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Dance and mental health

3 min read

Exercise has long been recognised as a helping hand for those who are suffering with their mental health and in this blog post we have collected a few of the reasons why we believe dance should be one of the prioritised physical activities to help in this area.
Throughout history, dance has played a central role in various cultural practices internationally and this could undeniably have something to do with the positive mental health benefits linked with dance that today’s health professionals are starting to discover. Over the past few decades doctors have been emphasising the impact movement can have on our physical and mental wellbeing, and since the 1980s there has been a lot of research conducted that supports the areas of: mindfulness, confidence, expression.

It’s common when dancing to become present only in that moment, focusing on the music and movement of your body and this awareness of yourself and focus solely on the dance allows you to practice mindfulness. To simply explain mindfulness, it means to only be paying attention to the present moment, without paying attention or judging external thoughts that enter your mind.
Mindfulness has been found by professionals to help individuals become aware of their thoughts and feelings, enabling people to better manage them and improve their mental wellbeing.

By asking most dancers what they believe dance has contributed to their lives, an overwhelming amount will tell you they have positively benefited from increased confidence levels. The opportunity for individuals to have a creative expressive outlet, that facilitates the creation of goals and leads to feelings and actions of accomplishments does wonders for building confidence and helping with self-esteem.

For many individuals dealing with difficult mental health issues, they can often find difficulty in communicating and expressing how they are feeling and luckily this is an area in which dance specialises in. Dance in its very nature allows for complicated and built up emotions to be expressed in a totally unique format. When considering the internal struggles that people who suffer with their mental health go through, this aspect of dance could be key in giving them a much-needed way to channel their emotions.

If you feel you are suffering from mental health problems, we advise you to pursue the route of professional help to get the assistance you deserve. We will leave some information below of mental health charities, groups and services:

Mental Health Foundation – 020 7803 1101
– Improving the lives of those with mental health problems or learning difficulties.
Together – 020 7780 7300
– Supports people through mental health services.
The Centre for Mental Health – 020 7827 8300
– Working to improve the quality of life for people with mental health problems.
Rehab 4 Addiction –  0800 140 4690
– A helpline service for individuals suffering with alcohol and drug issues, brought to you by people recovering from alcoholism and drug issues.

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