How Dance Can Help Combat Depression

dancerThese days, more and more people are turning to natural remedies to overcome their illnesses and disease. Since it has been revealed that chemical based medications can actually do more harm than good in some situations, homeopathic ways to combat common ailments like stress and depression are becoming commonplace.

Dance or Movement Therapy as it is more commonly known, has been used for several decades to help improve the mental and physical well- being of a person who has otherwise been struggling with their livelihood. Today, it is also taught as a way of helping a person to focus their mind and body, which leads to an overall improvement in their health. Since dancing is considered to be an art, it contributes to increasing self-expression and allows people to connect on a deeper level with themselves and others. Dancing is a form of art that offers a way to explore psychological roots to overcome certain illnesses such as depression and clinical research has since proven that it substantially minimizes the effects of depression and stress. This video gives an excellent insight into how dance can help combat depression in people both young and old.

Dance therapy is rooted in the belief that motion and emotions are closely intertwined. In example, if a person is struggling with high levels of sadness, their movement will demonstrate this — it will be much slower than usual and smooth or sometimes nonexistent. If a person is excited, their movement will be upbeat and faster. Motion can also affect your mood; this will be experienced when someone reports that completing a high energy dance made them feel happier and better.

Depression is more commonly experienced by women than men and Dance therapy offers them a safe and creative space to move their bodies and free themselves from their perceived limitations. Students are encouraged to act out their hidden hurts through movement and in getting it out, they find that a degree of healing takes place. A large part of depression is based on the feelings of being trapped, or not allowed to express yourself. Dance therapy allows you to experience moving however you want to and to take up as much space as you like in the process.

For those struggling to express their feelings and emotions in words, dance can be an excellent solution as its just about shifting the built up negative energy and releasing it outside of the body, instead of keeping it all pent up inside.

Likewise, music has also been proven to alleviate symptoms of stress and depression, therefore a Dance therapist will often pick pieces of music to be used, that stimulate the release of certain emotions like anger, happiness, sadness and so on. Sometimes a part of dance therapy is to sit down with your group afterwards and discuss whatever feelings, thoughts or emotions arose during the time you spent dancing. Other times, students are simply free to leave after the dancing and reflect in their own space and time.