Throughout history, humans have used singing as a form of expression and entertainment. It is safe to say that singing is as natural to humans as it is to birds, and if you are not comfortable singing yourself, it's never too late for you to learn!
People sing to enjoy a range of benefits - from mental to physical. Some have decided to take up singing lessons as they are a fun and affordable way to develop your musical ear and challenge yourself to perform in public. During your singing lesson, not only will you learn skills and techniques such as how to breathe correctly, how to maintain a good posture, how to find your vocal range, and how to sing in key, scientific studies have shown that your overall mental health will improve.
Specifically, when you sing your body will release hormones that will reduce your feelings of anxiety and depression, which in turn will reduce your stress levels to make you feel happier and even smarter. You can fit singing into your life in many ways, from joining a casual choir in your neighborhood to signing up for proper singing lessons with a voice coach. If you are interested in learning more about how singing benefits your mental health, continue reading below!
Singing Can Change Your Life
If you've always dreamed of becoming a famous singer, taking singing lessons and performing on talent shows or auditions can literally change your life. It's true! Many recording artists and famous singers have been discovered by recording labels and studios and given the chance to perform for a mass audience. However, not everyone is meant to live a singer's life. So even if you are not on track to become a household name for your singing skills, singing can still change your life for the better in other ways.
One of the most obvious ways singing has benefited many is how it improves people's mental health. For one, it's common knowledge that many people like to listen to music to lift their mood. But did you know that the singer also benefits from singing? Neuroscience studies have indicated that the act of singing can make a person happier, healthier, smarter, and more creative. It achieves these effects by increasing a brain’s neuroplasticity which in turn improves memory, language, and concentration.
Using singing as a hobby can also indirectly improve your mental health as you may decide to join a choir, which will then serve as social interaction. When you dive into the singing world, you will also have the opportunity to make new friends who also enjoy singing. This can make you feel less alone and help you make connections with others all through singing, which has been shown to improve mental health simply due to social interactions and giving a person a sense of purpose.
Key Findings on the Mental Benefits of Singing
Much research has been undertaken in recent years around both the physical and mental benefits of singing. We've covered the physical singing benefits in a different article, and below you can read more about the researcher's findings on how exactly singing has been found to improve a person's mental well-being.
One such comprehensive study published by Irish researchers is called “Sing Yourself Better” and it explores the health and wellbeing benefits of singing with a choir. The participants of the study ranged from the ages of 18 to 90 and the general trend in the report's findings was that singing was found to be a highly beneficial activity for the health and well-being of the participants. This finding is the same in all types of settings, from homes to workplaces, educational institutions, to nursing homes for the elderly.
The singing experiences of the study participants also differ in a wide range. Some participants describe being part of their local choir for a few years, while others describe singing in a group for their entire lives. In terms of gender, the female participants reported higher instances of social, physical, and emotional benefits compared to their male participant counterparts. However, it is also important to note that the ratio of female to male respondents to the study was 5:1, which mirrors the gender imbalance that is often cited in singing and the performing art scenes.
Specifically, the findings conclude that some key findings of mental benefits were increased feelings of social connection, cognitive stimulation, and transcendence from everyday worries and pain which all combine to improve the mental well-being of the singers. For workers in high-pressure jobs, singing has helped tremendously in reducing feelings of tension and stress, while singing together with coworkers has been found to promote increased feelings of connectedness in the workplace to produce engaged workers.
Make Singing Your Key to Good Mental Health
When you sing, your brain activity increases, and your vagus nerve is activated. The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the human body and it is connected to your vocal cords and the back of your throat. When the vagus nerve detects singing, it causes your heart rate to slow which causes a calming effect.
When you sing on a regular basis, you are likely to have higher levels of oxytocin in your body which also produces an overall calming effect to promote better psychological wellbeing. Endorphins are also released which is a feel-good hormone that helps combat depression.
This is all great news for those who have a history of depression or are currently experiencing episodes of clinical depression. Although it is equally important to seek professional help, especially if the depression is affecting a person's ability to function normally, simple remedies like singing can help ward off depression. So if you are feeling depressed or just a little blue, time to pick up an instrument to go along with your voice, or turn up that song and sing along!
Happy Songs to Sing-Along
If you are in need of a mood booster in the form of some happy songs, you're in luck! We have compiled a list of some fun and peppy songs to brighten up a boring or sad day. These are the songs that just hit your soul right and make you want to get up and dance. Not to mention these songs will keep your good vibes flowing and will immediately put you in a better mood.
Happy by Pharrell Williams
What better song to make you feel happy than a song that is literally titled Happy? This ear-worm composed by Pharrell has a fun beat and lyrics to sing along to that will make you feel amazing. And a fun fact? This song was also the best-selling song of 2014 in the United States!
Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves
There's no greater happiness than walking on a ray of bright yellow sunshine. This song is perfect for the times when you just want to live out loud. You've probably heard this beat on the radio at some point in your life, and over the years it has become an anthem for celebrating happiness. Fun fact? This fun song was originally intended to be a ballad, but the band's lead singer Katrina Leskanich decided to make a peppier version instead.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
Fun and happiness often go hand in hand, and this hit by Cyndi Lauper is all but guaranteed to get some good vibes going. A fun fact about this song is that it peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard charts when it was released and was a breakthrough single for Lauper. It also continues to be one of the most popular pop songs of all time.
Geronimo by Sheppard
Written by band members Jason Bovino with the brother-sister duo of George and Amy Sheppard, the name of the song is a reference to Apache leader Geronimo’s habit of yelling his name before he did something brave. Although the title of the song doesn't tell you much, one listen to this song and you'll be feeling the good vibes in no time.