Anyone who loves singing can probably already tell you about just how good it feels, whether you sing by yourself or with a crowd.
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But you may not have known that it has also been proven to provide a whole host of life-boosting benefits, including stress and anxiety reduction, according to Time Magazine.
So, whether you serenade in the shower or entertain your friends at parties, here are 11 ways that singing improves your overall well-being!
1. Singing Makes Your Body Release Beneficial Hormones
As noted by Time Magazine, singing prompts your body to release endorphins, which are hormones that boost your feelings of pleasure and happiness. It also makes you release oxytocin, a hormone that has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress. It’s what your body releases when you have a good snuggle with someone else.
Singing isn’t a cure-all for all negative emotion or a total hug replacement, but it is a free, easy and natural way to give yourself a mood boost. Sing when you’re feeling down to lift your spirits and relieve some mental pressure.
2. Singing Improves Your Cognition
Many studies have shown that singing can improve your brain function and how clearly you think. One study conducted in the US, as reported by The Independent, found that group singing lessons significantly improved the cognitive abilities of dementia patients in a nursing home.
Try a little singing to get your brain working better, especially if you’re facing a particularly difficult project or task and aren’t even sure where to begin. The same study also found that familiar songs from the patients’ youth had the most impact, so feel free to rock out to some of your old favorites.
3. Singing May Prolong Your Life
According to the Mother Nature Network, a study is currently being conducted by the University of California San Francisco, on the singing lifespan benefits for older adults. For the study, 12 new adult choirs were created across Bay Area senior centers, and they were tested in areas, such as leg strength, prior to the start of the study period. Researcher Julene Johnson said that seniors who regularly sing in choir tend to fall less, so they may have better lower body strength.
While singing has yet to be completely proven as a lifespan-increasing activity, the early research looks promising. Add some singing into your week to add to your total number of days whenever you can!
4. Singing Drops Your Blood Pressure
Since singing reduces stress and anxiety, it’s possible that it lowers blood pressure as a result. A study from the American College of Rheumatology, and covered by Medical News Daily, found that a patient with high blood pressure saw her levels drop dramatically when she sang religious songs. This patient was not responding to typical hypertension treatments, which is why singing was evaluated in her case.
Singing won’t replace lifestyle changes and medications when it comes to serious hypertension, but it can certainly help keep your pressure down. When you’re feeling the telltale signs of rising blood pressure creep up, try singing your favorite song to help prevent a radical jump.
5. Singing Tones Some Muscles
A proper singing technique requires some degree of body control and uses specific muscles in ways you may not normally use them. Singing from your diaphragm can help strengthen back and stomach muscles.
You can exercise facial muscles in different ways when you’re singing, giving you a more lively appearance. The muscles that run between your ribs and help move and form your chest wall get quite a workout when you sing, too!
6. Singing Helps You Connect
Songs and the act of singing is one of those things that can cross even great culture divides. People can be entranced by a song and a voice, even if they don’t understand all or any of the words. You can gain new appreciation for different cultures by singing songs from them, and develop your sense of empathy at the same time.
Try singing if you’re feeling disconnected or just want to bridge a new culture with your own worldview. Let the music, and your act of physically singing it, take you into a whole new perspective.
7. Singing Boosts Your Lungs And Posture
As cited by Everyday Health, more than one study has linked singing to breathing benefits. A study led by Canadian RN Donna Goodridge, for example, found that some COPD patients who sang weekly were able to breathe easier, and another study conducted by the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine came up with the same results. Singing is essentially exercise for your lungs, but without all the sweat usually associated with cardio.
When you sing, proper posture makes you project more and sound stronger, so it’s a natural part of the action. You want to sound good, or loud, so you straighten up out of reflex. Singing more often can make better posture a habit, so try it at least weekly if you want to improve yours!
8. Singing Unites You With Others
Singing in a group or choir is a social and bonding activity, and it’s usually fun, too. The Daily Telegraph reports that studies have found people who sing in groups receive a mental health boost, and this improvement included conditions such as depression.
If you’re feeling low or cut off from others, find a local choir or singing group in your area. Having a sense of belonging can really help when you’re feeling disconnected.
Singing may also improve the health of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease impacts many areas of the body, including the voice, but many treatments don’t focus on vocal symptoms, solely the motor ones.
An Iowa State University study, as cited by Medical News Daily, found that a group of Parkinson’s patients who sang at least once per week showed improvement in vocal levels, swallowing control and pitch duration after two months.
9. Singing Boosts Memory
A key to having a good memory is exercising it; think of it as a mental “muscle” that atrophies if it’s neglected. When you sing, you have to remember the words, and that makes you use your memory in a way that you usually don’t.
If you’re not happy with your memory or just want to improve it, try singing old favorites and new songs you enjoy.
10. Singing Can Improve Immunity
As covered by Science Daily, singing may improve your immune system. A joint study by the Royal College of Music and Tenovus Cancer Care, found that cancer patients who sang for one hour saw a rise in their cytokines levels, which are proteins made by the immune system.
Singing is fun, free and can be done alone or with an audience. To tap into all the benefits that singing has to offer, start carrying a tune or two today!