Melody in My Soul: The Many Benefits of Singing
When someone says they’re a singer, we tend to imagine a recording artist spitting tracks and playing award shows. But you don’t need a contract to belt in the church choir or entertain the fam with your best rendition of “This Christmas” around the tree. All you need to be a singer is a reason to sing. If you’re looking for a reason to take voice lessons or just cut loose and let the music flow, these are just a few of the many benefits of singing.
Breathing is essential to life and singing helps us get a breath in us. When we sing, we are working out several parts of the body related to breathing. There are the lungs themselves, but then there’s also the diaphragm which helps with inhalation, the abs which help with exhalation, and the intercoastal muscles which help the ribcage expand when the lungs full. The proof is in the pudding. Singing is known to give people a greater lung capacity, even for those with lung conditions.
There’s a reason that singing along to the radio on the way home from work makes us feel better after a long day; and getting our minds off the day is only part of it. When we sing, it releases endorphins in our brain, feel-good hormones associated with pleasure. It also helps reduce hormones that cause stress like cortisol. In a sense, singing is almost like a natural anti-depressant designed to make us happier. And the beauty of this is that it happens whether you sing “well” or not.
Boosts Immune System
Reducing stress hormones doesn’t just make us feel more relaxed. The more stressed we are, the more trouble our bodies have with fighting off illness. When we de-stress with a little music, it puts our immune system in a better place. But singing doesn’t just take the bad “stuff” out of our immune systems; rather, it puts good “stuff” back in. Singing for an hour helps increases the number of cytokines, proteins that help support our immune system, in our blood. And in days and times like ours, our immune systems can always use a little boost.
So many of our cherished memories have music woven into them. The song that was playing on the radio when we first met our significant other, the lullabies and hymns passed down through generations, and even the theme songs of our favorite childhood cartoons. Music impacts the part of our minds associated with memory in a special way; that’s why it’s is so effective in helping people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Not only that, but music helps capture the emotions and thoughts associated with a time and a place. In a sense, music is a way to preserve our experiences, and singing is the way to share in them. Of all the benefits of singing, that is the most important one.
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