An Adam Lowe creation
There are two types of human beings in this world. Am I talking about the haves vs. the have-nots? Or the “glass-half-empty” vs. the “glass-half-full” folks? Nope… In my world, we are segmented into two groups that are clearly on opposite ends of the spectrum. I’m talking about people who spontaneously dance, and those who do not. Luckily for me, I’m a card-carrying member of the spontaneous dancing group. Almost every kid is too. Kids are spastic, weird, and carefree. They don’t give a shit what you think of them. That’s awesome. As adults, somewhere along the way (for a lot of us), we lose that. I’d like to encourage you to get it back. Spontaneous dancing is one way to do it.
I can trace the beginning of my adult spontaneous dancing habits back to when I worked with a guy named Dion. Dion rocks. He’s a black dude in his 40′s and we used to spend a lot of time joking around in the office together. We became really good friends during our time caroming around the golf course on Saturday mornings. At work, anytime he showed up in my office, he would enter the room, pause, look around, and break into what I later defined as spontaneous dancing. He always had a big shit-eating grin on his face while he was dancing, and I soon began joining him in that simple act of exuberance. We carried on like that for a couple years until he bounced to pursue a family business with his wife, we’re still pretty close. I learned a lot from my man Dion, and one of the things that stuck with me was the dancing.
I brought this new, albeit odd, behavior with me to California when I moved out here a few years ago. During one of my initial California impromptu dance sessions in my brother’s kitchen, he asked me what the hell I was doing. So, I explained. “Spontaneous dancing makes you happy…” I said. My statement was met with initial skepticism, but after a few invitations to join, I had another member of the group.
The science behind it (Seriously! kind of)
Everyone has heard of “Fake It ‘Til You Make It!”. That could be the tagline for the city of Los Angeles now that I think about it. Anyway, there are two really cool examples of how this works on a personal and biological level. Our minds can be tricked by our bodies. One example is highlighted in an excellent TED Talk about “power poses”, where they discuss (among other things) how taking a confident body position can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. The second example is from a study regarding 2 groups of people rating cartoons according to how funny they were. The first group rated the cartoons while holding a pencil in their mouth with their teeth, simulating a smile. The second group rated the cartoons while holding the pencil in with their lips, not simulating a smile. Guess what? The first group rated the cartoons as funnier than the second group did. Why? Simply because their body was telling their mind they were smiling.
You might already be a member of the group. You might not be. I encourage you to join. It’s simple, it’s effective, and it feels good to not give a shit what other people think. Your mind doesn’t need to focus on the fact that your boss yelled at you, or that your dog puked on your rug, or that you lost the deal you were working on for months. Your mind will listen to your body, and if your body is spontaneously dancing, your mind will be in a joyful place, at least for a minute or two.
1. arising from internal forces or causes; independent of external agencies; self-acting.
Dancing [dans, dahns]
1. to move one’s feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music.