Dancing Relieve Depression Symptoms.
The evidence looks promising: Dancing may help with depression symptoms.
For many people, it provides a personal, profound experience that supports healing Depression can make it hard to engage in activities you once enjoyed.
Engaging in soothing movements while dancing could boost your mood and improve your symptoms in some cases.
The formal symptoms of depression include:
Low mood in the form of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, or anger difficulty experiencing joy trouble focusing changes in sleeping and eating habits unexplained aches and pains fatigue and low motivation feeling restless or moving and speaking slower than usual thoughts of self-harm and death If you live with these symptoms, you may not feel up to doing much, but some physical activity could actually make you feel better.
Studies suggest that a regular dance practice, solo, in a group setting or with a dance therapist, can pair well with depression treatment.
A 2020 studyTrusted Source, for example, found that dancing was an effective therapy for reducing symptoms of depression, ranked third out of seven physical activities behind tai chi and yoga.
A 2021 meta-analysis of 28 studies found that adults reported benefits for depression symptoms, stress, and anxiety after 2.5 hours (or more) of dance intervention per week.
A dance intervention involves: organized and structured bodily movements playing of music a therapeutic relationship with a practitioner
Dancing can also improve your cardiovascular health, promote the production of feel-good chemicals in the body, and help you connect with others.
Enhanced neurotransmitter activity
For some, depression symptoms are tied to reduced neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Research has extensively tested the body and brain’s response to movement and shown that it can greatly impact one’s overall mental well-being.
Dancing, like other forms of exercise, releases endorphins, giving you a mood boost during and after your workout. Research shows that even one session of exercise can provide benefits for depression, and dancing can be an excellent form of exercise.
Other studies suggest that music also helps release dopamine, another possible reason that dancing can feel like a powerful healing intervention. Improved self-esteem
A small 2021 study of 27 people hospitalized with major depressive disorder found that a combination of medication and a dance program enhanced patients’ feelings of self-efficacy, compared to those who were only given medication.
Increased interest in activities
One challenge with depression is that it can reduce your interest in hobbies or activities that you used to love. Some research suggests that dancing may help with this.
A small 2021 study on adults over the age of 65 found that line dancing improved their depression symptoms, increased interest in activities, and enhanced how participants felt about their lives.
Depression is often linked with rumination and intrusive thoughts. Perhaps you find yourself feeling negative about the past or having anxiety about the future.
Research shows that dancing can help to bring you into the present moment and into your body, which may temporarily free your mind from distressing thoughts.
Dancing can be an excellent grounding exercise. A 2021 study, for example, found that dancing more than once a week is associated with increased mindfulness, reduced distress, and improved quality of life.