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.
It is an honor to be named the Dancer of the Month for July 2015! Who would have thought that in just two short years this would be happening to me? No one would have - especially not me. I remember teaching my first solo Dancing Mindfulness class and how extremely nervous I was. I have presented in front of audiences of my peers and students many times in my life, so I was not sure about why I was so nervous. Maybe I was nervous because I wanted to be perfect. I wanted the class to be perfect. I wanted everyone to love the class. I wanted everyone to have a positive experience. I think that is because I love the fact that I know there is an opportunity to positively affect someone’s life in each and every Dancing Mindfulness class.
The great thing about Dancing Mindfulness for me is that it has helped me fulfill my lifelong ambition of “helping people to help themselves.” We may not always hear about the ways that Dancing Mindfulness has had an effect on our students’ lives, but when we do, it makes it all worth it! For example here are a few success stories:
From evaluations from the classes I learned that students appreciated the following: the choice of music and inspirational messages; encouragement to be individually expressive/own style; found it relaxing, innovative music, no judgment about physical limitations, and some requested to have some specific steps/routines that can be incorporated. So, as my teaching of Dancing Mindfulness continues, I’ll remember all the good outcomes, add a few choreographed steps as appropriate, and hope that the healing continues for me and for all of the participants in Dancing Mindfulness.
I was asked to write a couple of words of wisdom that have helped me with Dancing Mindfulness. In my attempt to do that I’ve come to the realization that it is not the words of wisdom that have helped me the most. I’ve found the feelings, emotions, actions, reactions, smiles, laughs and tears of both sorrow and joy have been the most inspiring pieces of wisdom that I’ve experienced. I’m not a wordsmith, nor can I recite lines from movies, books, or poems, but I have extreme empathy, emotions, and feelings. I try to understand those during preparation and execution of every Dancing Mindfulness class. It’s like on our tombstones there will be a birth year and a death year and in between them will be a dash. It’s important to understand that it’s not the dates that matter… it’s the dash. Pick your own path, live your own life, (even if it pisses off others), and be proud of yourself! Make the “dash” in your life be exemplary and include a “dash dance” in your next Dancing Mindfulness class! Make it memorable! Be open and learn to trust in your style! You will make a difference in someone’s life … know it in your heart!
Thank you for the opportunity to share what little wisdom I have to offer now as I’m still learning as my dash continues---
Dr. Jamie Marich
Curator of the Dancing Mindfulness expressive arts blog: a celebration of mindfully-inspired, multi-modal creativity