THE EFFECT OF SINGING ON HEALTH


Emotional/Psychological

   Singing lowers cortisol, and relieves stress and tension:

      Studies have shown that when people sing, endorphins and oxytocin are released by the brain, which, in turn, lowers stress and anxiety levels. Oxytocin (a natural hormone produced in the hypothalamus) also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which explains how singing also improves depression and feelings of loneliness.

    Singing boosts confidence:

      The release of endorphins gives singers a positive feeling and an energy boost. The act of learning a new skill, improving and being part of a group, also helps to influence your confidence and self-esteem.

   Singing is a mindful activity:

      So much is going on in your body and mind when you sing that when you are singing you are fully focused on it. This allows you to turn off your stream of consciousness, and live completely in the moment, thus distracting your mind from negative thoughts, and allowing you to focus on the sound, the acting, the breathing, and the feeling and pleasure of song. Mindfulness has been shown to have many benefits, including reducing stress and increasing focus. 

 

 Social

     Singing is an intimate activity, and when you share it with others, it helps strengthen bonds. Group singing, no matter the quality of the results, is an excellent icebreaker, and has been shown to synchronize the heartbeats of those people singing together. Creating and sustaining social bonds is critical in combating loneliness and depression.

     Singing together creates a strong sense of community and social inclusion:

        Singing with others enhances the possibilities of emphatic relationships and generates a positive group identity. Feeling connected to others is not only important in terms of having a social and emotional support system, where you feel loved, esteemed and valued, it also encourages healthier behavior patterns and has a positive influence on overall physical health. 

 

Behavioral changes

   Singing helps you believe in yourself, increasing self-efficacy:

      Through the journey of learning a new skill, engaging with others and performing, you begin to believe in yourself more, and in your power to succeed. This has long-term impacts in other aspects of your life.   

   Singing provides an unthreatening way to express emotions:

      Singing can be a powerful tool in emotion-focused coping—a way of managing stress that helps you to become less emotionally reactive to stress. 

 

Physiological

   Singing strengthens the immune system:

      Immediately after singing, studies have shown that singers had higher levels of the protein Immunoglobulin A, an antibody known to benefit the immune function of mucus membranes. High levels of stress and depression have been found to act negatively upon your immune system by activating your body’s fight or flight mechanism, raising your heart rate, interfering with your sleep, and diminishing your physical health. Increased airflow in your lungs during singing also lessens the likelihood of bacteria flourishing in your upper respiratory tract. 

   Singing improves breathing:

      When you learn to sing, you learn to breathe well, use your inspiratory and expiratory muscles, and increase your oxygen intake and lung capacity. Improved breathing and knowledge of the breath also helps people deal with anxiety and panic attacks.

   Singing is an aerobic activity, and increases overall health:

      Singing exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, helping to improve the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, and encourages you to take in more oxygen into your body, leading to increased alertness.

   Singing stimulates the vagus nerve:

      Connected to the vocal cords and the back of the throat, the vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body, connecting the brain to various organs, A key part of the parasympathetic nervous system, the vagus nerve influences breathing, digestion, and heart rate, among other things. The more you increase your vagal nerve tone, the more your physical and mental health improve, and the faster you can relax after stress. 

 

Singing helps with pain

   Singing has been shown to alleviate pain symptoms, and could have an impact on the amount of pain relief medication used by patients.

(Sing Up Foundation: Singing and Health)