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Dancing Over Depression

by Polly Londis

New Jersey’s currently in the dead of winter right now, when most individuals with mental health issues tend to suffer from seasonal depression. Some may feel as though they are trapped inside with mounting school work, iffy dining hall food, chilly weather and it feels as if the walls are closing in. It may sound crazy, but what better time to bust a move?

Dancing away depressive thoughts has been catalogued positively over the last few years. “The Effect of Dance over Depression,” a scholarly article on ResearchGate, describes its findings as just that.

Researchers made a selection of students endure 12 weeks of dance training. These students attended dance classes three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Results found that dancing regularly was extremely effective on the depression levels of the subjects participating in the research as the training group.

Exercise and music are two things that have been scientifically proven to combat feelings of anxiety and depression. If someone is extremely introverted and not open to face-to-face traditional therapy, or if words escape you when you’re deeply upset, then this might be a temporary fix.

You don’t have to go to any kind of Zumba class or do any intense cardio on campus if you are too shy. For those who cannot, or simply do not wish to leave their room, a great starting point is “Just Dance.”

“Just Dance” is a video game made by Ubisoft. The game can provide validation and motivation while the player works out. A new edition of the game is released each fall, so there’s never a shortage of content. Plus, if you are subscribed to their service “Just Dance Unlimited,” then you get access to 99% of their entire dance catalog to use anytime you want.

Choreography is as hard as you make it. If you do a move correctly in the game, you get a “perfect.” Truthfully, it is hard to earn an “X” when you actually put in time and effort. Try nailing a routine with all “perfects” and “supers.” It’s hard, but it can be liberating.

Most of us are no strangers to “Just Dance,” and many of us have likely played it at a friends house at some point or another. The point being is its popular for good reason. It’s fun and gets you moving. “Just Dance” is also becoming more easily accessible to the average person.

There is a version that can be played from a desktop browser with a phone app as a controller. This version is great for students who want to get a few moves in without leaving the comfort of their dorm.

The next time people use music in order to soothe their mental health, throwing in some movement could make the effect that much more powerful.

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