Movement to music for mental health – joy of improvised dance, easing anxiety

My name is Xanthe Wyse and I have been diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder.

I have been sharing videos of what helps me manage these conditions. (Making videos has been helping me confront the social anxiety).

As you can see, my dancing is technically ‘rubbish’ but the joy is genuine. Improvising movement to music helps reduce my anxiety. So does painting. If you’ve seen some of my painting videos, I am nearly always listening to music and I may rock to full on dance while painting. I choose whatever song comes to mind. It communicates for me & I express and process via movement and/or visuals arts (even as simple as scribbling with crayons).

I am in a little ‘high’ here with a surge of energy (not as extreme as hypomania or mania though). I feel really good here. I was already dancing to Armageddon It (Def Leppard) so filmed it to show you how my dorky looking dancing is still therapeutic. It reduces my anxiety significantly. In fact, no anxiety at all during this dance.

If I don’t ‘discharge’ the energy, it may come out in increased anxiety, agitation, irritability, restlessness etc.

I also feel the need to move a lot when my mood is elevated (mania/hypomania). Dancing and dance-walking helps.

Source: Youtube