With many unknowns concerning the spread of disease, I have been in a quandary for two years concerning my hobby and my passion – the act of SINGING. Especially in group settings, we have been discouraged from participation However, there’s a wealth of previous research that proves the benefits of singing on health and wellbeing across your lifespan. Here are 4 benefits of singing.
Immediately after singing, studies show singers have higher levels of the protein, Immunoglobulin A, an antibody known to benefit the immune function of mucous membranes. Research has also shown that the increased airflow in your lungs during singing lessons the likelihood of bacteria in your upper respiratory track. Singing strengthens your immune system.
When you sing, you breathe well, use your diaphragm, and increase oxygen intake and lung capacity. According to research, improved breathing and knowledge breath helps dealing with anxiety and panic attacks
Singing is an aerobic activity and exercises major muscle groups in upper body. Singing helps improve the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. Because singing encourages the body to take more oxygen, alertness is increased.
Connected to the vocal cords and the back of the throat, the vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body, connecting the brain to various organs. A key part of the parasympathetic nervous system, this vagus nerve influences breathing, digestion and heart rate among other things. A 2010 study showed that the more you increase your vagal tone the more your physical and mental health improve and the faster you can relax after stress.
In scientific studies of people suffering chronic pain, singing has been shown to alleviate the pain symptoms for not just immediately afterward but for up to 6 months later. The studies have also shown that singing could have a real impact on the amount of pain relief medication used by participants. This is particularly interesting given the long-term negative side effects that pain medication can have on the body.
When people sing, endorphins and oxytocin are released by the brain which in turn lowers stress and anxiety levels. The natural hormone hypothalamus enhances feelings of trust, bonding, improves depression and feelings of loneliness.
With the release of endorphins, singers feel an energy boost. The act of learning a new skill, improving and being part of group helps to influence your confidence and self-esteem.
So much is going on in your body when you sing that allows your mind to focus fully. You can “turn off” your stream of consciousness and lie completely in the moment, distracting your mind from negative thoughts. You can focus on the sound, the action, the breathing the feeling and the pleasure of the song. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress and increasing focus on tasks.
Singing helps you believe in yourself and increases self-efficacy. It provides an unthreatening way to express emotion. Instead of eliminating stressful situations from your life (usually not possible), emotional-focused coping is a powerful tool in managing stress techniques that help you become less emotional reactive to stress.
Singing is an intimate and personal activity however, when you share it with others, it helps strengthen bonds and cohesion. No matter the quality of tones, group singing is an excellent icebreaker for groups and can synchronize individual heartbeats. When people have mental illness, creating and sustaining social bonds is critical in combatting loneliness and depression.
Singing with others creates a strong sense of community and inclusion. It enhances possibilities of relationship and positive group identity. Social inclusion is a key part of emotional recovery and encourages support systems where individuals feel loved, esteemed and values which creates a positive influence on overall physical health.
Hoping we can be heard singing together soon,
Worship Arts Director