This is a guest post from Wisdomfeed.com. WisdomFeed helps you make sense out of this complicated world so you can live a richer, fuller, and simpler life.
Are you one of those people that cannot sit still when a good song comes on?
Are you overcome by the irresistible urge to get up and dance, and often find yourself dancing around the house or even in supermarkets, when the right song presents itself?
You're not alone, my friend. We are kindred spirits.
As Samuel Beckett once said, "Dance first, think later. It is the natural order."
In childhood we are instinctive dancers. Unfettered by that joy-killing tendency to become self conscious as we age, young children bounce, sway and otherwise boogie when the urge strikes. Somewhere along the way we begin to care what people think. We begin to monitor ourselves according to what we think others expect, and often random bouts of dancing is one of the first things to go. It's developmentally appropriate, but it still sucks.
What we need is an uprising, people. We need to fight back against the social constructs that squelch our dancing spirits! Flash Mob has the right idea. We need more of that, and here's why:
*Dancing has been scientifically proven to improve memory, cognition and mood. PET scans of the brain indicate that while music activates the pleasure centers of the brain, the action of dancing promotes activity in the brain known for sensory and motor function. So our inclination to dance benefits us emotionally and physically.
*A study published in 2003 followed 469 seniors over the course of five years. The study indicated a preventative connection between dancing and the onset of dementia.
Innovative dance studio owners are also working with children from foster care and children who have ADHD and have found that these children greatly benefit from the emotional and physical outlet of dancing.
*Dancing enables access to emotional experiences of the past and reconnects us to our bodies. Certain songs can quickly transport us to a particular place and time in the past that may not be on the surface in our daily lives. The way our minds process music is different than the way we process other stimuli, offering a unique format to access emotions that may not fit neatly into words. Combining the physical exertion of dance to the emotional component of music offers a connection to a more primal part of our brains that modern life tends to undermine. It relieves stress, builds confidence and self esteem and offers a plethora of physical and mental health benefits.
Whether you embrace dancing by joining a dance studio to learn some new moves, go to a club and dance around in front of giant speakers under flashing lights, or simply turn on some tunes and have an impromptu dance party in your living room, there is no wrong way to do it. With all of the physical and mental benefits, getting in touch with your inner dancing queen has never been a smarter endeavor.
So, what songs are on your "gotta dance" play list?
Check out WisdomFeed for more on how to help you make sense out of this complicated world and live a richer, fuller, and simpler life.
Paula H. Cookson is a freelance writer and psychotherapist living in Maine. She dances in random places, much to the embarrassment of her daughter, at times. Check out her adult coloring book, "Funkadelic Designs" on Amazon.com.
An app for expressive art? Sounds like a bit of an odd concept, right? Well, don’t look away just yet. Whether you’re a dancer, a painter, or just want something to help you with Mindfulness, there are a decent amount of apps out there which may be of use to you…
Unless you’ve been living under a stone the past few years, you’ll have encountered the ‘adult coloring’ phenomenon. It’s taken the world by storm - and a lot of people say it’s really helped their mindfulness practice, reduced their stress levels, and given their creativity a boost. However, if you aren’t able to carry coloring books and pencils around with you wherever you go (who is?), there are plenty of adult coloring apps you can download. One of the best is Recolor - a slick, well-presented app which manages to pretty faithfully recreate the act of coloring, despite being on a tablet or cellphone! There are thousands of designs to choose from, and a bigger selection of colors than you could ever fit into a pencil case! Lots of the designs are free, but more are available via in-app purchases.
Using an app to help you dance is not the easiest thing in the world. After all, unless you’re seriously well covered for accidents, nobody wants to dance with a phone or tablet in their hands! However, apps can give you a decent spread of pre-dance info, and help you not only to perfect your moves, but to learn new ones, and gain a greater general understanding of the world of dance. Pocket Salsa is one of the better dance apps out there. It provides dance-lesson vids and plenty of genuinely helpful advice to really improve your salsa!
Chromaldry is another coloring app - but with a difference. This one will take your smartphone photos and turn them into coloring pictures. It offers a nice paint palette, where users can mix their own colors by swirling them together with their fingers. It’s a lovely idea, and very well executed. The ability to turn your own photos into art adds a nice personal touch, and can really help those wanting to improve their artistic ‘eye’!
See Me allows you to turn your own photos and/or designs into wearable art. For $32 per tee, the app will print your design onto a t-shirt (which you get to customise to your own specifications) and send it out to you. Perfect for commemorating something lovely, or for providing someone with a unique gift! Of course, customized t-shirts are nothing new, but this app goes the extra mile to make a truly personalized tee easy and intuitive to create.
If you want to incorporate your phone into your dance (and why not), Air Pencil is a great way to do it. Basically, the app transforms your phone’s flashlight into a strobe light, which can be used to ‘draw’ temporary designs on the air. The app also captures your motions on its screen, allowing you to create beautiful designs with light. The app was inspired by artists like Picasso and Mili, both of whom experimented extensively in the arena of painting with light.
Lots of people are interested in pole dancing - and it is an excellent way to get fit and build confidence - but not everyone is comfortable with the idea of going to a class. Pole motion teaches you pole dance from the comfort of your own home. It’s suitable for both complete beginners and those who already know what they’re doing, so you don’t have to worry about getting in over your head! The app is free, so all you’ll need to purchase is the pole - but do be careful not to hurt yourself, and always do the app’s warm up before starting!
iDance is a dance and fitness app, which teaches dance steps through nifty little animations. There are plenty of styles to choose from, and it’s a great place to start if you’re new to dance, or thinking about taking it up but aren’t really sure whether it’s for you. While it may not be suitable for more advanced dancers, it does provide a great grounding for those starting out!
A Prayer to St. Hildegard in 2017
Beloved St. Hildegard, sacred doctor of spiritual knowing
A woman, a leader who spoke truth to corruption and power
Long before power was ready
A sage, a mystic, a healer who guided us towards
Nourishing the greening power in our lives
A creator, a vessel of the expressive and
Cultivator of the sacred, verdant fruits of
Watering our true natures with faith.
We find ourselves in a bit of a bind
Here in 2017, and we beg for your leadership as
Women are under attack in a new way
By the systems of power long seeking to silence us.
New leaders take the helm, put there by
Campaigns of fear and systems who feed from
The vulnerable and the weak
The green thread that binds humanity is severed.
We call upon you to teach us how to heal
The green thread.
Show us the way to water,
Help us to cultivate the soil.
Remind us how to nourish our lives with
The elements that service our souls and
The earth entire...
Grant us the patience as we realize that
Sometimes healing is slow---
Indeed, the richest healing usually is!
Help us to savor, to find the greening
Miracles in each day
To recognize that each morsel of healing
Will help us to repair, to replenish the earth.
Poem and painting by Jamie Marich
I behold my favorite summer tree
Today in the midst of winter
Helping me to rest into the gifts of the season
Awaiting my possibilities
Guarding my inevitable bloom
Caring for my journey at every turn
Photograph by Jason Fair
Poetry by Jamie Marich
Dr. Jamie Marich
Curator of the Dancing Mindfulness expressive arts blog: a celebration of mindfully-inspired, multi-modal creativity