The Stressed-Out College Student and the Mood-Boosting Effects of Somatic Dance

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Kap A. Paull
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College students are well-acquainted with the stress associated with balancing their academic, personal, and professional lives. Many students leave self-care and personal wellbeing on the backburner while other projects take the lead. However, this can lead to symptoms of burnout which can contribute to negative academic outcomes. Coping mechanisms are tactics students can utilize to guide them through stressful situations. An example of a coping mechanism is dance, specifically somatic dance exercises. Somatic dance is a style of dance in which everyday movement is performed in a mindful way. Previous research has shown that somatic dance has beneficial outcomes for mental health. A noteworthy technique of somatic dance is BrainDance, which was created by Anne Green Gilbert. This research project invited students to take a questionnaire that surveyed their thoughts on dance as a coping mechanism before and after taking an online somatic dance movement class. KEYWORDS: Dance; Somatics; somatic movement; somatic dance; stress; mental health; coping mechanisms; Feldenkrais Method; Alexander Technique; BrainDance; Body Mind Centering; College Students