While I dance I cannot judge,
I cannot hate,
I cannot separate myself from life.
I can only be joyful and whole.
That is why I dance.

—Hans Bos

Recently I’ve been deriving great joy from taking Lindy Hop dancing lessons and attending my IFS colleague Nico Abramzon‘s movement and dance sessions, so I was not suprised to read that a systematic review and meta analysis of studies published in the British Medical Journal on the effects of exercise on depression concluded that dancing was the most effective treatment for depression (followed by walking and jogging, and then yoga, which also matches my experience).

Though the confidence level on these results was low due to it being a meta analysis of 218 studies with different methodologies, I think we can safely conclude that dancing brightens our lives and is good for our health! Also of note is that all the types of exercise studied had a greater effect than SSRI antidepressants.

So… move to be! Or as Pina Bausch said, “”Dance, dance… otherwise we are lost.”

BMJ 2024;384:e075847 Figure 5
Source: BMJ 2024; 384 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2023-075847 (Published 14 February 2024)
Still from Earth by Oleksandr Dovzhenko.