February usually finds us fighting off the mid-winter blues; after the expectations of the holidays and the waning of the excitement and potential of the New Year, we find ourselves wanting to crawl like groundhogs into a cave of blankets with our remote and a pint of ice cream to wait for spring.
Dancing can help chase away those blahs, keep us motivated in our resolutions for positive change, and connect us to the people and feelings that inspire us.
Movement. Getting up and getting moving is a great way to feel better. Exercise can release endorphins that can make you feel better. But workouts can feel just like that…work, and dancing, more than just about any exercise, can help chase the blues away by giving you a double dose of those endorphins. Studies show, you get an extra boost of the happiness-creating chemical when you dance to music compared to other forms of exercise.
Motivation. Ballroom dancing provides a series of goals, from learning a step or a new dance, to mastering a technique, performing routine, or participating in a competition. Goals both small and large are important factors in our motivation and well-being. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm associated with the winter blues coincide with low levels of dopamine. Completing dance goals and the cheers and recognition it brings produces dopamine helping us maintain the motivation to complete other tasks and inspires us to keep improving and growing on and off the dance floor.
Community. Ballroom dance brings us back together with happy, supportive people. Bad weather and a lack of motivation can make hermits of us, if we let it. Lack of connection and social interaction can lead not only to feelings of loneliness and depression, they can cause physical pain and sickness. Getting together with people in a friendly, social, joyful activity like dancing not only gets you out among people. Feeling connected and appreciated helps boost serotonin levels that help give us a feeling of well-being and a reason to get up and get out. And a hug and the connection you find in partnership dance can give you a boost of oxytocin to help you feel better emotionally, but also reduces cardiovascular stress and improves the immune system
Laughter. Laughter really is the best medicine. And we laugh a lot at the National Dance Clubs. We have shared goals and shared struggles. Ballroom dance is fun. It helps us take ourselves and our troubles a little less seriously. We focus, for that time we are at the studio or on the dance floor, on getting up, getting out, getting moving, getting healthy, getting together, and getting happy. If you haven’t tried ballroom dance, what are you waiting for? Get going!