During the latter part of 2014 I’ve had some very difficult times. These periods have forced me to face a few realities, learn some tough lessons, and change my thinking on quite a few things.
But it’s been no secret that my Salsa has been the light in my life that has helped me to pull through the dark days. This has been the inspiration for my “Dance Yourself Happy” challenge, and the kick that I needed to make my dancing more than just a hobby.
I’ve identified ten different ways that I use Salsa to “Dance Myself Happy”. If you dance Salsa already, you’ll probably notice that a few of these apply to you.
And if you aren’t currently dancing, why not give it a go and find out which of these methods work for you in your life?
1. The Pattern Interrupt
This method is all about using a short bout of dancing when your brain goes into panic mode as a result of stress and overwhelm. When this happens, your ability for clear thinking is hampered. The dancing literally helps to switch off and reset the brain and nervous system to their pre-threat status, helping you to regain full cognitive abilities.
Dance yourself happy by noting your stress triggers and dancing to defuse them.
2. The Weekly Reward
If your week is feeling like a bit of a roundabout that you can’t get off of, or even if life just feels a bit mundane, it’s great to have something exciting to look forward to that doesn’t involve getting pissed and feeling rubbish after. Salsa is a great activity that will spice up your entire week.
Dance yourself happy by giving yourself that weekly sacred and unmissable “me-time”.
3. The Daily Discipline
Many people force themselves to go to the gym daily, and although they don’t necessarily enjoy it at the time, they know it’s beneficial and the long term benefits make them happy and proud. There’s also something vaguely masochistic about punishing yourself in a way few people can stick with.
Daily dance practice is a lot more fun than this, and arguably has more physical, emotional and mental benefits than gym or bootcamp.
Dance yourself happy by committing to a daily practice schedule and reaping the rewards.
4. The Technical Challenge
Many people love wrestling with a difficult physical skill that taxes their brain as much as their body.
Dancing is a skill that takes perseverance. You go through a period of being rubbish, but when you master a new move, or transfer what you’ve learned in lessons successfully to the social dance floor, it’s immensely gratifying, and will keep your smiles topped up until the next big breakthrough.
Dance yourself happy by not giving up and achieving something you can be proud of.
5. The Social Catch Up
The Salsa scene is quite insular: those that don’t simply don’t get it, so when you get going with your dancing it’s natural to want to talk to those who understand.
At the Salsa clubs you go to most frequently you will see the same faces, make friends, dance together and share experiences. You’ll look forward to the chit-chat and social interaction as much as the dancing.
Dance yourself happy by connecting with new people who could become great friends.
6. The Big Night Out
Everyone loves a party, and there’s no better way to party than to dance Salsa. Many clubs hold regular special nights with guest teachers, professionally choreographed shows danced by amateur and semi-professional performance teams, and top DJs.
I’m a total girl and take every chance to get dressed up and made up with a bit of bling and sparkle…something that fewer people seem to be bothered with these days. But it makes a night feel like a special occasion and something to look forward to.
Dance yourself happy by making the effort to dress up, go to a different club, and party once every few weeks.
7. The Mood Changer
In my mind there is no better way to snap myself out of negative emotions than dancing. Anger, irritability, sadness, lethargy…all of them melt away as soon as I hear Salsa music, and the physical movement completely changes my emotional state within minutes.
Dance yourself happy by using it to bring yourself back into your happy zone fast!
8. The Distraction
We all have to do things we hate from time to time. Pay bills, do ironing, clean, cook, and suffer the rubbish that other members of the family watch on TV. Dancing is great to take your mind off boring stuff.
Any time I feel like doing something that isn’t going to serve me, dancing is a great way to distract myself away from it and towards something that’s more in line with who I want to be in the long term.
Dance yourself happy whenever you feel yourself procrastinating or balking at an essential task.
9. The Competition
In every club there’s the guy or gal who just oozes style and finesse on the dance floor. Everyone wants to be them. It’s human nature to compare ourselves against others. Dance yourself happy by using them as a benchmark to gauge your improvement…just make sure you don’t judge yourself too harshly.
Dance yourself happy by using them as inspiration and not as a stick to beat yourself with.
10. The “Because I’m Worth It”
This is one of the most important but easily forgotten ways to dance yourself happy.
This is about dancing because you deserve to put yourself and your own happiness ahead of everyone else’s. This is about taking those lessons that you’ve always fancied, but then talked yourself out of because you thought you couldn’t do it, or you were too worried about what everyone else would say.
Dance yourself happy because you want to dance…you don’t NEED any other reason than that! 🙂
For more tips on this, why not try my Dance Yourself Happy 7 Day Challenge?