Depression is growing in all age groups and in every community. This is not surprising as people face a lot of self-imposed pressure – to have the ‘perfect’ body, to be rich and to be famous, just to mention a few. Everyday struggles of high unemployment and difficult home lives all slowly take their toll. Depression is a mental disorder that displays depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration.
For some time now, the positive link between exercise and mood has been clear. However, Birks (2007) noted that people suffering with depression found it difficult to maintain motivation for exercise due to the sometimes solitary nature of gym-based exercise. Also, in many areas gym membership can be costly or there may be a lack of local provision, making it difficult for people to access facilities; therefore, an alternative to independent exercise may prove more beneficial. Recent studies found that dance lowers levels of stress hormones and significantly lowers levels of depression.
For many people, the thought of taking medication for depression is unappealing; however, this may be unavoidable and the need for such medication should not be ignored. Dance classes may be an unexplored option for the many people suffering from depression. Dance may provide a simple form of self-help that could be used alone or alongside medication or any other recommended treatment.
“Work like you don’t need the money, love like your heart has never been broken, and dance like no one is watching.”
So dance away depression!