Whenever I’m on a night out and there’s dancing I get really shy and shrink back into the shadows nursing a vodka tonic (or 5). Other friends of mine seem to get more awesome when the music is turned up – dancing and having fun. How can I get over my fears and join the party?
We don’t take this query lightly. Dancing is a staple of our emotional health and wellbeing. It refuels our spirits and gives us a natural high that pharmaceutical companies could only dream of packaging in a pill. Furthermore, freedom on the dance floor is strong evidence of inner confidence and self-acceptance. We feel that your work in this department is actually the most important thing in your life right now – more important than filing your taxes, more important than going to the gym, more important than showing up for work. So let’s get to the plan…
First, practice! Set aside time for uninhibited dancing at home: Ten minutes in the morning, 15 minutes after work, or the whole afternoon if you’re serious about mastering the art of freeing yourself. Turn up your favorite songs and move intuitively. Dance with your eyes closed and refrain from judging your progress. Then dance in the mirror. Make up crazy dances—shake just your shoulders, or wrists or knees. You don’t have to take these public, it’s just about practicing free expression. If you need inspiration check out music videos and try out some hot new steps. Dance them over and over until they feel like your own. Film yourself, play it back and note your favorite parts. After dancing to your favorite songs experiment with dancing to other kinds of music that might not be your top choice. Find the beat. Then, when you have reached a comfortable level of freedom at home, take the show on the road.
Next time you find yourself out on the floor and the beat drops, start moving on the sidelines. No need to rush in. From your own little corner, find your rhythm. Move a little in your hips, feet, arms. Keep it small and find the vibe in your body. And yes, it works to DANCE LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING. Imagine you are back home in front of your mirror jammin’ with yourself. Then slowly, slowly, as you get more comfortable in your skin on the sidelines, inch your way onto the dance floor. When you feel fear or self-judgment creep in, come back to the sound of the beat and let it fill you. Remember the reality is that other people are mostly concerned with themselves and not concerned with judging you or your moves. Little by little, through practice at home and in the field, you will find that it’s not so scary. In fact, it’s quite natural to rock out with ease and abandon. Pretty soon instead of downing 5 vodka tonics you’ll be chugging water and sucking on ice cubes to stay cool and hydrated in eager anticipation of the next track.