It can help with some of the emotional issues in the body.”
But it’s not just dancing that helps. Dancers can be a lot more effective at getting the message across to others, according to a study in Frontiers in Psychology.
“People with mental health problems should consider getting involved in social events,” said Rebecca Geller, Ph.D., a clinical investigator in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan’s College of Social Health and a member of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). “People who are feeling overwhelmed will feel more connected and engaged in social situations.”
One researcher, John G. Kelly Jr., has studied the relationship between dance and stress disorders among people in treatment programs for mental health problems.
“One of the most surprising findings from my research is that mental health issues may be a risk factor for dancers,” said Kelly, professor emeritus for clinical psychology at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. “The work of the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that mental health disorders are very prevalent in dancers, but this is a new dimension in understanding the association between dance and stress.”
A 2007 study in the journal, Dance, found that people who dance have more “positive psychological wellbeing,” or happiness as measured by the feeling of being in “good” moods. So dancers feel less anxious or depressed, which could potentially lead to less stress. Also, people who dance a lot may have better mood control.
“There have been many studies in the past with research participants trying to understand dance addiction,” said Kelly. “People who try to quit dance often feel very depressed, and if they try to quit dancing in a clinical setting they report being very anxious. They may need help coping with those feelings. So we’re just starting to explore whether there is a potential link between mental health and dance participation.”
Kelly says it’s important that dance therapy be a “real opportunity to have a real-lived relationship and social connection.”
“There are great, positive benefits to practicing good dance as part of your regular social participation, even if it is only a weekly or sometimes a monthly basis.”
A study published in Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience in 2007 reported that individuals who dance at least twice a month are able to decrease the amount of time they spend watching television and internet videos they might be doing at the time.
“In our study, people showed a decrease in the amount of time they spent watching TV and
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