For the last exercise of our week of playful, research-supported viral internet trends, I invoke the wise words of Lady Gaga: Just Dance.
The research evidence demonstrating that dance can improve well-being is strong, with benefits in a variety of populations and on a wide range of outcomes. A systematic review of controlled studies of recreational dance interventions for children and young people (including 14 studies with participants between the ages of 5 and 21) found that these dance interventions improved both physical health/fitness outcomes and elements of psychological well-being, including body image and anxiety. There is also evidence that older adults experience both physical and psychological benefits from dancing. These benefits are not limited to one kind of dance: Check out these studies of African dance, ballroom dancing, and Tango, and explore the “H.Y.P.E. at Home” program for videos, music, and teaching guides that use hip hop to promote physical and mental wellness. There’s even research that finds that well-being is enhanced by playing the video game Dance Dance Revolution!
Although many studies of dance have focused on the benefits of regular dance participation or long-term interventions, today’s study shows that you don’t need to become a dancer to reap these benefits. In this study, just 5 minutes of dancing improved mood, decreased fatigue, and even enhanced creativity.
Today, I encourage you to put this research into practice and try one of the #DanceChallenges on TikTok – I’d love to see what you come up with!
Today’s Positive Psychology Exercise: Try a TikTok #DanceChallenge
Try out one of the #DanceChallenges on TikTok. Here’s one you can do without even leaving the couch. Want to get your family in on the challenge? Try the #blindinglightschallenge, like these brothers and their dad. Are those challenges too easy? See if you can master the #Renegade dance.
Campion, M. & Levita, L. (2013). Enhancing positive affect and divergent thinking abilities: Play some music and dance. Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(2), 137-145. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2013.848376
Abstract: This study compares the effect of dance on affect and cognition to music or exercise, in a young, non-clinical population. Participants were asked to complete tests of mood and creativity before and after spending 5 min either listening to music, dancing, cycling or sitting quietly. Both dancing and passively listening to music enhanced positive affect, decreased negative affect and reduced feelings of fatigue. Cycling and sitting quietly had no effect on positive mood or feelings of fatigue. Moreover, dancing and passively listening to music had dissociable effects on different aspects of creativity, with greater change in positive affect being associated with greater enhancement in measures of verbal and non-verbal creativity, respectively. We suggest that these findings support the use of either short duration dancing or passively listening to music as potentially powerful tools in enhancing emotional well-being and different aspects of divergent thinking in non-clinical settings.