If you’re looking for a quick, effective, free, and FUN mood lifter, look no further than your feet.
Even if you have two left ones.
Studies show that dancing is an effective way to alleviate stress and depression.
(This isn’t entirely new information for some of us. Who else remembers Kevin Bacon’s cathartic dance routine in ‘Footloose’?)
Cinematic masterpieces aside, the reason why dancing is good for your mental health is based on actual science. Dancing releases dopamine (the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure that we all crave) and activates the hippocampus which plays a role in learning and memory.
This means that not only will you be giving yourself a dose of one of your body’s feel-good chemicals, while you’re shaking your groove thing, but your brain will also subconsciously remind you of pleasant, dance-related memories at the same time.
Aaaaand, you are actually giving yourself what experts refer to as a “double pleasure play” whenever your pair your funky fresh dance moves with your favorite tunes.
This happens because music stimulates the brain’s reward centers, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits.
YOU CAN’T BEAT THAT!
You can dance alone, with a partner, or in a group. You can groove in your kitchen or take a Zumba class. You can be light on your feet or ‘rhythmically challenged,’ you will experience benefits to your mental health no matter what.
I don’t know about you, but I actually have more fun when I dance like a goofball.
So the next time you are feeling out of sorts and are at a loss for what to do, (Or you’re enraged that your single mom moved you to a town where dancing is illegal, a’la ‘Footloose’) turn on your radio or hit play on your favorite playlist and SHAKE IT!