How Does Dancing Affect the Mind

Rachel Hanson
Dancing Brain

How does dancing affect the mind in the long run? Is it different from the short term effects of dancing? Yes, absolutely! The short term effects of dancing on the mind are related to mood and satisfaction, while the long term effects are related to discipline and memory.

Dance Today, Smile Today

Dancing is an excellent form of exercise because it not only burns calories and builds muscles, but it also contributes to an overall sense of happiness. Of course, all exercise releases endorphins, but dancing has an increased effect in this realm because it's not only the physical activity, but also the music, that affect the mind.

Endorphins are released when the body is forced to exert itself at a certain level. You may have heard of a 'runner's high'; because dancing is a similar activity, this same boost in mood can be achieved through dancing. In addition to the physical activity of dancing, when dancing is also a performance, adrenaline and endorphins work together to create a dramatic 'dancer's high'.

Dancing also affects the mind by contributing to a sense of satisfaction. While you may not reach new goals each day that you dance, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you worked hard towards reaching those goals. Sweating through a series of exercises can be very satisfying even if change comes about at a pace so slow that you can't see the improvement. In the long term, you will see the fruits of your efforts from year to year, but on a day-to-day basis, most dancers feel very satisfied with having completed their exercises, worked on their turnout, and done their daily stretch routine.

How Does Dancing Affect the Mind More Permanently

Dancing not only has short-term benefits for your mental well-being, but also long-term benefits. Dancers become very good at learning things quickly and methodically because of how often they learn new dance moves; you may see a dancer turn and stare into space while moving her hands and perhaps mouthing something to herself while trying to learn something. Dancers learn to repeat things not just with their bodies, but also with their hands and in words. This process of repeating what you just saw or heard until you've committed it to memory is a skill, and it serves dancers in all aspects of life, both inside the studio and out.

In addition to enhanced memory skills, dancers also tend to be self-disciplined and self-motivated. Dancers grow accustomed to working in a structured manner toward a goal and realize that results never come overnight. For this reason, dancers are often highly disciplined, and carry this discipline over into other aspects of their lives.

Getting Started

If all these mental benefits sound great to you and you're not dancing yet, now may be the perfect moment to start. In principle, all forms of dancing have positive mental benefits; however, some forms of dance will have more/different benefits than other types. For example, a slow dance may not burn many calories or release many endorphins, but may well contribute to long-term discipline and memory.

Likewise, a very fast dance could release lots of endorphins today, but not take much discipline or memory (for example a highly improvisational form of dance, which, not yet mentioned here, will help spark creativity, which is yet another mental benefit of dancing). Ultimately, it's all up to you to decide which dance form is most appealing to you for yourself. Then you can let whatever positive mental benefits come alongside that dance form be a nice bonus.

For Parents

If these mental benefits from dancing sound like things you would like for your child, sign them up for a dance class soon. In addition to all the mental benefits, dancers tend to become serious students and do well in school, which is probably another good reason to have your child take dance classes. How does dancing affect the minds of children? Much the same way as adults - except that children learn even faster!

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How Does Dancing Affect the Mind