Singing has a surprisingly positive effect on our mental health – from belting out tunes in the shower to joining a choir or singing group.
Whether you’ve been singing since you could talk or you’ve never sung a note, in this hot list sponsored by HUM online singing and wellbeing sessions, SoGlos shares six reasons why taking up singing in 2021 could give your mental health a big boost.
HUM is a brand new series of online weekly wellbeing and singing sessions from the Gloucestershire-founders of national choir organisation, On:Song.
Sessions are led by professional singers and vocal coaches and are designed to use singing and vocal techniques to help reduce stress, improve wellbeing and bring people together during self-isolation, all from the safety of home.
For more information, visit onsong.co.uk/hum.
Studies have shown that singing increases the levels of ‘happy hormones’ oxytocin and serotonin in the body.
Singing also releases endorphins, which can help reduce pain and increase pleasure, making you feel happier – so belting out a bit of Britney can definitely be considered self-care!
As well as releasing happy hormones, singing decreases the level of stress hormone cortisol, which helps to reduce feelings of worry and sadness – especially when singing in a choir or group setting. Singing also makes you exhale for longer than you inhale, which can help to calm the nervous system down.
Listening to and creating music can be a cathartic experience too, helping us process and release emotions in a healthy, positive way, much like Bridget Jones in that iconic pyjama scene.
We all know the importance of good posture, especially when it comes to looking and feeling more confident. Learning to stand or sit correctly when you sing can improve posture, instantly making you feel more confident.
Singing allows you to use your voice in a completely new way, get out of your comfort zone and learn a new skill – all of which can help boost self-esteem and self-confidence. Even your regular speaking voice can benefit from a bit of vocal training.
Physical exercise is great for your mental health and while it’s easy to see how singing can give your lungs a workout, you might not realise that it works your heart and muscles too.
Singing improves blood circulation and oxygen flow, which gives your immune system a boost and helps keep your skin looking youthful. Making all the shapes you need to sing also helps to stretch and tone your facial muscles too.
Just like your body, your brain benefits from exercise. Music can help to slow down how much your cognitive functions decline as you age, as well as helping improve your memory.
Playing music creates new neural pathways, connecting different parts of the brain such as the hearing, motor and perception systems. Music can even stimulate parts of the brain that language can’t, such as autobiographical memory.
Singing together has a variety of physical and emotional benefits. People’s heartbeats synchronise when singing together, which can create a feeling of calm. Those happy hormones like oxytocin also help us create social bonds with other people.
Even strangers can feel like the closest of friends fairly quickly as singing helps to break the ice, while having a shared goal encourages people to work together. There’s even evidence that says choirs provide a more meaningful social group than sports teams, so not only does joining in with a sing song help you feel better in yourself, you could even make some new friends.
For more information about HUM from On:Song, visit onsong.co.uk/hum.
Tuesday 22 December 2020
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