The Power of Dancing

It’s true. Dancing is powerful in many ways. In fact, dancing has such a beneficial effect on the brain that it is used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, a neurological movement disorder.

According to an article in Scientific American Magazine, a neuroscientist posited that music and movement dance constitutes a “pleasure double play”. Music stimulated the brain’s reward centers, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits. Moreover, since dancing involves both mental effort and social interaction, it is shown that this type of stimulation actually helped reduce the risk of dementia.

Apart from that dancing improves mood, visual recognition and decision-making, it also helps to reduce stress, increase the level of serotonin, develop new neural connections, long-term memory and spatial recognition.

As can be seen, there are many reasons to start dancing. Although, those reasons may not be the first thing that come to mind when starting, it is a good motivation.

First time I came across dancing salsa was 2011 when I visited Mexico for the first time. Thinking about my steps was frustrating. I needed to focus and try to follow (I didn’t really like following back then, thinking it made me feel week somehow), not easy at all. But from then on, dancing popped up every now and then and I ended up frequently on those places accidentally and I continued going up dancing, even though I had no clue what to do. But that is also one of many great benefits of being a follower, you don’t need to really think about what to do next – you need to feel the other persons directions and just go with the flow. Surprisingly, it was a very relaxing experience. It blocked me off from the surroundings, my constant thoughts about everything that kept me stressed and just live in the moment. I never went to dance classes, because many guys where very understanding and helpful on the social dance floor. Always teaching me new things and being patient with me.

Slowly, my confident was increasing, not only on the dance floor but also socially. I stoped waiting for any guy to ask me to dance, I became more selective and chose the guys I wanted to dance with. My selection was based on how they were interacting with their partner, listening, being playful, having fun and looked relaxed and confident. They knew what they were doing and it came naturally.

Now, many years later, I meet a lot of people wanting to learn to dance but fear to make mistakes, being too stiff or the moves not coming natural. Let’s make it clear, everything comes with time and practice – and make sure to start early in life. I dance with guys who are beginners as much as with professionals. Because I have been on that journey of struggling in the beginning and I appreciated the fact that people were putting up with a clumsy dancer as I was when I first started.

Until now, I have not said “no” to dance to a guy who is a beginner. Not only because that lowers their confidence, it discourage them from dancing and my aim is not only me having a good experience, but also support the ones who are in the process of learning. That, my dear readers is being unselfish. Let’s support and encourage each other to start dancing for a better health.

Dancing on the Brain, Harvard Medical School Research Article

Here’s some inspiration from an early bird.

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