Singing Can Boost Your Mental and Physical Health
According to Buddy the Elf, “the best way to spread Christmas cheeris singing loud for all to hear” — and he’s not wrong. While Will Ferrell’s advice saved Christmas in a fictional movie, science suggests that singing’s pretty powerful in the real world too.
The next time your significant other tells you to cool it in the shower or the car, bust out this knowledge instead: Lifting your voice in song — especially as a group — may potentially boost mental health and reduce symptoms of asthma.
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Scientists are currently exploring the physiological and psychological benefits of singing with promising results. Most recently, a November 2017 study of self-reported data from 1,779 choir members around the world provided “confirmatory evidence to support choral singing as a means of improving wellbeing,” the authors wrote in Perspectives in Public Health. Participants claimed making music fostered social connection, cognitive stimulation, mental health, enjoyment, and transcendence.
This observation doesn’t stand alone. Most studies in this field of research report that singing can enhance your mood and create a sense of group identity, Stephen Clift writes in Music, Health, and Wellbeing.
Some scientists theorize that those feelings of belonging may stem from a rush of hormones — endorphins and oxytocin — released by singing. Together, the feel-good chemicals may bring pleasure and alleviate stress, according to TIME. There’s also limited data supporting the idea that group singing can even help combat depression and anxiety, and provide a respite for people suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s.
The physical act of singing may boost your respiratory health too. A 2014 review of research conducted on singing and asthma revealed that music therapy may help symptoms, but the authors caution further research should still be done.
So while scientists continue to collect more data, it’s not a bad idea to warm up those vocal cords now. Just cue up “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and even the grumpiest Grinch will want to get in on the jam session.