Why science says you should sing more often
Singing is a source of joy and happiness to a lot of people. While some prefer to exercise their vocal cords while showering, others love to sing in front of an audience- friends, gatherings or in professional settings. Irrespective of where, when and how you sing, there are many physical, mental and emotional benefits of singing. Some of its benefits include being a good workout for the lungs, better immune system, enhanced confidence & concentration and reduced anxiety & stress levels. We will explore these benefits in greater detail as we look at some cool and surprising benefits of singing in this article. Perhaps, after reading this article, you might want to break your silence & break into a song and spread the joy of singing among more people!
Health Benefits of Singing
Singing helps you overcome your inhibitions and gives the freedom to be yourself. Training to sing is a challenging experience and as you improve your singing skills, it gives you a sense of achievement, which in turn has a positive impact on your self-esteem. Studies have shown that performing in front of a crowd and successfully remembering the lyrics significantly boosts confidence levels of singers in personal life as well.
2. Vocal Skills
To sing well, you need to be able to sing the right words at the right time at the right pitch, volume and force. Thus, as you get better at singing you’ll notice a significant improvement in your vocal skills such as proper phrasing and breathing, which in turn leads to stronger vocal expression and health benefits such as improved blood circulation & respiration, better immune system, mental clarity and higher energy levels.
As mentioned in the previous point, singing leads to improved blood circulation and as a result of the oxygenated blood stream, more oxygen reaches the brain. This enhances mental alertness, focus and memory. Singing from memory or performing rhythmic actions with music improves attention span and strengthens concentration.
4. Workout for Lungs
Singing is actually a great exercise for the lungs. When you sing regularly, you learn to breathe effectively, thereby exercising your lungs and strengthening your abdominal muscles and diaphragm. While singing, you also take deep breaths, allowing you take more oxygen and release muscle tension, which helps in optimal usage of lung capacity (similar to what you experience with deep breathing exercises). Research has shown that singing is a good way to counter the problem of shortness of breath and stimulate good circulation.
5. Mood Changer
In addition to improved breathing and circulation (which tend to promote a good mood), singing also results in the release of endorphin- a hormone that makes you feel uplifted and happy. It soothes your nerves and elevates your spirit, thus instantly improving your mood. Additionally, a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus responds to sound frequencies that are produced while singing or in music in general and its response stimulates a feeling of pleasure. So, if the chips are down, burst into a song or two and feel the difference!
6. Sinus clearing
If you have a problem with your sinuses, singing can help you. Singing helps in cleaning and clearing out the sinuses and respiratory tubes. The constant airflow stimulates the throat and opens the respiratory passages. Some studies have also suggested that singing can also help improve breathing in people with conditions such as asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
7. Stress Buster
If you are stressed or depressed about something, singing is a great way to relax. Singing releases stored muscle tension as well as releases oxytocin- a hormone that has been found to reduce anxiety and stress. Oxytocin is also associated with feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why singing has been found to help in reducing depression and loneliness. Research has also found reduced levels of stress hormones such as cortisol after singing, further emphasizing singing’s role as a stress buster.
Singing is incredibly healing and several papers have been published on the potential therapeutic effects of singing. The healing effects are more pronounced in group singing. Studies have suggested that our heart rates may sync up during group singing, resulting in healing and relaxation benefits similar to those in a guided group meditation. It has also been suggested that singing may also help improve speech deficits associated with conditions such as stuttering, Parkinson’s disease and autism.