St. Patrick’s Day: How About Some Dance Steps to Go with Your 12 Steps?

For St. Patrick’s Day, how about celebrating with a bit of dance instead of a lot of green beer and whiskey?

You may laugh at the suggestion, but if you’ve never danced before (or have let your tap shoes gather dust), it’s well worth the effort. Boogying is good for both the mind and the body.

Studies have shown that participating in dance programs resulted in improved memory, attention, and focus, a welcome side effect for any age or stage of life.

Dance can also be good for people battling addiction. Some believe that people struggling with substance use disorders have problems with change as well as anxiety about the future. Learning the motions of dance and being present in the moment can be helpful in letting go of some of those troubles.

Any physical activity also helps release feel-good dopamine too.

Dance alone isn’t a fix for addictive behaviors, but it’s an excellent complement to traditional behavioral counseling and medical therapies.

If the fear of looking like you have two left feet or that you may be too old or too out of shape to try something new is holding you back, don’t let it. Anyone can learn a few dance steps at any age.

Consider a dance as simple as the Charleston. Start by standing with your feet close together, then:

  • Step forward with your right foot.
  • Move your left foot forward, tapping it in front of your right foot (but don’t place your weight on it).
  • Step backwards with your left foot.
  • Tap your right foot behind your left. Repeat.

What did you just do there? That’s right, the Charleston.

There are DVDs and YouTube videos to learn from, and many gyms, community education programs, and dance studios have options such as line dance, Latin, ballroom, hip-hop, belly dance, and other options.

Some dances such as the electric slide or the hustle (often broken out at weddings) are easy. Others admittedly take a bit more work.

There’s a joy to be found in learning the steps, bit by bit, and weaving them together into a beautiful whole.

Consider Latin dancing if you want some hip-swinging activity, or belly dance if you’d feel more comfortable tracing circles with your hips, or Irish jigs if you’d like to step into more energetic and detailed footwork.

What’s most important is that you’re learning, and that you’re letting yourself simply be in the moment. That you get to express yourself is a bonus.

 

Sources
cdc.gov – Dance Your Way to Better Brain Health
drugabuse.gov – Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
lovetoknow.com – Country Line Dance Steps