How Dance and Movement Therapy Can Help Relieve Anxiety

Dance, movement therapy, and performance have long been tools to help people deal with a traumatic or stressful situation. For example, think of the amazing work undertaken in underprivileged or at-risk communities worldwide by Clowns Without Borders.

The benefits of dancing can also help people deal with their anxiety in everyday situations. Flow into the content below to find out how.

Fills the Gap

Effectively treating anxiety is an integral part of managing health in both children and adults. But it might be hard for people in vulnerable sectors of society to access professional help for their conditions. 

Barriers to access include lack of clinics nearby, social isolation, limited mobility, and, of course, a lack of money. For example, a 2018 study found that while 30 percent of young Americans experience anxiety, as many as 80 percent don’t receive any form of treatment.

Creative arts therapy is a highly accessible treatment. It’s portable, meaning it can be taken to hospitals, schools, and community centers. Anyone can learn to move, and it can be offered at subsidized rates.

Work Through Trauma

A surprising amount of human communication is non-verbal. In fact, some researchers believe it’s the majority.

Dance and movement therapists tap into the basic human need to create, share, and tell stories. This can help people uncover, work through, and release traumatic experiences.

The “whole body” approach breaks down the natural fight or flight response, promotes mindfulness, and helps people to replace adverse reactions with positive ones.

Foster Creativity

Therapy sessions that center around movement or dance help individuals tap into their creative side.

Most people work in jobs that offer little or limited creativity, which may lead to stress and anxiety. Movement practices provide a safe space where people can let go of everything worrying them and instead focus on music or live in the moment.

This is particularly beneficial for children. Studies have shown that dance helps children to identify and connect with their emotions–far into adulthood.

Make New Friends

Most people attend dance or movement therapy in group sessions, with the same people attending week after week. Having a great group of people to spend time with once (or more times) a week is beneficial for a wide range of reasons.

Moving to music increases the chance for social bonding and building long-term social connections. This has been found to boost everything from cognitive flexibility and sleep habits to eating well.

Movement Therapy Helps Most

Movement therapy is beneficial for a wide range of people suffering from many types of mental illness.

Perhaps you need to work through trauma, or maybe you just want to expand your creativity. Either way, consider joining a dance class or participating in a movement workshop.

Look for government or community-run programs if you need to keep costs down.

For more advice on dealing with stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns, browse the other articles on our blog.

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