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Dr. Kojo Sarfo / Uncategorized  / The Power Of Hip-Hop Dance In Mental Health

The Power Of Hip-Hop Dance In Mental Health

The culture of hip hop has long been a way for many people to voice out their concerns, problems, emotions, and what they’re going through. Unfortunately, to this day and age, some still see hip hop as something that provokes crimes, threats, and negativity. The truth is, the core of hip hop focuses on a person’s self-worth, values, and is also a therapeutic way of channeling positive vibes.

Dancing to this type of music gives people mental health benefits from both dancing itself as an exercise and the emotional freedom that hip hop brings.

What Is Hip Hop?

Because of the rough and dangerous environment in the Bronx back in the ’70s, everyone had to live in an area filled with violence, poverty, drugs, and struggle. People looked for ways to lash out their anger in different ways and forms. This era is where hip hop began and changed the way people dressed, talked, walked, and moved.

Hip hop has long been a way for people to rise above the tumultuous environment they’re experiencing. This form of music is a platform that rappers use to let others know about their beliefs, where they came from, and how they went through life. On the other hand, hip hop can also be a way to express happiness, announce an engagement or birth, and send positive vibes.

The word “hip” means present, while “hop” implies action. Deciding to be a part of the hip hop culture means that you are a representation of learning, growth, and evolution. From the ’70s until today, people who are part of this culture continue to motivate the younger generation to speak out and make themselves heard.

The Benefits Of Dancing On Mental Health

Dancing has long been a form of physical activity, whether you’re a child or in your late 80’s because of the many benefits it gives the body. From the physical aspect, up to the emotional and mental, dancing, overall, continues to transform and improve one’s self-being. Here are the following benefits that you should know:

Dancing Is A Type Of Therapy For Social Anxiety

People with social anxiety have a hard time speaking or performing in front of others, let alone interacting with people. Over the years, many have been trying to find ways to be able to express themselves without having to talk or perform speeches in front of watching eyes. This part is where dancing became the solution. Dancing allows a person to fully let go and loosen up using different steps and actions. The anxiety eventually goes away once a person gets the hang of everything.

Dancing Improves Cognitive Performance

Because of how the brain tries to control movement and skills when you dance, this also helps improve other functions such as the ability to do critical thinking even when you start aging. Furthermore, additional areas of the brain begin to activate and work when you start dancing in the field of organizing, memory, planning, and motor skills.

Dancing Helps Your Brain Focus

Dancing helps your brain focus, especially if you encounter new and mildly tricky steps. You need to direct your attention to the steps as well as the instructor’s moves to complete a dance step. Since dancing requires you to recall several sways and swings and whatnot always, your brain chooses to focus more, which eventually strengthens your mental health overall.

How Hip Hop Dance Heals And Helps The Mind

As mentioned earlier, hip hop became a form of expression back in the ’70s and even up to this day. While some don’t see the relevance of adapting this type of culture, hip hop has become a healthy way to improve, refresh, and enrich the mind.

People Can Help Others Through Hip Hop

In general, musicians make an individual connection with their fans through their songs. Those who are in the hip hop culture can help others who are going through the same thing as them. For example, a rapper sings about his childhood experiences, and it resonates with a fan, that’s already one way of helping the fan cope. Seeing their idols turn out fine makes the fans think more positively and become more hopeful.

Thinking Of Lyrics And A Beat Makes Your Brain Work

If you’re an aspiring hip hop artist, then you’ll need to compose a set of lyrics that can move emotions while being able to explain through song about the topic you want people to know about and learn. This action challenges your brain in such a way that you keep the gears of the mind working until you reach a “perfect” outcome.

People Can Speak Their Minds And Emotions Through Hip Hop

Many artists channel their emotions and thoughts through hip hop because it doesn’t require to always have rhymes in it. You can tell of a story and just add a few beats that go with it, and you can start performing right away. This type of music helps a person express themselves more freely compared to others.

Hip Hop Inspires Everyone To “Let It All Out”

When people see how well others are doing, they tend to try the same path. Same with hip hop, people who understand how emotionally well people of this culture is in general, they begin to see the effects and eventually try it, too. Letting it all out is an excellent form of therapy for many people who don’t know how to express themselves just by talking entirely.

Hip Hop Reaches Out To Those Who Don’t Have A Voice

It’s no brainer that different forms of art help people become more understood, and hip hop is one of the best ways to get your voice and beliefs out there. Music is one of the most powerful things in the world and using this as a tool will aid in gaining confidence, trust in oneself, and the strength to start speaking up.

Studies You Should Know About

To further prove the beneficial effects of hip hop on mental health, here are some studies that you should take note of and read:

Hip Hop Dance Experience Linked To Sociocognitive Ability

In a study conducted by Bonny et al., the researchers examined dancers by presenting them with several computer tasks. These tasks involved testing for a person’s problem-solving skills, the theory of mind, memory capacity, and mental rotation speed. Results showed that the participants who engaged in hip hop dancing showed results that are similar to that of a video gamer. It means that the cognitive abilities of the hip hop dancers were significantly improved compared to others and that these skills may be highly comparable to STEM-related skills.

Moderate Physical Activity Linked To Increases In Metabolism Across Brain Regions

In this study posted by the National Institute On Aging, it shows that any form of physical activity can help modulate glucose metabolism, which is the energy source of the brain. Dancing helps activate certain areas of the brain that control one’s memory, planning, organizing, and motor skills. In conclusion, whatever exercise you engage in, there is always one part of the brain that benefits from this physical activity. A little training is still better than no movement at all.

The Proper Dancing Attire

To be able to enjoy the benefits of hip hop dancing, you should also be able to move freely. Always choose clothes that make you feel 100% comfortable. Just like in other sports and activities, there are specific attires you should follow to be able to do everything without hurting yourself. Invest in high-quality and affordable clothing so that in the long run, you won’t encounter unwanted accidents or mishaps.

It also doesn’t hurt to select a type of clothing that helps inspire you, such as Cultural Pride Joggers or a hoodie that has an inspirational quote on it. Being able to move and dance freely not only helps you put up a sweat, but it also aids in thoroughly expressing yourself through your dance moves!

Conclusion

Hip hop has been helping people change their lives for a very long time now. While many still disapprove of the way people express themselves in this industry, it’s no brainer that many continue to engage in hip hop dancing and other activities because it 100% helps them cope. If you’re experiencing mental health issues or you just can’t focus lately, try engaging in any form of hip hop dancing. You don’t have to be a professional or take up classes. Turn the music up, feel your emotions, and dance those feelings away!

Citations:

Benefits of Dance on Mental Health. (2018, May 21). Retrieved from https://www.starquestdance.com/benefits-of-dance-on-mental-health/

Crooke, A., & Jr., R. T. (2019, May 18). The healing power of hip hop. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/the-healing-power-of-hip-hop-81556

We Spoke to the Two Doctors Who Think Hip-Hop Can Help Battle Mental Illness. (2014, October 22). Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/da/article/65pmb5/can-hip-hop-psych-help-people-battling-with-mental-illness

Danehy, D. D., Ma, J., & Tye. (2018, October 5). What Is Hip Hop Dance? Retrieved from https://blog.steezy.co/what-is-hip-hop-dance/

Bubnis, D. (2019, May 10). 8 Benefits Of Dance. Retrieved March 12, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/benefits-of-dance

Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended or recommended for patients or other lay persons or as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Patients must always consult a qualified health care professional regarding their diagnosis and treatment. Mental health conditions are complex, people differ widely in their conditions and responses, and interactions with other conditions and treatments are best evaluated by a physical examination and consultation with a qualified clinician.

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