Have you ever wondered about the benefits of singing?
You sing just for yourself and it makes you smile.
You sing in the shower and you feel excited about your bathroom performance.
You sing along to the radio while driving to work and you feel energized.
I have experienced all of the above and sometimes I wonder why.
So I did a little bit of research to find some answers and put them together in an infographic.
But before I walk you through the infographic, let me give you one more scenario:
My older son sings in a choir. He really enjoys the choir practices but he is never thrilled when I tell him it’s time to go. He slowly picks himself up and finds his song book. He is mostly quiet on the way there. But when I pick him up, he is all smiles and full of energy. When I ask him “So, how was it?”, he replies with enthusiasm: “It was the best practice ever!” and then we chat about it on the way home.
And I found out that my son is not alone:
I talked to other “choir moms” and we all figured that our sons are very much alike. They don’t like going to the choir practice but they love it once they are there.
As I was collecting information for this singing infographic, it hit me.
Maybe, my son’s enthusiasm comes not only from his amazing choir master but it has something to do with the physical and psychological benefits of singing in a choir.
[yellowbox]Bonus: Get a free checklist to find out if you breathe efficiently for singing and start improving your voice right away. Click here to download it now![/yellowbox]
Infographic: Sing Your Way to Health and Happiness
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Researchers have been hard at work to figure out why singing makes us happy and what other benefits singing has in store for us.
There is a wealth of knowledge suggesting that singing is indeed a way to improve your physical well-being and emotional state.
Singing has both psychological and health benefits as confirmed by numerous research studies.
Health Benefits of Singing
I experienced it myself – when I sing, I feel happy (even if I don’t sing like Aretha Franklin).
The reason behind these positive feelings is the release of two hormones during singing: endorphins and oxytocin.
Endorphins are hormones associated with the feeling of pleasure and reduced perception of pain (similarly to the effects of morphine).
Some studies looked at the effects of singing on pain: patients who listened to music or sang before an operation, felt less pain compared to patients who did not engage in musical activities before an operation.
Another hormone, oxytocin, is considered to decrease anxiety and stress as well as increase feelings of trust and bonding.
This hormone is mainly released during childbirth and breast feeding but it is also released during singing.
Oxytocin was found to promote pro-social behaviour and emotions, such as bonding and love.
According to many studies, singing is also thought to boost the immune system, and fight illnesses and depression.
One study found increased levels of immune system proteins in the saliva of choristers after their singing performance.
It gets better:
This is how singing affects the brain: because the hormones also work as neurotransmitters (a chemical responsible for the transfer of impulses in our brain), they enhance the neuroplasticity of our brains.
That means that we are better able to adapt and react to changes in our environment.
Singing involves breathing and as a result, singing improves blood circulation and oxygen flow.
Singing is an aerobic activity that increases the oxygenation process and exercises the upper body, even when sitting.
Moreover, there is a case study that showed that singing can also lower blood pressure through its calming effect.
A 76-year old patient calmed herself down by singing hymns when in hospital, resulting in lower blood pressure readings.
Here are more health benefits:
Norwegian researchers also confirmed the benefits of singing in a choir: singing was linked to better overall health and workplace engagement.
(That would explain why I feel energized when singing in the car on the way to work.)
This will sound crazy:
There are a few studies that go as far as saying that singing even helps you live longer.
For example, a joint Harvard and Yale study showed that choral singing increased life expectancy of people living in New Haven, Connecticut.
The study suggested that singing promoted healthy hearts and minds, which contributed to a longer life.
Psychological Benefits of Singing
As described above, singing releases feel-good hormones that create feelings of pleasure, trust and bonding.
Many research findings suggest that singing also decreases the levels of anxiety, stress, depression and loneliness.
Another benefit of singing in a choir is social bonding and group cohesion.
Choristers feel more connected to their community and are able to rediscover their own identity.
When asked about quality of life, many singers reported that singing significantly contributed to their quality of life.
One more interesting finding:
There are even some studies that found that musicians have generally higher IQs than non-musicians.
And the truth is that many successful people are also good musicians, such as Condoleezza Rice, Woody Allen, John McEnroe, Pele or Chris Hadfield.
Benefits of Singing for Children
Numerous studies in the field of child psychology also focused on finding the advantages of singing for children, such as improved thinking and reasoning processes, perception, school readiness, reading, math skills, self-confidence and self-esteem.
Research also confirmed that singing boosts the memory and attention span of children.
Another study found that children who sing improve their overall learning abilities.
Children who sing in choirs have significantly better grades than their classmates who did not sing in the choir.
Practicing singing helps children improve the way they process sounds, and further helps them focus in the classroom.
Children who are involved in music classes and singing also reported higher satisfaction at school, even in areas that were not related to music class.
Sounds great, right?
Benefits of Singing for the Elderly
Many researchers wondered if the same benefits would apply for the aging population and how singing can be used to improve the lives of this vulnerable group.
You guessed it right:
Again, research confirmed the advantages of singing for the elderly: singing may improve health and well-being of older adults.
Some studies showed that people who sing require less visits to the doctor and don’t need as much medication as people who did not sing on a regular basis.
Elderly people singing in a choir are also less likely to be depressed.
In a recent study, patients with dementia who received singing coaching for 10 weeks experienced improved mood, orientation and memory.
Findings like these support the inclusion of music and singing programs for dementia patient care.
Some researchers even suggest that singing slows down aging of the brain by ‘exercising’ the brain.
Sing Your Way to a Healthy and Happy Life
So if you have not given singing a try, now is the time to start.
Find a group of people who enjoy singing, join a local choir, take some singing lessons, or just sing in the shower or the car.
Surround yourself with diverse music.
Listen to the radio, go to concerts, see musicals …
[yellowbox]Bonus: Get a free checklist to find out if you breathe efficiently for singing and start improving your voice right away. Click here to get it now![/yellowbox]
If you are interested in improving your singing, you can visit these blog posts to get inspired:
Please share this post and infographic to spread the word.
Click like, tweet about it or pin it to your board.
But first of all, don’t forget to sing!
As confirmed by research, singing is good for you, no matter how well you sing.
As long as you keep singing, you will enjoy the benefits of singing in your body and mind.