I get asked why I dance. Often. I suppose it is a fascination to some. Maybe something of desire and envy to see someone living a seemingly free life. Dancers are often objects of desire. Sometimes not seen as humanistic in nature. Their bodies seem to contort in unnatural ways that seem so natural to them. Even the way we participate with our environment can be strange to others.
Have you seen a dancer look under a table or do up their shoe laces? The average human will get down and keep their spine fairly neutral to accomplish a task. Many a dancer will bend or twist in a strange way to accomplish the same task. Why? I think there is an unconscious desire to release endorphins and adrenaline as often as possible. Using muscles to accomplish tasks in extra physical ways can do this. I know that when I stretch, I get happy. That’s the chemical release. Even just twirling seems to give me this.
The easiest way to make a dancer a downer is to put them on the side lines. This can be a result of injury, punishment, or the like. By not allowing them to move and get their natural rush or high, you are taking away something that is sought by them to maintain a balance. The term adrenaline junkies is not solely reserved for those who jump off or out of things, making their bodies think they are in imminent danger. Athletes in general are adrenaline junkies. Athletes use their muscles to release that drug which gives them that high rather than just putting themselves in situations that the body believes is dangerous.
This drug seeking behaviour is good for keeping the mind in an upward state. If you keep giving yourself hits, you keep staying up. However, just like any drug user – illicit or prescribed – the body does go into withdrawal with the removal of the drug. An endogenous chemical like adrenaline or endorphins act the same way as an exogenous drug that is consumed. Athletes are superior at releasing it through their active lives. When you take away that activity though, the body and mind can go into withdrawal, which can put the mind into a downward state quickly.
I have had physiotherapists and chiropractors who were elite athletes and I have had those who were not. Their approach to recovery is usually night and day. The athletes are aware that putting me on the sidelines, even for a week, will have negative repercussions to my self-esteem, my clarity of mind, and my general state of happiness. They approach recovery like this: get me healed and keep me moving in the mean time. Those who are not athletes want to do it the easy way – pure rest. While pure rest might get the results faster for the specific injury, it puts me behind in my training and my mental state will not be as positive during that time as well. I prefer the athletic therapists who are looking at the whole picture and who have been where I am.
If you are finding that you are in and out of happy states regularly, maybe it is time to evaluate your routine. Try to get your training in regularly whether it is on the floor, going for a walk, stretching, or hitting the gym. Getting that happy hit daily will help keep things flowing stably for your brain and keep you ready for action all at the same time. Enjoy your ability to give yourself a rush from within your own body.