Thursday, September 25, 2014

Health Benefits of Singing

I love to sing, always have. But did you know that singing is good for your health? 

The research on this is quite amazing! Here's a list of some of the health benefits of singing.

Singing -
*boosts the immune system
*releases endorphins ("feel good" brain chemicals) 
*improves mood and relieves stress
*gives the lungs, abdomen, diaphragm, etc. a workout (if you sing with correct form, not just from your throat)
*stimulates circulation
*improves posture and mental alertness
*can improve sleep

Wow, that's pretty impressive! 

More specifically, singing various sounds can help certain organs. I found the information on this website very interesting and definitely worth a try. It says:

*Singing the short-a sound, as in ahh, for 2-3 minutes will help banish the blues. It forces oxygen into the blood, which signals the brain to release mood-lifting endorphins.
*To boost alertness, make the long-e sound, as in emit. It stimulates the pineal gland, which controls the body's biological clock.
*Singing the short-e sound, as in echo stimulates the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones that control the speed which digestion and other bodily processes occur.
*Making the long-o sound as in ocean stimulates the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.
*To strengthen immunity, sing the double-o sound, as in tool. This activates the spleen, which regulates the production of infection fighting white blood cells.

Other research recommends group singing for better health. 

"Group singing is cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking, and certainly more fun than working out. It is the one thing in life where feeling better is pretty much guaranteed."

"All types of singing have positive psychological effects. The act of singing releases endorphins, the brain's 'feel good' chemicals. Singing in front of a crowd...naturally builds confidence, which has broad and long-lasting effects on general well-being. But of all types of singing, it's choral singing that seems to have the most dramatic effects on people's lives."

I haven't sung in a choir since high school. But I do very much enjoy the group singing at church when I'm able to go. When I was in junior high, once a month we had what we called a "Singspiration." On a Sunday night we'd get together and just sing for about an hour. Anyone could request a song from the hynmal or praise-book. It was wonderful! Those are still some of my favorite memories. 

I think it's important to note that what we sing is key (pun intended). J Sometimes I catch myself singing a song with words that really aren't what I need to be repeating to myself. A lot of catchy tunes have untrue or negative words. So remember to sing words that are true, encouraging, and uplifting.

Whether by yourself or in a group, have fun singing and knowing it's good for you! 

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