I have anxiety issues. I confess I am a stereo-typical, high strung, creative type.  I seem to be filled with an overabundance of nervous energy. The best way for me to manage this excess energy in a positive way, is to channel it into an activity that will trigger the release of endorphins and dopamines and serotonin. This goes a long way to avoiding a full fledged anxiety attack when the pressure of a stressful situation is staring me in the face.

Because I am a creative spirit, I enjoy trying new things. At the moment, I am channeling this excess energy into learning belly dancing. This beautiful form of exercise is a great stress reliever. If I am having a difficult time with anything, I can simply shut out the world, turn on some music and dance myself into a better frame of mind.

I find the dance form has creatively expressive movements that really help me get in touch with my emotions. I use my muscles and arms and just about every other part of my body to process the emotions that are churning away in my heart, mind and gut. As I perform this therapy in the privacy of my own home, I find I am transformed.

Participating with a group of other female belly dancers has also helped me develop a better body image. When I first started thinking about a dance form as therapy, I was put off by many of the expectations of other dance styles. Ballerinas see to have the stick thin perfection of a runway model. Salsa or ballroom dancing would require a partner. Hip hop wasn’t really my style. I wanted something more feminine. I wanted to be sexy without being crude. When I joined this lovely group of women, I began to feel more positive about my curves. It was the perfect style of dance for my curvy body.

When my friends and family discovered I was belly dancing, their responses were all rather amusing. They would usually wiggle their hips or ask if I wore belts with golden coins. Some would give me a strange knowing look as if I were up to something naughty. I guess the stereotype that comes to mind for most people when they think of belly dancing is a harem girl with sexual prowess. It can become a little tedious having to explain to people that I am not interested in becoming a seductress but, rather, in healing my mind, heart and soul.

Dance experts claim that belly dancing is the oldest form of dance known to mankind, dating back to the days when the Egyptian pyramids were constructed. Although this is debated by many different cultures who want to lay claim to originating the dance form, the important thing is that it is a style that has withstood the test of time and is most certainly designed to accentuate everything there is about being a woman. Rather than feel like a seductress when I dance, I feel extremely feminine and empowered by my femininity.

The longer I dance, the more I am aware of the balance of being beautifully expressive while at the same time challenging my body and my mind. To learn new moves and execute them in a graceful flow captures my attention, drawing my mind from any negative distractions. The more absorbed I become in this blissful activity, the greater the healing that takes place in my anxious soul.

The improvement in my overall mood and well-being is obvious to my loved ones. After I have spent some time dancing, whether alone or with my “troupe”, they tell me it’s like I am floating around with the confident spirit of a gentle lion. I am so pleased that I found a fun activity that has been such a positive influence in my life. So positive, in fact, that it has even touched the hearts, minds and souls of my loved ones. I set out to find something to help myself and my anxiety. What I found was something that enriched my entire family.