If your entire singing experience can be reduced to a traumatic experience in a school choir, it might be time to rethink your abilities and try it again.
Here are some of the health benefits that can come along with belting out a tune or two.
1. Singing reduces stress.
Unless you suffer from a crippling case of stage fright, singing can improve your mood, reduce anxiety, help ease depression symptoms, and generally make you happier. This information comes from research conducted using surveys and self-reports of those who sing. Scientists are not sure what the physiological changes are that lead to these changes, only that they are consistently reported.
2. Singing can improve bonding.
Singing can result in a shared emotional experience and keep you socially connected with others. A recent study showed that newly formed singing groups felt closer to each other after only one month than members of other artsy groups, like writing groups. Singing is definitely an ice-breaker and can help open up quick conversations and opportunities for developing connections.
3. Singing improves immunity.
While singing doesn’t cure serious disease, a recent study showed that it could offer some help in the form of boosting immunity, particularly for cancer patients. After singing, it was found that cancer patients showed higher levels of certain immune system molecules called cytokines and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. More research is needed, but it’s promising that there are immune system benefits from something as simple as singing.
4. Singing is good for the heart.
Singing changes your patterns of breathing. When you take bigger, deeper, slower breaths, you are slowing your heart rate. Like yoga, singing can improve your heart rate variability, which is the time between heart beats. Some research has also shown that groups singing together start to sync their heartbeats, further emphasizing the power of singing when it comes to bonding.
5. Singing improves snoring.
A study conducted in London compared singers and non-singers, finding a lower severity of snoring in singers, even when results were adjusted for other factors like BMI and age. Singing helps to strengthen the muscles in our airways—which, when weak, can vibrate and lead to disruptive snoring.
6. Singing may help asthma.
Singing is not just a fancy way of breathing. Scientists have been exploring the possibility that the slower rate of breathing can help those with breathing problems like asthma. Research is still in the early stages, but there is some initial evidence that singing can improve lung function and may reduce asthma symptoms—particularly for those with mild asthma symptoms.
Start singing, and get these great health benefits. If you are worried about those around you, maybe take some voice lessons, too!