May is Mental Health Awareness Month, though for us at Team SHiNE, it’s a top-of-mind conversation all year long. Our company was founded on the principle that fitness should be fun, and moving our bodies should be a whole-person experience. SHiNE, and any form of dance for that matter, is so much more than “just” a workout. We scoured the internet for evidence that dance is just as good for our mental health as our physical fitness, and guess what? The proof is everywhere! In fact, we needn’t have looked any further than our own SHiNE Online Membership community, though we did. (See some of what they have to say below!) Read on for the top 7 reasons (out of approximately 538,986) that dance is good for your mental health:
- Dance helps balance hormones. Does anyone out there not need some hormone support? Those buggers fluctuate on a daily basis, through every chapter of our lives, and seem to be thrown off course so easily! Luckily, according to the British Science Association, “Dance has been scientifically proven to reduce levels of cortisol caused by chronic stress. It also causes the brain to release dopamine – a natural mood booster, and endorphins – a natural painkiller.”
- Dance provides stress relief. “A natural mood booster,” you say? SHiNE Online member and Licensed Professional Counsellor (LPC) Kim Gustin agrees. We dare you to spend an hour letting loose on the dance floor and not feel just a tiny bit lighter afterwards!
- Dance builds community. Especially when combined with the magic of group fitness, dancing brings us together in a myriad of ways: Online classes and groups, live classes, community events, instructor trainings and more! Choosing to make yourself vulnerable and step out onto the dance floor is the hardest part, but doing so next to others who are sharing your experience opens the door to connection and friendship. What’s better for mental health than friends?!
- Dance is a creative outlet. Remember playing pretend at recess? Seeing your imagination come to life in summer art or theater camp? Marching band, pom squad, yearbook class? Our lives are full of opportunities to play, explore and create as children and adolescents, but we often forget or choose not to engage in creative activities as adults because our to-do lists take top priority. Making time to follow your creative instincts and “go where the wind takes you” can provide an energy boost and a “full cup” feeling that keeps your vibe high all day long.
- Dance increases self-confidence. We don’t need WebMD to tell us, “Showing yourself that you can learn and master new moves and skills through dance can improve your self-esteem and confidence.” One of our very own Team SHiNE Members, who went from hating dancing (and herself) to loving both when she discovered dance fitness, is living proof!
- Dance keeps us feeling young. In one study on interventional strategies for enhancing quality of life and health span in older adults, researchers found that, “Dance, in addition to physical activity, combines the emotion, social interaction, motor coordination and music, thus creating a thriving environmental condition for individuals. Through the revival of music and dance, the elderly have the opportunity to relive the past through the present. The importance of social interaction through music places them in a process, so the elderly can share their passion with others. This interaction with other people eliminates the feeling of loneliness and enhances their psychological status. Moreover, it is considered an important fact that their self-esteem and mood increase as they realize they can engage in new skills.”
- Dance improves brain function. As much as we love to think of our emotional health as what’s happening in our “hearts,” it’s more truly a matter of brain function. The healthier we are inside of our bodies, starting from the top (see what we did there?), the stronger and healthier we can be in mind and spirit. Dance is scientifically proven to improve cognitive function, among many other physical benefits, and the delightful domino effect that happens when we begin to see these benefits means more benefits begin to appear!
Now isn’t that something worth celebrating? We think so! Let’s have a dance party!
SHiNE saves my sanity and gives me confidence.
– Sarah A
SDF has helped me rediscover the joy of “play,” helped me regain confidence in my body (after birthing 5 kids) and has helped me find a fantastic “fitness family!” (Among other many things)
– Polly J
I’ve gained confidence, motivation, drive, and a whole slew of many, many friends I know will only continue to grow stronger!!
– Tisa E
SHiNE has been such a blessing in managing my mental health for years now. Something different about SHiNE is the level of humility they show in their classes by showing real “mistakes” and real life. I love it so much!
SHiNE is my emotional and mental health goddess! I fell in love from the start! It’s not only the dancing, but the community and positivity that keep me wanting more.
– Paige P