Buddy the Elf has some horrible ideas, but there is one rule that he has that is 100% true. And no, it’s not having maple syrup on spaghetti. Buddy tells his father “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” I wondered if this was true and after a quick Google search, I found that there are numerous articles about singing and how it has health benefits: physically, emotionally, and socially.
There are a few physical benefits of singing. When people sing together it has been shown that their hearts start to beat in unison due to the speed of their breathing and heart rate is also affected by the melody of the music. This can help decrease the variability in heart rate, which can positively impact physical health. Along with this, singing helps improve blood circulation due to it being an aerobic activity.
It was found from research that singing carols could aid in increasing lung capacity as well. Singing helps strengthen the muscles used in breathing, which, in turn, helps us to have stronger and more controlled breaths. This can also benefit those who have lung cancer, as it was found that “those who participated in choral singing had greater expiratory capacity than people who did not” (Smith, 2016). Increasing the ability to have more controlled breaths is a great skill to develop for stress relief as well.
I recently went on a cruise where I didn’t get the chance to sing for 12 days and at about day 9, I realized that this was having a slight negative impact on my mood. Singing isn’t a talent of mine, but I enjoy belting it out to Katy Perry in my car and didn’t realize how much I would miss the emotional benefits from doing so.
Due to the breathing that is used during singing, there is an increase of oxygen that causes endorphins to release. Also, it is hard to sing when your body is tense, so it helps your body relax and focus on the song, rather than all of the other stresses of life. Singing provides an outlet for emotions, whether that is through lyrics written by yourself or another. I find music to be motivating and it helps me feel more empowered and connected to my emotions.
Going around the neighborhood with a group and singing carols has social benefits. Actually, these benefits occur in any type of group singing setting, especially in choirs. When singing with a group, you are all working together to learn songs, harmonize, and improve. This can strengthen the feeling of togetherness and working as a team. Social well-being is improved as relationships are formed from spending time together and getting to know one another.
Singing not only has positive impacts on those who are doing the singing but upon those who are listening as well. In an Anatomy class I took years ago, my professor raised the question, “would you rather lose your eyesight or your hearing?” I, along with a majority of the class raised their hand to say they would rather lose their hearing. He then asked us to close our eyes and he went to the piano and played a beautiful song. Tears welled in my eyes as the music moved me. There weren’t even any words, but the beauty of the note, the harmonies, and the passion he put into playing was beautiful. After he played that song, I decided I would rather lose my eyesight than my hearing.
Your Singing Talent Doesn’t Matter
I’m self conscious of my singing voice but as I’ve done this research, I feel more motivated to overcome my hesitations. Whenever I hear others sing, I enjoy it, no matter their skill level. I don’t want to hold myself back from the benefits of singing, especially because singing in a group is an easy way to participate without as much anxiety as a solo might cause.
There are many opportunities for singing this holiday season, whether that be through church choirs, Messiah sing-ins, Midnight Mass, karaoke at holiday parties, or grabbing some of your friends and caroling through the neighborhood. I hope that this holiday season you can find a moment to join with others and “sing loud for all to hear” because I know it will put a smile on your face and the faces of those who are lucky enough to hear it.
Meyerowitz, Anya. (2016, December 1). Singing Christmas Carols Has a Surprising Health Benefit. http://www.prima.co.uk/diet-and-health/healthy-living/news/a36833/singing-christmas-carols-improves-lung-capacity/
Smith, Jordan. (2016, March 23). 6 Psychological and Physical Benefits of Choral Singing. https://www.cmuse.org/psychological-and-physical-benefits-of-choral-singing/
Weithers, Dora. (2017, November 29). How Singing Can Improve Your Health. https://remedygrove.com/wellness/Health-Factors-Which-Singing-Can-Improve