Monthly Archives: November 2015

Dancing to Relieve Stress

Dancing to Relieve Stress

During this time of the semester every course seems to be progressing at full speed with exams around every corner. At this point, one of the best words to describe our daily lives would most likely be stress. Every week feels like it is never ending with exams day in and day out and one of the only escapes for me is dance.

Similar to workouts at the gym, dance has a similar stress relieving property that is especially useful during this time of year. As we approach Thanksgiving there seems to be no mercy, as the professors want to get in as much of the work as possible so that we can enjoy the break. However, that will unfortunately not last very long as finals will approach soon after. Therefore, during this chaotic time, dance serves as not only my outlet of expression, but also my outlet to break out of the stressful stronghold of everything else around me.

The scientific reason for why dance has the ability to act as a stress reliever stems from the idea that when the body feels good, the mind does too. Any type of physical activity releases the neurotransmitter, endorphins, which serve to alleviate stress. Neurotransmitters are chemicals within the brain that help communicate messages throughout the body. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller to reduce stress and improve the mind’s perception of the world. Thus, after a good workout the endorphins cause the body to feel calm and optimistic. The endorphins also aid in improving the quality of sleep so that a few sleepless nights due to stress can be avoided after a session at the gym.

Since I never ended up getting a gym membership because I joined dance teams instead, I use dance practices as my alternative for a trip to the gym. After leaving all my frustrations and stress on the dance floor I feel so much better. I am sure many of you can relate as the gym serves to accomplish this same goal of relieving stress. Any kind of physical activity acts as a coping mechanism for many people as the released neurotransmitters help to decrease tension, stabilize one’s mood, and even increase self-confidence. As I mentioned in my last blog, there are a couple of dance performances coming up in the next week and although this may seem stressful as there is not much time left, the adrenaline rush that comes with dance does not just serve to take away the stress from the upcoming performances, but it also relieves the stress from academics.

The body is constructed from a plethora of chemical reactions that together result in various emotions and feelings. Thus, when various types of stimuli release these chemicals, the body’s reaction can be either positive or negative. Physical activity results in a positive reaction in both the body and the mind so as the next few weeks increase stress levels, remember that just a little bit of exercise can alleviate it all.