(picture was taken from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/good-news/seven-seas/why-dancing-feels-good/)
Have you ever wondered why playing your favorite song on a seemingly moody day can uplift your spirits?
Or why blasting a random song and moving to the rhythm and beats can allow you to feel happier?
Here’s why. Dancing is a combination of various movements – where endorphins are released (hormones released during exercise) – that allows us to let go of unwanted negative emotions. According to studies (https://www.mic.com/articles/127921/new-study-finds-dancing-can-have-a-surprising-impact-on-your-health-and-happiness), having higher endorphin levels reduces stress levels while maintaining our social ties with others around us.
University researchers at York and Sheffield conducted a study on a group of people where music was played for five minutes (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/good-news/seven-seas/why-dancing-feels-good/). The participants were given 3 options to choose from while the music was being played:
- to sit and listen quietly to the music
- to cycle on an exercise bike while listening to the music
- to get up and dance to the music
And the results? Those who chose to get up and dance displayed improved problem-solving skills as well as an increase in mood levels and happiness.
What’s even better is that dancing in a group setting can allow you to feel good and be more confident about yourself. Being accustomed to a weekly dance routine has seen an improvement in self-esteem and mood in individuals as compared to those who do not dance regularly (https://www.mindwise.org/blog/mental-health/dancing-and-mental-health/). Making mistakes together, laughing them off, learning from one another, etc., are perfect examples of communal interactions among individuals which can provide a sense of happiness.
I’ve personally watched peers who feel themselves wholeheartedly when dancing while enjoying themselves. Some even tear up while dancing because of immense emotions going through their hearts and souls. It is an indescribable feeling which eventually leaves both the dancer and audience to feel satisfied at the end of the song.
When I was staying on campus, I had a roommate who was heavily involved in dancing. As the vice-president of her dance CCA, she had unbelievable amounts of commitment and work, but she rarely complains because of her passion for dance, which is truly admirable.
I remember asking her once why she loves dancing so much, and she said something along the lines of dance being a platform to express herself freely while releasing pent-up frustrations. Dancing makes her happy and it is an avenue for her to set aside societal expectations and reality.
Although I’m not a professional dancer myself but having been partake in some dance performances in the past, I can see why dancers are truly passionate about dance. Even the simplest things like getting the correct moves at the right timing made me happy and more confident if myself which kept me going. This would inevitably improve my mood for the rest of the day and surprisingly, I looked forward to dancing practices now and then.
(picture was taken from https://www.fredastaire.com/manhasset/blog/dancing-good-improving-mood/)
Aside from the physical benefits dancing have such as improving one’s flexibility, the cognitive benefits dancing provides like enhancing your mental wellnesses are hopefully sufficient to get yourself start pumping to the music.
Dancing is fun – and it is something that can be done conveniently anywhere, at any point in your life. So why not try dancing today in your tiny little corner at home, and you’ll be surprised how satisfied and happier you’ll feel afterward.
Most faster music genres tend to radiate more positivity and energy, which in turn could improve your mood faster than slower genres.
If you’re feeling a little down today but is not sure where and how to begin, you can read our past articles on the types of dance you could do (KPOP Dance, Pamela Reif’s Dance Workouts). Do not go in with the mindset of wanting to be happier and less moody though! Just let loose, relax, and enjoy yourself – let your body and mind naturally flow.
Remember to keep dancing and keep grooving!