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.
Dr. Jamie Marich
Curator of the Dancing Mindfulness expressive arts blog: a celebration of mindfully-inspired, multi-modal creativity