May 13th to 17th is Mental Health Week. We all know how important it is to keep our bodies healthy. Eating right, exercising frequently, and sleeping well are key parts of maintaining a fit body. However, mental health is often overlooked, especially when we are living our busy lifestyles. Keeping an eye on your mental health should be as much of a priority as your physical health. The two combined can lead to an improvement in wellbeing and overall happiness.
Mental health recovery can be a difficult journey, especially if it is being done alone. However, research has found that the feel-good effects of singing and dancing can have a positive impact on mental health. An experiment carried out by Sidney De Hann Research Centre found that 60% of participants experienced decreased levels of mental distress after just one year of group singing therapy, with some even leaving the diagnostic category of ‘clinical depression’ by the end of the trial. It has also been found that when comparing the mental health benefits of singing alone or singing in a choir, the latter comes out on top with greater feelings of wellbeing. Not to mention, singing is a great activity to get involved in to meet new people and expand your social circle with likeminded people in a welcoming environment.
Dancing is similarly a great activity for improving mental health. Research has found that dancing and physical activity has been associated with reducing the risk of dementia and improving cognitive functions in our brain. Research by the University of Sheffield, revealed that dancing helped 19 women with various grades of mental illness. As a result of dancing to music, the women quoted they felt ‘positively transformed’ and experienced feelings of liberation, relief and increased overall wellbeing and positivity.
Extensive research has proven the numerous benefits dancing has on mental health. Due to dance using the body to express emotion, it can often be helpful for people suffering from mental health issues who can find it hard to express feelings. As a result, dancing and movement can help to communicate feelings whilst boosting wellbeing and providing psychological benefits.
At danceSing, our members are really feeling the great effects of singing, dancing and group fitness. We found that 82% of our members noticed a greater feeling of wellbeing after attending danceSing, with many reporting they have more ‘get up and go’, higher levels of motivation and a general boost in happiness!
Recently, there has been a shift in focus to the importance of mental health, and at danceSing we are right on board! We have raised money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) through various events over the years, with a grand total of well over £1685 now. Thanks to all our fantastic members and supporters who have helped us raise funds for the very worthy cause.