There is an episode of the well-known TV show "Grey's Anatomy" where main character Meredith Grey and her best friend Cristina Yang, sick and tired of all the struggles of surgery, boys, drama, and life in general, decide to forget all their worries for a single moment, and dance it all away. Since then, 'dancing your troubles away' has become a cliche on the TV show- whenever you see someone going through a hard time, you simply know that they are going to blast some music, and dance till they forget what they were so worried about.
As a trained Indian classical dancer for almost more than a decade, I can completely vouch for this practice. Many times, if I am stressed from studying for an exam or worried about some drama with my friends, I go down to my basement, play some music, and start improvising some dance to go along with it. The more intense the routine, the less stressed I feel. Now, this has become a habit for me. As I am sure you may relate to, high school is stressful to say the least, and teenagers definitely need an outlet where they can just let go of their problems. Dance should definitely be considered as an option. One does not need to have years of formal dance training- just some upbeat music and some awkward jumping around can do the trick.
The scientific-reason why dance can relieve stress is because it releases endorphins, which naturally make a person happy and more relieved. The technical term for this phenomenon is movement therapy. The Native American shamans used movement therapy as they prescribed dancing around a fire for a diagnosis. Dance is so beneficial since it essentially links the mind and body together. The mind creates different movements which the body displays. To the more experienced dancer, performing seemingly floats us into a different realm, where our biggest struggle is keeping our toes pointed, backs straight, and smiles genuine. Many times, I become completely unaware of my audience, and dance in my own world where my mind and body are one, only to be brought back as the song ends. However, the less experienced does not have to have this deep a connection with the art form. Numerous studies show that just moving and waving your arms and legs to a rhythm definitely works as movement therapy. Also for those suffering from anxiety or PTSD, this therapy is the best way to enjoy life and forget about your troubles.
Everyday dance practice also helps us in other ways. First of all, you lose weight and your body stays healthy with more flexibility and ease. Your joints and knuckles become looser and more comfortable, making the body overall a happy and healthy person. Expertise is not needed, just a stressed out mind and body, ready to take a break. The movement and exercise diverts your mind into a happier and relaxed state.
So the next time you feel like you are so overwhelmed you can't breathe, take a break, plug some headphones in, jam out to some music, and dance till you are out of breath, dance till you can feel your heart pounding through your chest, dance till you are at ease with your mind and body, and dance all your troubles away.