Last weekend I went to a concert featuring a choir of approximately 250 singers. At the start of the concert one of the MC’s described what singing meant to some of the members of the choir and this included ‘therapy’. They then went on to talk about the benefits of singing and this made me think about the therapeutic effects of singing. We all talk about singing in the shower or bath and I know that I sing along to the radio in the car but what is it about singing that makes us feel better?
Research has suggested that it not only increases oxygen levels in the blood but triggers the release of ‘happy’ hormones such as oxytocin, which is thought to help lower stress levels and blood pressure.
Studies have found that people who sing in a choir have a stronger sense of being part of a meaningful group and there is the suggestion that there is something unique about the synchronicity of moving and breathing with other people. It has been suggested that a group of singers actually synchronise their heartbeats.
Choirs are becoming more popular following recent television programmes such as Gareth Malone’s ‘The Choir’ and performances by choirs on television talent shows. They are no longer reserved for churches and are not a recognised social activity. No-one can deny the emotion this is felt when listening to a piece of music or song and this must be multiplied when actually performing this.
Some of the emotional benefits of singing include:
- Increase in self-esteem and confidence
- Increase of feelings of well-being and enhanced mood
- Spiritually uplifting
- Increase in understanding and empathy and promotes bonding
- Brings people together and encourages a sense of community
Group singing is one thing in life where feeling better is pretty much guaranteed.
Go on – Give it a try!