Feeling good has never been so easy
Most people love to sing. Whether it carries a melody or not, people tend to raise their voices when they sing, seeming to actually believe it’s good for their health. Because there is compelling scientific evidence that singing is good for your body and mind! But how? Let’s take a closer look at the physical and mental benefits of singing and how this pleasurable activity can be used as a therapy method.
benefits of singing
Really Is it good to sing? Decades of scientific research shows that singing alone or in a group can benefit your health in many ways. Here are the main benefits of singing out loud, according to science!
1. Reduces stress
It is not hard to guess that singing is a good stress reliever. A 2017 study measured the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, in participants’ saliva before and after singing. The researchers found that cortisol levels were lower after singing, indicating that people felt more relaxed after singing loudly. It was also found that whether participants sang in groups or individually, singing reduced their stress levels.
But there’s one caveat: for singing to lower your cortisol levels, you need to sing in a place that doesn’t bother you. That’s because a similar 2015 study looked at salivary cortisol levels after singing a song in front of a crowd and found that cortisol levels rise in that scenario!
2. Stimulates the immune response
There is some evidence that singing can boost your immune system and help you fight disease. A 2004 study compared the effects of singing with those of listening to music. That is, subjects either sang or listened to music during two separate sessions.
The results of the study showed that those who sang had higher levels of “immunoglobulin A”, an antibody that the body secretes to fight infections. Listening to music without singing also lowered stress hormone levels, but did not stimulate the body’s immune system.
3. Increases pain threshold
Singing with a group, whether it’s a large choir or a small group, causes your body to release endorphins. This hormone can promote positive emotions and even change your perception of pain. A 2012 study found that singing, drumming, and dancing with a band triggered the release of pain-resistance hormones that simply listening to music couldn’t. The researchers speculate that a sense of social connection, rather than the music itself, is behind this increase in pain tolerance.
4. May Improve Snoring
Regular singing can change your breathing even when you’re not singing. In a 2008 study, researchers interviewed the wives of choir members and the wives of non-singers. In the end, they found that significantly fewer members of the choir snored. This understanding led them to recommend regular singing as a potential treatment for snoring. Research also shows that people who play wind instruments snore less than the general population.
5. Improves Lung Function
Singing may be helpful for certain lung and airway conditions as it involves deep breathing and controlled use of the muscles of the respiratory system. Research shows that breathing techniques used while singing can benefit people with conditions such as COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and quadriplegia. Of course, while singing won’t cure any of these conditions, it can help strengthen the respiratory muscles. In addition, studies show that singing increases the amount of oxygen in the blood.
6. Increases sense of belonging and connection
When you sing along with others, you probably feel the camaraderie and connection that players experience in team games. A 2014 study found that children who participated in the singing and engaging music program developed a strong sense of community and social inclusion.
One of the neurochemicals released when people feel connected to each other is oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. Spontaneous, impromptu singing causes your body to release this feel-good hormone, which can give you a stronger sense of commitment.
7. Supports Memory in Dementia
People with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia experience gradual memory loss. Studies have shown that people with these conditions remember song lyrics more easily than other words.
Also, in a study by the Alzheimer’s Foundation, participants said that singing was “a good way to remember things,” and when they did, they found they remembered more than just words. For some, familiar songs suddenly brought back memories that they, too, had forgotten. From this, the researchers found that singing songs learned at a younger age can cause many people to spontaneously recall autobiographical details.
8. Helps dispel grief
Singing with a band not only increases the threshold for physical pain; it can also help ease the emotional pain you feel after losing a loved one. In a 2019 study of people struggling with grief, those who sang in a choir showed that their depression symptoms did not worsen over time, and their well-being remained stable. Thus, the researchers concluded that group singing may be a good option for people who need extra support during their time of grief.
9. Improves mood
The 2018 study involved 20 people in a singing program known as the “Sing Your Heart Out Project”. Participants included people with mental health issues and the general public. Researchers reported improvements in participants’ mental health, mood, well-being, and sense of belonging as a result of these singing workshops.
10. Helps Improve Speaking Skills
Decades ago, scientists began to investigate the effects of singing on people who had speech problems due to a neurological disease. And research to date has found that singing improves the ability to speak in people with conditions such as autism, Parkinson’s disease, post-stroke aphasia, and stuttering.
Singing stimulates several areas of the brain at the same time. This may allow people with impairments in one part of the brain to communicate using other areas of their brain. It can also lengthen the sounds in each word, making them easier to pronounce.
How can you incorporate the healing effects of singing into your life?
The benefits of singing are obvious! So how do you implement this simple habit into your life? Here are some effective ways you can take advantage of:
- Turn on music while driving and sing along to your favorite songs out loud.
- Take advantage of the acoustics and sing your favorite tunes in the shower.
- Sing along with the children for entertainment.
- Try visiting music festivals.
- Find a local choir or group and find out when you can join.
- If you would like to sing more confidently, take singing lessons from an instructor before joining a group.
- You can also watch related YouTube videos for free singing lessons.
- If you are interested in music therapy for a medical condition, please consult with a certified music therapist.
source: health line
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