and Dance ‘Til You Feel Better!
Let me start this by saying that I am by no means an incredibly fit physical specimen. I am definitely in the obese categories of the medical charts but because of the amount of walking and moving I do, I carry it very well and have surprisingly good health. I don’t act or move like your average 350 pounder.
There are a vast majority of articles that will go on about the benefits of physical activity. It has been proven that physical activity is not only good for the body but also for the mind. It can help both cognitive function and emotional functions as well as being a stress reliever and mood elevator.
National Institute of Health has a great article about it that goes more in depth. I do not “work out” at least I haven’t in a while, but I do walk almost every single day for at least a mile. I’ve noticed on the days I don’t go for my walks both my mood and body seem to be more out of whack. I do however do something else frequently that really helps elevate my mood.
One of the things I started doing for my mental health that had an immediate effect and long lasting effect on my mood was dancing. When I was living at home with my family, I also worked from home and spent most of my day dealing with everyone. However I started a rule that helped me significantly! Every day at 2:00pm (If I was home) I would close my door put on music and dance around. If anybody saw me shaking my ass and jumping around on the bed they would have thought I was mental.
Yes, that’s right I said JUMPING ON THE BED. My bed frame was handmade by my older brother to withstand a lot of weight, and I had a 12 inch memory foam mattress. I used to jump on the bed every single day almost. You know why kids jump on the bed? Because it’s so much fun, you can’t actually be in a bad mood while jumping on the bed. If your bed can support it I highly suggest you try it. If you have a trampoline or a few couch cushions you can use then jump on those. If not go buy a memory foam mattress topper for like $30 and keep it in the closet and just put it on the floor once and a while and have a jump party. (or not, you could just jump around, but that’s hardly as fun)
Since I have moved here I don’t have my jump sessions anymore because this bed-frame with die and the box-spring would explode and it wouldn’t be worth it…but maybe I need to buy a memory foam mattress top for jump sessions….
I do however still dance around fairly often. I’ve got a mix of music for each of my emotions. I think it’s ok to listen to sad songs and be in a sad mood for a little sometimes. (Keith Urban’s Nobody Drinks Alone) Or sometimes you need a Fuck You playlist to play when you’re angry at someone and need to let it out. (You should see me go to town on Cee-Lo Green’s Fuck You). It’s also good to have and uplifting playlist of songs that always make you happy and energized. (Valerie by the Cast Of Glee).
If you don’t know how you’re feeling than put ALL your music on shuffle until one song really resonates would you and let’s you help figure your mood out. Maybe you were feeling love-sick and you didn’t know it until you heard Whitney Houston. Maybe you’re feeling Nostalgic and didn’t know until you heard You’ve Got A Friend In Me.
If you have that one song or a few songs that you can’t resist but dance when you hear them. (Temperature by Sean Paul). Try putting them on and dancing around in your room. See how you feel after one song. It might pump you up that you do three or four songs in a row. It’s hard to be dancing around and being in a bad mood.
I work in a kitchen, everyday at 1pm the morning cook leaves and I pull out my speaker and play My music. My boss, and all my co-workers know I have a party in the kitchen from 1pm until 4pm. Other employees in the facility know it is not strange to hear me singing or dancing around the kitchen as I cook. Everything from Gangster rap, and show-tunes, to country jams, and R&B. Most nights when I get home from work I have an encore performance in the shower with my waterproof speaker. There tends to be less dancing in the shower than in the kitchen, but that’s primarily a safety reason only.
It always helps me elevate my mood. The singing and dancing…sometimes even just to music itself will trigger the shift because I associate it with the singing and dancing. I’ve even got my boyfriend into it. He doesn’t do it nearly as often as I do but he will now and again join me in shamelessly dancing. We’ve done it in the grocery store when a really good song comes on. You know why? I don’t care what you think about when you look at me. If you think I’m stranger for dancing the the grocery store, that’s your (completely valid) opinion. I am however having the time of my life, and my mood and energy are now lifted.
The freedom of being able to just dance away regardless of time or where you are is incredibly uplifting. I highly suggest you try it. Even if it’s just clandestinely shaking your hips to the rhythm of a song you hear at CVS.
One time I heard a song I liked playing at the grocery store and I walked by someone who was singing it quietly to herself. It made me smile so I started singing it as well, we exchanged glances and both sang it a little loudly. I was singing with a stranger, we both walked away smiling and singing. How terrible of an existence I must lead. If you see someone trying to be happy, let them know it’s ok to be happy. You don’t have to hold it in. Sing a long, shake those hips, drop it like it’s hot.
Life is too short not to dance.
Your Homework from this post: Find at least ONE song that makes you want to dance, put it on and dance for at least half of the song and see how you feel. You may find yourself with a new boisterous form of meditation and centering.