They say laughter is the best medicine, but 8 out of 10 people reckon that dancing is also great at making them feel happier and less stressed.


A survey of 2,000 British adults found that three quarters feel ‘happy’ after shimmying around their home.  And almost half went as far as to say they feel their mental health is better as a result of the activity.


The poll, commissioned by Zumba, found 67% wished they could dance more often, although 41% admitted they were ‘quite bad’ or ‘appalling’ at it. Not that that matters when compared to the benefits derived.


Psychologist Dr. Peter Lovatt said, “The positive effects of dance have been shown in the scientific literature to help our stress and anxiety in lots of ways, particularly in difficult times like these… Dancing helps the mind break away from set patterns of thinking – and that’s why dancing reduces stress”.


Dr Lovatt explains a little of how the science works: “When we move our body, it releases different neurochemicals. The opioid receptors become more active and that means our pain threshold increases. In other words we feel less pain when we dance”.


The OnePoll survey highlighted some interesting statistics… more than a quarter (28%) said dancing has provided them with great memories, and 23% said it helps connect them with friends.  37% said moving to music helps them forget all their troubles, with 42% believing dancing allows them to ‘lose themselves’.


The evidence is clear that all forms of movement/exercise are good for our brains, bodies and minds.  And seeking out physical activity wherever we can is crucial to our mental health.  Dancing is clearly high on that list.  It sounds like it really is time to dust off those dancing shoes and get those happy hormones going!


Also see: 5 Rhythms meditational dance and The Musician Inspiring a New Generation