It is just that kids have so much to say and they can learn another medium to express (like dancing) besides talking.
You might have come across some kids who are aggressive. Aggression is a medium of expression. The aggression in such kids needs to be channelized and dancing might serve as a beneficial medium.
Whatever be the reason, kids and dancing are a fun combination. I used to ask my toddler to dance when she was getting bored and did not know how to kill her time.
Benefits of Dancing to Seniors
Neha, recently, enrolled her mom-in-law to dance classes. No, she didn’t do this to get some me-time but she really wanted her mom-in-law to make some new friends. To her surprise, her mom-in-law was a changed person after a couple of months. Not only did she learn dancing, but even began hobby classes in unison with the friends she made over there. Her mom-in-law is quite busy these days and very happy too.
This is the magic of dancing. It not only makes you a better person but spreads around and makes people around you happier as well. Seniors and elderly people equally benefit out of dancing as kids and adults. In fact, dancing can become one of the necessary activities in their lives, if introduced at the right time. Dancing not only improves the health of elderly people, but it also makes them social. At times, seniors fall prey to loneliness as they are not able to make friends.
Dancing rekindles joy and the ability to open up to strangers. Seniors who dance are enthusiastic about their lives. This is one of the bigger benefits. Seniors lose interest in lives as they age. But dancing keeps them positive about life and their overall health. With dancing, they can express themselves in a better way. Such seniors fall less prey to ailments like dementia. Besides, dancing is also beneficial for the physical well-being of the elderly people. If these benefits do not entice you, take up dancing as a hobby or a leisure activity, you might learn something new.
Top 10 Emotional Benefits of Dancing
1. Dancing helps you focus. When you dance, you learn to concentrate on the movements of your hand, feet and overall body. You learn to take control of your body.
2. Dancing sharpens your memory. People who are enrolled in specific dance classes learn to memorize steps. In order to perform a group dance, a person tries to remember the steps in accordance with those of others.
3. Dancing reduces anxiety and depression. People who are prone to blues should enroll in dancing to feel better about their own selves.
4. Dancing helps strengthen bonding in couples. When partners dance together, they try to understand other partner’s point-of-view. This helps solve misunderstanding that might have crept into their relationship.
5. Dancing is a mental exercise. People who dance on a regular basis have active brains. Based on a research, such people are even smarter.
6. Dancing is quite a good therapy for several ailments, especially psychological ones. Music and dance go well together and it helps soothe the pain.
7. Dancing is the source of joys and it keeps people happy, irrespective of the situations they encounter. People, who dance, smile more often and they find joy even in everyday activities.
8. Dancing helps people make friends more easily. They learn to become social and find it easy to connect to other people, even strangers.
9. Dance even keeps you fit. You can lose weight or gain some with proper dancing steps. Enroll in dancing classes and see the magic.
10. Dancing enhances your personality and makes you charming. The secret is that with dancing, you learn to love your own selves and this reflects your personality.
You might be thinking of taking up some dance classes now. However, until that time, what you can do is set the ringtone of your cell as one of your favourite songs. Every time your phone rings, dance to the tunes of it. It will instantly uplift your mood. Put on the music or better, starting humming a tune and dance like there is no tomorrow or like if there is a good one. Do not care if you have two left feet or two right ones. Dancing does not need anything – just some music and some interest, that’s all. Will you dance with me?
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