Dance the stress away when school gets tough

Dancing promotes a healthy lifestyle in times of stress


Photo by Submitted

Staff Writer Brian Sheridan dances in Haas Fine Arts Center earlier this week to help relieve the stresses of schoolwork.

Story by Brian Sheridan, Staff Writer

Every week it’s the same to do list: projects, quizzes, readings, studying, speeches, extracurriculars and then top it off with a job. It gets even better with the first exams of the year swiftly approaching.

It’s stressful for us. People find ways to cope with the daily burdens UW-Eau Claire provides but many of them are destructive or disadvantageous, which is why I prefer to crank the bass and shake what I got.

Whether you’re bobbing your head, tapping your toes or flailing around breaking lamps, dancing offers a healthy, productive way to cope with stress in life and promotes an overall better mindset.

The Association for Psychological Science published a study in 2010 about the effects of power poses: body posture that is spread out and open, similar to a pose Superman would make. These poses increased testosterone, feelings of power and lowered cortisol levels, a hormone released when stressed.

These power poses are the foundation of a myriad of dancing styles allowing you to feel better about yourself while you’re bouncing in the club. However, even if you don’t know any specific dancing style, just winging it can provide its own set of benefits.

A dance psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in England did a study in 2013 on how improvisational dancing can help your problem-solving skills that involve multiple answers, while a dancing style not improvised helps solve problems with one answer.

Part of the feeling of stress in the lives of students is being overwhelmed. Improved dancing is an activity for helping with the perpetual balancing act of school, friends and life, which never seems to be organized.

Of course a student could always choose something more mind numbing like video games or drinking but that’s boring and anyone can do it. In this time of our lives, when we’re young, energetic, in peak physical condition, it would be a waste not to take advantage of the opportunities getting groovy can give you.

Making the first step of checking out the dance organizations on campus can lead to a life filled with dance. You might find yourself curious about the history of dance, the culture, the theory, the art. Luckily, Eau Claire offers a dance appreciation course, applicable to the humanities fine arts GE requirement, as well as upper level jazz, tap and ballet classes for your time here on campus.

Wherever you may go, whatever troubles Eau Claire brings you, the power of dance is always around you. If the chapters are getting long and the studying is getting tiresome, set down your notes and play that funky music.