Write Your Way to Stress Relief

October 1, 2015


As a dancer, you’re used to communicating without words, so it might sound funny to suggest writing as a method for reducing stress and anxiety. But especially if dance is the cause of your stress—maybe you’re struggling with choreographer’s block, anxious about a big performance or doubting yourself after a frustrating audition—exploring the situation through a different medium might help you gain fresh perspective. Plus, studies have shown that keeping a journal can have many dancer-friendly benefits. Here are just a few:

1. Get your creative juices flowing
Journaling, when used as a way to reflect or meditate on something, has been shown to help boost creativity and self-awareness. Maybe it’s your way out when you’re stuck in a choreographic rut.

2. Improve performance. In a University of Chicago study, students wrote down their thoughts right before a high-pressure exam. Their scores improved significantly, especially for the students who regularly felt anxious about test-taking. Next time you’re nervous before a performance, try jotting down a few notes about how you’re feeling.

3. Increase self esteem.
A study from the University of Leeds found that young women who wrote about their experiences with negative body image had improved levels of self esteem when the researchers followed up four weeks later. If you’re doubting yourself, taking the space to wrestle with those feelings on the page may be just what you need to change your outlook.