The last two years will have been stressful for most people with the pandemic and various lockdowns. It is useful to be able to identify and understand the stress factors, but I think it is even more important to figure out some simple things we can do to reduce the feeling of stress.  

 

One activity I have found that helps me with stress is dancing! It works whether you know how to dance or not. It boosts your heart rate, works your leg muscles, and forces you to work on coordination and balance. Dancing can bring so much more to your life than physical benefits, it can also help your mental state. 

 

Happy Hormones

 

When the body feels good, the mind does too. Dancing helps reduce levels of a stress hormone (cortisol) and causes the body to produce ‘happy hormones’ (endorphins) which create a wonderful boost of confidence and uplift your mood. Dancing is fun and makes us happy!

 

Dance your troubles away 

 

Have you noticed that when you are dancing the worries and cares of this world seem to fade into the background? When you’re dancing you can distance yourself from the stresses in your life. Your thoughts are focused on the movement, the music, the atmosphere, and your dance partner. Or if you are like me and have your solo dance time in your kitchen, you can see yourself moving like a diva, and expectantly hoping that one day your body moves will finally match the ones in your imagination (haha!). Whilst you are doing this you are giving your brain and soul time to chill, recharge and refocus. Your heart is filled with joy, and you can face the world with renewed energy and maybe a little more clarity.  

 

Express yourself 

 

Dancing is a great way to deal with any bottled-up feelings by allowing you to release them through cathartic movement. Stress often builds up in the body because we don’t get enough opportunities to express what we are feeling. Do you find that there are some pieces of music that just allow you to let off steam, whilst others express mellow thoughts and feelings?  So why not create a playlist of your favourite tunes and express yourself. Oooh…. that reminded me of Charles Wright’s song titled ‘Express Yourself’!  

 

Learn to dance and make some friends 

 

If you are looking for a new hobby, just want to learn how to dance or looking for a way to make new friends, then consider joining a dance class. It is never too late to start, and it is a brilliant way to have fun. There are plenty of websites to find a class near you: Age UK and Dance Near You.

Take back control of your mental and physical health 

 

Learning a new dance routine and remembering the steps is a great way to keep your brain and body active. Learning the new steps exercises the brain and creates new pathways in our brain and as you use so many different parts of your body when dancing, it is a total body and brain workout. Two for the price of one, right? And what a wonderful feeling it is when you know you are taking back control of your own health. It will definitely make your heart sing.

 

Get fitter and have fun 

 

Are you put off by exercises like running or cycling as they can be quite repetitive? Well, dancing is a fun way to get fit.  You can do any type of dance you like. It’s a fun workout. It increases your flexibility, strengthens your bones, and helps build muscle tone. It doesn’t even matter if you’re not a good dancer, just keep moving to the music in your own way. You’ll be having so much fun you won’t realise how much fitness work you are doing. I love salsa and Zumba and I recently started a hip-hop class online and loving it! Remembering the 8-step routines definitely exercises my brain.

 

So why not get dancing – your body and brain will thank you for it. 

Inspired by: Elizabeth Allcock Forever Blog, ‘Dancing Your Stress Away