Seems that eveyone I have talked with lately is feeling totally overwhelmed. They call it stress. Some of it is just the normal stuff we all expect, but don’t necessarily like — kid with a runny nose, another vet bill for the dog, taxes going up, no raise again this year… Yet other stressors seem almost senseless – riduculous, even. And these folks do really try to take steps to minimize the impact of the stressors they exprerience, or at least modify the way they handle them. But alas, they report, it seems to be relentless at the moment… We conclude that perhaps the world is not very friendly right now…
Stress is defined as any change that you must adapt to in our ever changing world. In particular, stress is any demand (force, pressure, and strain) placed on the body and the body’s reaction to it. Stress is experienced by everyone who is living, working, and breathing at this very moment. (That includes you and me!) It is a fact of life you cannot avoid. Stress, itself, ranges in intensity from the negative extreme of being in physical danger to the joy of completing a desired goal. All stress is not bad. However, it is important to identify how you respond to stressful events. This will determine the impact that these experiences have on your life.
Assess your current stressors and explore ways that you respond to them.
- Generate a list of current events that produce stress in your life.
(i.e., moved to new location, work or school demands, balancing priorities, job loss or promotion, political turmoil)
- Brainstorm how you cope with stressful experiences. Assess if you have a healthy or unhealthy coping style.
Healthy Coping Styles v/s Unhealthy Coping Styles
– exercise v/s alcohol or drug use
– down time for self-care v/s avoidance of event
– balancing work and play v/s procrastination
– time management-initiate schedule v/s overeating
After identifying stressors and coping styles, you can begin to modify your behavior.
- Be aware of your physiological and emotional reaction to stress
- Recognize what you can change (your reactions to stress, internal thoughts)
- Utilize healthy coping skills
- Incorporate good coping skills into your repertoire, increasing your options
- Practice healthy coping skills daily even when intense stress is not present (this prepares you for times when you may feel overwhelmed)
Whether its ballet or ballroom, clogging or jazz, dancing is great help to people of all ages and physical abilities get and stay in shape.
Simply put, dancing just doesn’t feel like exercise. But the truth is dance offers a total body workout, using all of the major muscle groups and providing heart-healthy benefits.
Along with keeping muscles toned, dancing burns body fat, increases balance and coordination and, because it is a weight-bearing exercise, strengthens bones, according to the AARP.
Just as muscles do during weight-bearing exercise, bones adapt to a weight load and the pull of muscles by building more bone cells, increasing strength and density and decreasing the risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
The benefits can extend beyond fitness.
- A recent study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that teaching the cha-cha to a small group of older adults twice a week for six months was enough to improve their memory and cognitive function on a number of tests. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that ballroom dancing at least twice a week made people less likely to develop dementia. It also has been shown that some people with Alzheimer’s disease are able to recall forgetting memories when they dance to music they used to know. Scientists know that exercise increases the level of brain chemicals that encourage nerve cells to grow. And dancing that requires you to remember certain steps and sequences boosts brain power by improving memory skills.
- Participants in dance classes often find that the camaraderie and enjoyment they experience motivate them to continue staying active, thereby improving health longer term, the AARP finds.
- Physical activity increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream, boosting immunity, according to the National Institutes of Health. The increased body temperature generated during moderate exercise can help prevent bacterial growth.
As in any form of exercise, regular dancing builds stamina and endurance, the ability of muscles to work hard for increasingly longer periods of time without fatigue. The more vigorous the type of dance, the greater the benefit — Samba, anyone?
By Marie Gilliam, Cox Newspapers, Dayton, OH (2012)