Finding ways to move our bodies is a beautiful act of self-care and self-love.
Sponsored Content from Kristin Grayce McGary
Stress can quickly accumulate in the body and mind; it’s sneaky. Using stress-busting tools can help get you back on track fast. I wanted to share one of my stress-busting secrets that is easy, affordable and fun — Movement.
I’ve always been an athlete, though I never thought about it as a stress-buster or an approach to self-care until recently. Movement is scientifically proven to decrease stress in body and mind, stimulate the metabolism, balance brain chemistry, improve intelligence and sleep, as well as elevate mood by increasing the “feel good” brain chemicals called endorphins. Specifically, dancing can increase your neuroplasticity which protects your brain and memory as you age. You don’t have to go to a busy gym to move, how about dancing?
My current passion is Argentine tango. My husband and I even moved to a different state to be closer to world-renowned tango teachers. It brings us such joy. Not only is it fun, it is also profoundly connecting for us to dance with each other. We dance with others too, which challenges our balance and skill level while building bonds into the larger tango community. After a night of dancing, we both are glowing and feeling genuinely content.
One reason for our good mood is the magic hormone oxytocin. It is the bonding chemical shared by mothers and newborns at birth helping to build a close connection. It’s also associated with bonding during and after making love. When we dance the Argentine tango, we are hugging a lot. The dance is like hugging someone to three songs at a time. During the dancing, we release several hormones and neural transmitters that decrease stress and increase happy feelings.
Finding ways to move our bodies is a beautiful act of self-care and self-love. What do you love to do? You can turn on your favorite tunes, put on a flowy or sexy dress, and dance in your living room. You could coordinate a spontaneous house dance party with your two other best friends. Or you can explore a dance class like 5 Rhythms, salsa, Kizomba, swing, contact improv, or African dance. Find something that excites you. You usually don’t need a partner so be courageous and go for it.
Tango was difficult at first, and I’m so glad we stuck through the learning curve. Don’t give up just because you don’t think you’re good at it right away. You’re stretching your brain by creating new neural networks as well as improving flexibility and core strength. My strategy for being an adult beginner at something is laughter. I laugh a lot at myself as I struggle to learn a new movement. I also bring a friend or my husband, and we can laugh together as we learn, play, and bust that stress right out of our lives.
Get moving; it does your body, mind, and soul good!