Ever wondered why, when life gets you down, just singing a song made everything a little bit better? Turns out it's because of Science. Singing releases endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. A potent combination for happiness!
Oxytocin is one of the most powerful from the above list: not only does it help to reduce anxiety and stress, it also increases feelings of bonding and trust. This must be why group singing is proving to be the most transformative and on the rise as a recognised therapy in the battle for our mental health.
More and more, people with high stress jobs are using music therapy to help channel their anxiety. In a similar way exercise works (but with much more fun to be had than on any treadmill!).
Below are three ways I use singing (seemingly unknowingly, until I started writing this!).
1. UNLOCK EMOTION. Find the saddest, most dramatic song in the world and belt it out! The neighbours might not thank you, but you will feel a whole lot better afterwards! (Recent song choice: 'Don't forget me' from SMASH, the musical)
2. SPIT IT OUT. Sometimes I like to learn rap songs. It's great for a couple of things: 'spitting' out lyrics is great for channeling a bit of anger. I also find rap to be a great karaoke crowd pleaser! (Recent song choice for the former: 'Satisfied' from Hamilton)
3. DO IT WITH FRIENDS. Whether you're singing in a choir, with a group or you're in something out of Glee, working together to create sound will make you very happy. I get certain elation from a big musical number. (Recent song choice 'Facade' from Jekyll and Hyde).
What are your choices?