How To Deal With Stress Effectively
If you talk to anyone, you will be hard pressed to find someone who does not think their life is, to some extent, stressful. We live in a time where we are expected to be contactable 24/7 and be able do everything right now.
How does stress work in your body? Cortisol is a hormone, which is mainly released at times of stress and has many important functions in the body. When we feel stressed, our nervous system goes on high alert and our brain signals release cortisol. This ancient physical response can be basically described as our “fight or flight” response, it can be helpful when we need to quickly outrun a saber-toothed tiger. But cortisol can cause problems if ongoing stress means our bodies are exposed to too much of it. Prolonged exposure to cortisol can cause long-term damage to the developing brain, and can negatively affect the immune system leading to depression, fatigue, reduced ability to recover and many more other negative effects.
The scientific reason for why dance has the ability to act as a stress reliever stems from the idea that when the body feels good, the mind does too. Any type of physical activity releases the neurotransmitter, endorphins, which serve to alleviate stress. Neurotransmitters are chemicals within the brain that help communicate messages throughout the body. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller to reduce stress and improve the mind’s perception of the world. Thus, after a good workout class the endorphins cause the body to feel calm and optimistic. The endorphins also aid in improving the quality of sleep so that a few sleepless nights due to stress can be avoided after a dance or ballet workout session.
The body is constructed from a plethora of chemical reactions that together result in various emotions and feelings. Thus, when various types of stimuli release these chemicals, the body’s reaction can be either positive or negative. Physical activity results in a positive reaction in both the body and the mind so as the next few weeks increase stress levels, remember that just a little bit of exercise can alleviate it all!
Looking forward to seeing you by the barre!