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Whether people are out on the town, alone in their room, or at a concert, dancing can often elevate people’s moods and make them feel happy. Dancing feels good for many people, but what’s the research behind it? Read on to find out more about how dancing can improve your mental health.
Research shows that dance can reduce stress symptoms and elevate moods. In a study done on 45 Korean high school students, hip-hop dance was shown to create a higher sense of wellbeing and an overall more positive mood. In another study done on dance movement therapy, it was found that dance therapy led to lower stress levels and an increased ability to manage stress as well. Next time you are feeling stressed from work, family, relationships, or any other source, try putting on some music and dancing it out.
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Another mental health benefit to dancing is that it can encourage social bonding and relationships. It has been shown that when people dance together, they experience a synchronized endorphin release, meaning that their brains release the so-called “happy” neurotransmitter at the same time. This synchronized release of endorphins creates connections and paves the way for relationships. This phenomenon can be experienced both through partner dancing such a ballroom dancing or simply by dancing next to a friend at a concert.
Dance has been proven to have a positive impact on depression levels. In a study done on 120 college-aged students, it was shown that 12 weeks of modern dance classes lowered depression levels substantially. Another study done on teenage girls proved that weekly dance classes lowered both depression and anxiety and uplifted mood. If you are susceptible to depression, try checking out a dance class at a local dance studio. Whether it’s hip-hop, tap, ballet, ballroom, or any other dance, weekly dance classes could be a way to control depressive symptoms.
Dance, and in specific dance therapy, can be an effective way to decrease symptoms associated with PTSD or general trauma. Oftentimes, people suffering from the repercussions of trauma feel out of touch with their body. Dance therapy is a great way to restore one’s connection to their body and help them feel more grounded. This mind-body connection can be very restorative and can help put people on the path to recovery.
Dance and dance therapy can also be an effective tool for substance dependence. When people become dependent on a substance, they develop a relationship with the substance. When people are on the road to recovery, it can be difficult for them to establish relationships outside of their relationship with their substance. Emma Barton, a yoga and movement therapist, uses movement therapy to help her clients learn how to re-establish healthy and functioning relationships.
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