Tango with a Touch of Class

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The Therapeutic benefits of Tango and Dance

Movement, Therapy - Warren Douglas - August 26, 2017

The therapeutic value of movement and dance has long been recognized as a useful tool in helping patients recovering from injury, trauma and addiction. Teaching Tango lessons to recovering addicts at a local drug rehabilitation centre in Cape Town has been one of the more rewarding journeys I have embarked on. The opportunity to help people who have suffered a great deal at their own hands as well as those of others has been tremendous.

Hooray!  This is what is expressed when the addict is on their way to recovery, the shout is not only a verbal noise from without, but is the exclamation that comes from within, an expression of all the hard work and determination. Sad to say this is not the end of the road for an addict, but only the beginning of a long journey to recovery that will test their strength and commitment. The need for someone to stand by and assist and support them in order complete recovery over the addiction; is very important. Your whole life revolved around one thing, your addiction, it was the only thing that came into your mind when you awoke in the morning, the only thing that you thought about during the day and the only thought that you possessed at night before you went to sleep.

Now after seeking help and support for the addiction, you need something that could aid in preventing a relapse. Movement therapy including Tango lessons can be extremely to people in early recovery. Learning how to “be” in your own skin, to move, to dance, to live life, feeling each breath as you inhale and exhale.  Try and find an activity that will keep your mind away from thoughts of your addiction and utilize your time and energy in a better more productive way. In other words it is not enough to just get over your addiction but to establish a new lifestyle.

I would like to share some exercises, hobbies or activities that will be able to assist in the road to full recovery.  This is of very important as addictions have the tendency to prey on idle minds, so in order to get away from old habits with their negative thoughts and feelings a new hobby or activity will be of great help. Some of these activities may not apply to you so when you have gone through the list and still don’t find any that suits you, please don’t give up, but try to think of doing something that you enjoy.

Exercise: One activity that is very effective is exercise, which can include running or jogging; gym or any kind of sport that you enjoy.  All types of exercise can be helpful in that it aids to keep depression at bay and also strengthens your heart muscles which in turn improves your blood pressure and strengthens your lungs. When your body is healthy it automatically affects your mind helping you to overcome any negative thoughts. If you weren’t fortunate enough to have received movement therapy whilst in a Cape Town rehab, please consider undertaking some form of it. Tango Lessons are a great way to express yourself and meet other people.

Reading: This can be very relaxing and maybe that is exactly what you need. To get away from all the hustle and bustle of life around you, the need to curl up with a great book and just relax.  This form of therapy is not only relaxing but will allow your mind to be distracted from the usual thoughts you are accustomed to thinking and redirect your attention onto something else.

Volunteer: Try to get involved in your community by volunteering your services to help others that are not as fortunate as you are.  There is always a need for helping hands where animals are concerned, like the SPCA, I am sure they will welcome any help that they can get. By helping others you will also be helping yourself as this is a good opportunity to socialise and create a new sense of belonging.

 Get into nature: If you love the outdoors and nature then going camping, hiking or mountain biking is something you might enjoy.  Becoming immersed in nature and taking in all that is around you, makes your own problems seem more bearable and your mind begins to consider things that are bigger than you, which might help you in your quest over your addiction.

Music: This can be a very effective tool when trying to help with recovery, as music enables you to express yourself and your feelings and also has a very good calming and relaxing effect.  In this way the stress you have built up can be seen to fade away and it can help bring you into a more relaxed frame of mind.

These are only a few of the exercises or activities that can help an addict in recovery by improving overall health and building self- confidence. You will start to see the physical and mental benefits of applying these activities; it will also help you to feel stronger in other areas of your life, including facing the challenges that recovery might have.

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