The Small Joys Series: Dance Like A Fool

Welcome back to the Small Joys Series! This seems like a good time to remind you (and me) to invest and indulge in the small moments nestled in between the big ones.

In this series, we explore the mental health benefits of the little things- which are actually the big things.

Small joys can help us cope with overwhelming circumstances. They give us a break and a safe place to retreat when it gets to be too much. Think of it like giving your mind a soft landing spot- it's a temporary stay, but a meaningful one.

Looking back, it’s often the small joys of life that we remember the most fondly!

Today's post is about dancing like a fool and is 10000% inspired by THESE GUYS:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CHqbYz7nETi/

YESSSSSSS 🎤🎤🎤

https://www.instagram.com/p/CHi3beRnd3U/

LITERALLY SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE 🕺🏽🕺🏽🕺🏽

https://www.instagram.com/p/CHOcoggHB0d/

LAST ONE BUT IT'S A FAVOURITE 🍑👀

Honestly, if you don't follow Basement Gang on IG, what are you waiting for? I've been sitting here for an hour and my face actually hurts from smiling. THAT is the energy I needed today.

These guys are proof of two things:

Dancing is a major energy and mood boost

You don't need much to get moving. Got a basement? Maybe some floor space? Then waste no time dancing like no one's watching (and these days, most likely, no one is)

Solo Dance Parties? 11/10 Would Recommend

If you have ever felt the music move you, been on a dance floor, or couldn't keep yourself from tapping out the beat with your feet....you know that dance moves through us naturally.

By dancing, I do not mean choreography. You don't have to 'good' at dancing for it to feel good.

It's true that dancing at parties can be difficult if you are shy, self-conscious, or would just prefer not to.

However, some argue that we actually NEED to be able to dance badly, look silly, and be foolish. The fear of what others will think of us can hold us back in so many ways.

Dancing asks us for a bit of vulnerability in exchange for a rush of good feelings, energy, and laughter.

Now that we're in lockdown, solo dance parties are here to fill in the void!

The Mental Health Benefits Of Dancing

I dare you to dance without smiling. It's kind of sneezing without closing your eyes- nearly impossible.

What's behind this?

Like any form of exercise, dancing releases feel-good chemicals in our brain. Dopamine, serotonin, endorphins are behind sensations such as pleasure and happiness.

If you need further encouragement, here are some other mental health and wellness benefits of dancing:

1. Dancing Gets You Moving

When you combine movement with music, it's instantaneously more fun. Have you ever noticed that the quality of your workout can vary with the music you're listening to?

I (clumsily) did this 15 minute dance work out yesterday and it was so much fun!

Moving our bodies is one of the best things we can for our mental health during the lockdown. And dancing sweetens the deal doesn't it?

2. Dancing Fills You With Confidence

You don't have to dance in front of anyone to feel confident! It might feel awkward in the beginning, but showing yourself that you've got some moves can boost your self-esteem and confidence.

People who take dance classes often comment on how much easier it is to stand tall, be assertive, and move through the world with conviction. When we overcome the fear of moving our bodies, it shows :)

3. Dancing Improves Mood

In one study, researchers found that Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) is an effective intervention to treat adults with depression.

Now keep in mind, sliding across the floor in your socks isn't exactly a DMT intervention...however the spirit remains the same.

If you are experiencing low moods, try doing something as simple as swaying your body. It can be difficult to maintain high energy levels when we are feeling low, so do what feels good for you.

4. Dancing Helps You Reconnect With Your Body

This past year, our bodies have been through a lot. Working from home, high stress levels, back pain where we never thought back pain could exist....just to name a few.

Dancing, or doing dance workouts increases body awareness. It helps us orient to our posture and what how we hold and carry ourselves throughout the day.

5. Dancing Encourages Creativity

If you grew up choreographing and performing living room dance routines, you know that creativity doesn't require a studio.

Sometimes we need a distraction from our feelings. Other times, we need an outlet.

Dance and creativity allows us to pursue both those options. Try learning some choreography on YouTube! You will get the combined benefit of movement, confidence, body awareness (i.e. me becoming aware my body can't do half these moves 😅) and a creative outlet.

Winding Down

The only thing left to say, really, is stop reading and start dancing! Like, now. Maybe just make sure you're not on Zoom. Other than that, go forth! And don't forget to comment below...I need some new dance music👇🏽

I want to hear from you: What is your absolute favourite song to dance to alone in your bedroom? I'll start: a little Whitney + a little Bollywood. 👌🏽👌🏽👌🏽

That’s all for me! If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to send me an email. Or book an appointment with anyone from WellNest’s awesome team! You can also book a free phone consult at anytime.

Until next time!

Hala

Mental Health Content Specialist

WellNest Psychotherapy Services

Hala Shamsi is a Social Worker and Mental Health Content Specialist at WellNest Psychotherapy Services. She is always deep in the middle of an internet spiral to bring you fresh insights into the world of mental wellness.

Is there a topic you want to see covered in this blog? Feel free to reach out at the email above to let her know!