Dance Your Depression Away

Often, I get the question what kind of simple techniques there are that will raise the mood a couple of notches. Here is one of the easiest, and one that at least for me had the biggest immediate effect: dance!

I won’t brag that I’m doing the boogie every morning, but I will crank up the volume and do some moves if I feel tired and low on energy. For those suffering from depression; this simple exercise can lead to fast positive results.

This is what you do:

Find the time of day that would fit you the best. For me, this is either in the morning (good ritual to get out of bed), or immediately after work (when my energy level is at the lowest). Consider what kind of music (which songs) that will make you happier, and that will boost your energy. Songs like «Eye of the Tiger» go «It’s Raining Men». Don’t worry if you choose somewhat worn oldies, or clichés; this is for you, and no other. You can create a playlist with your favorite songs (so you won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you do the exercise), or simply put on a CD with suitable music.

Then simply hit play, and start dancing. It makes sense to dance alone if you get embarrassed by dancing in front of others. You can design a playlist which starts a bit slowly, and that gradually increases the beat and energy.

Here are some ideas to get you going (from the 60s until the current decade):

  • Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher, Jackie Wilson
  • Respect, Aretha Franklin
  • 1999, Prince
  • Blue Monday, New Order
  • ABC, The Jackson 5
  • Love Shack The B-52’s
  • Jump Around, House of Pain
  • Push It, Salt-n-Pepa
  • Dancing Queen, Abba
  • I Feel Love, Donna Summer
  • Can’t Get You Out of My Head, Kylie Minogue
  • Groove Is In the Heart, Deee-Lite
  • Night Fever, The Bee Gees
  • Dancing in the Street, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
  • Insomnia, Faithless

For me, it’s downright impossible not to get in a good mood, simply by listening to those songs. You will find the Spotify playlist below, or you can click this link to open it in Spotify.

The reason this works, is that listening to music by itself changes our emotions. There’s a reason there are movie scores. When dancing to music, the body increases the production of neuro transmitters and hormones like serotonin and endorphins. If you dance with another person, and especially if there’s plenty of physical contact (think tango or salsa), you can add oxytocin to the mix; the so-called “love hormone”. What a cocktail! Researchers have found that professional dancers have higher levels of serotonin in the body than others, and that dancing results in production of endorphins at least comparable to that of jogging.

This means that dancing is one of nature’s own happiness pills – just more fun than those prescribed by your doctor. I’m not claiming that dancing will remove depression on its own (and you should listen to your doctor about prescribed medication), but it certainly won’t harm you to try this.

Try doing this every day for 15 minutes, for a week. I’ll wager you will notice a definite positive effect, on both mood and energy level. Good luck!

Read this post as well, to find more Music Against Depression.

PS: Suggest your own favorite songs in the comments below.

For more tips like this, check out ‘Rise from Darkness‘.