Dance saved my life. I have struggled with insecurities and inadequacies since I was little. I had body image issues. I was overweight. I had a medical condition called Hyperhidrosis. I struggled with loneliness since I was 13 years old and dance helped me find a family.
So from personal experience, here are 3 things dance can do for your mental health.
- You get to have a family: The world’s greatest problem is loneliness. When I was 23 and I started taking my first dance class, one of the most amazing things happened. I started to feel a little less lonely in the world. Suddenly, I had these classmates who just wanted to be there to have fun, to connect with others and I was one of those others. There is a familyhood when you start to grow together in dance. I had two left feet and none of the other classmates made me feel bad about myself. The volunteers at the school were supportive as well, always cheering me on. Every time I’d go to the social people would be smiling and they would want to actually dance with me, even though I wasn’t a great dancer. At the peak of my dancing, when I was a student, I would be dancing six times a week and I didn’t realize that then but the thing that I kept coming back for was all the connections I was making with my dance family.
- Confidence from competence: When you practice and work at getting good at something, that confidence splashes into every other part of your life. I was not a good dancer. I was always awkward. Any time I was at a wedding at a Halloween party. I never really wanted to get on the dance floor. When I started to take dance classes, in a structured way with the same instructor with the same classmates, and start to grow together, I started to find confidence in myself. Working hard, weekly, consistently, and seeing improvements started to affect me off the dance floor. I just started to walk with my head a little bit higher, I started to feel a little bit better about myself even if other parts of my life weren’t going great.
- Stress Relief: Whatever gets you moving and out of your head is good for you. Whether it was when my mom had cancer, I had a crisis at school, I was spiraling down…So many moments I remember where just give me a 1-hour class or a couple of hours on the dance floor socializing and I can just escape. Dancing is a form of meditation but that’s way more fun to do because you actually have someone in front of you (at least in Latin dancing) that is ebbing and flowing with you. As you dance your heart rate goes up, you’re just physically more active you can’t help but HAVE to be present at the moment. Most pain is caused by either our past or the anxiety of something in the future.
Honestly, there are so many more benefits I can share with you why dancing is AMAZING for mental health but I will leave you with this.
It saved my life, no joke because I found my family, I found my confidence and it did not let me get swallowed up by the stress of everything that happened in my life.
So don’t wait and book your first dance class, because your only regret will be
“Why didn’t I do this sooner”
If you have any questions you would like me to answer here are some ways you can contact me: message me on Instagram (torontodanceSalsa), on Twitter (#torontodanceSalsa), on Facebook (Toronto Dance Salsa) or email me at [email protected].