I just heard this really interesting study on NPR the other day…
What are the health implications of dancing? New social science research shows that dancing in synchrony with others increases people’s threshold for dealing with pain.
It turns out there is a good use for country line dancing and the Macarena!
The study showed that after groups of people danced together, with similar movements, their threshold for pain went up. As in, that hurt a bit before, but after dancing together, the same pain feels like less.
The study authors theorized that dancing in sync with others somehow triggered a reward system in the brain. A system that likely evolved because social connection is good for survival.
Humans have evolved to be social animals, and this quirky study may prove that social connections are good for us in a number of ways.
I’m sure this isn’t news to you. While some solitude can be good, lack of any positive social interaction over time can really mess with your head. I’ve experienced this myself because I think too much and my mind can run away with me to crazy places if I don’t check in with real live people every day.
You don’t need to be a social butterfly, you just need to have a few people to talk with on a regular basis, and hopefully share support with.
There is a reason the Unibomber lived by himself in the middle of nowhere. He wasn’t right in the head, and by isolating himself from regular social interaction, his thoughts eventually carried him into unhealthy territory.
Do me a favor, will you? Leave the house and chat with some folks today. Say hello to your neighbors and call up a friend (or your mom, since mother’s day is coming!) I firmly believe that by staying connected to other people in the community, we can all have better emotional and physical health.
Heck, get your kids to teach you the Whip Nae Nae dance, you won’t regret it!