We have an old-fashioned relationship with movement and learning. We rarely allow them to happen at the same time. In schools and universities around the world we fill lecture theatres and classrooms with tables and chairs and expect learners to sit still while they learn. But what if we introduced
How to feel great when you gyrate - let's dance!
Dancing is a brilliant way to get your wellbeing back. Here are my ten top-tips for how to feel great when you gyrate.
1. Find your groove and get moving
Put on a piece of music that you LOVE and feel the effect it has on your body. Feel the way the music makes you move. That’s groove. Dancing doesn’t start with the steps you make – it starts with a feeling deep inside.
2. Variety is the spice of life
Mix things up. Dance is an umbrella term which covers hundreds of different styles of movement and music. Each style of dance has its own personality and character. Get to know as many different dance styles as you can.
3. Keep it friendly
It’s important that you dance with people you like. If it’s an online class you’re doing from home then pick one with a friendly, engaging instructor. If it’s an in-person class in a studio or nightclub then pick one where the other dancers are warm and welcoming. If you’re dancing alone in front of the mirror – then love dancing with yourself.
4. Move your mind as well as your body
Dancing is as much a stimulator of your mind as it is your body. Some forms of dance demand a lot of memory and learning, some activate your attention, and some stimulate your spatial awareness. Pick a form and level of dance that tickles your mind, without overwhelming it.
5. Wag your tail
Dancing gives us a tail to wag – it’s fantastic for the expression and communication of emotion – and helps pent up emotions become free. Where else can we feel and express such a wide range of emotions? – dancing is the emotional equivalent of squeezing water from a sponge
6. Get physical
Give yourself a full body and brain workout when you dance. We might dance with the parts of the body that we can see (arms, legs, torso etc.) but we also dance with the bits of the body we cannot see too. Did you know, that dancing stimulates your brain, the production of neurohormones and lots of your internal organs too. So shake it up – and get physical with your whole body.
Bring it home, cool down, and relax. It’s important that you take a moment at the end of a dance session to cool down your body and your mind. A deep sea diver needs to decompress as they come to the surface – so do dancers, before they leave their dance world.
8. Pause and reflect
Take some time to think about your dance experience. What did you enjoy? What did you find challenging? What was the environment like? How did your body and mind feel? Would you like to experience that again?
9. Plant your dance and watch it grow
Dance is a gift. Spread the love of dance by taking your movement and planting it in unusual or barren places. Dance on the beach, in the office, on the bus. Pass it on. Pass on the gift of groove.
10. Get in to a groovy habit
The best way to feel great when you gyrate is to dance often. Make a habit of dancing. Start with a 15 minute session three times a week and build it up from there. Find your groove and get your wellbeing back.
There is a strong body of evidence suggesting a link between dance and mental wellbeing – such that engaging in dance-based activities can have a positive impact on many different aspects of wellbeing. Follow these ten steps to feel great when you gyrate.
Dr Peter Lovatt
July 27, 2022
Not sure where to start?
Try the Move-Assure Dance for Mental Wellbeing 20-week programme with Dame Darcey Bussell and Dr Peter Lovatt.
Want to learn more about the amazing power of dance to transform lives? Read The Dance Cure: The surprising secret to being smarter, stronger, happier, by Dr Peter Lovatt
Want to learn more about the Psychology of Movement and train to be a Movement in Practice Facilitator? Then have a look at the full range of our courses at www.movementinpractice.com/courses
About the Author
Dr Peter Lovatt is an expert in dance and movement psychology. He is the original Dance Psychologist and is sometimes known as Dr Dance. He’s been studying Psychology, Movement and Dance for over 25 years. He is the author of The Dance Cure: the surprising secret to being smarter, stronger, happier (2020) and Dance Psychology: the science of dance and dancers (2018) and he is the co-founder of Movement in Practice. If you would like to train in the Psychology of Movement and qualify as a Movement in Practice Facilitator please visit www.movementinpractice.com
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