blog » February 21, 2019 by Renee Herren

The Importance of Movement for Mental Health With Dance Therapist Erica Hornthal by Renee Herren

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The Importance of Movement for Mental Health With Dance Therapist Erica Hornthal

We all know that movement is good for our bodies, but did you know that movement is also great for your mental healthErica Hornthal shared information about the importance of movement and tips on how to get moving! Erica Hornthal, founder and president of Chicago Dance Therapy and 30Seconds contributor, is a dance therapist and a clinical counselor specializing in the intersection of movement and psychology. Erica has an expertise for “moving” clients through difficult life circumstances using a combination of talk therapy and body-centered interventions. She is truly “the therapist that moves you” – body, mind and spirit.

Q: Why does movement matter for mental health?

  • Movement matters because it accounts for 80 percent of our communication.
  • Movement matters in childhood development. It helps mark milestones in cognitive development as well.
  • Movement allows us to form relationships and build self-esteem.
  • Movement matters when making first impressions throughout our lives business, dating and play.

Q: What does “you are how you move” mean?

We have heard “you are what you eat.” How you move impacts your personality and who you are! If you are not moving you are not living! The absence of movement defines death. Challenge the ways you move, sit, stand, talk and walk to improve your quality of life.

Q: How is movement connected to mental health?

  • Posture impacts mood.
  • Our cells and molecules carry our life experiences as the travel through the body.
  • A lack of movement can signal a sedentary lifestyle which can increase rates of depression.
  • Rigid movement is associated with black-and-white thinking.

Q: I exercise five days a week. Isn’t that enough movement?

That is for physical health, but that does not always address mental health. Mindful movement and awareness is the key to changing unhealthy thoughts and habits. Try moving outside of physical activity – cook, play, draw, create. Limit technology to inspire creativity and move more.

Q: Where else should I be thinking about movement in my life?

  • Take notice of your posture.
  • When you wake up, take time to expand your body, stretch out, take up space to take on the day.
  • Try on someone else’s movement to build rapport and empathy.
  • Be mindful of your movements in the workplace. How do you move in relation to others?

Q: How can I encourage more movement for me and my kids?

  • Take a family stretch break.
  • Tune into your breath.
  • Do a body scan and just take time to notice any sensations in the body without judgment.
  • Take a walk, take the stairs and incorporate your senses throughout the day.

Q: Where can I learn more?

You can follow me on Twitter at @EricaHornthal, on Instagram and, of course, you can follow me at 30Seconds.com! You can also find more info on my website, EricaHornthal.com.


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