Does singing keep the mind young?
- Health & Wellbeing
Group singing has been proven to lower stress levels, alleviate anxiety and even elevate natural production of those fantastic feel good endorphins. Singing also has positive neurological benefits. Plus its really fun!
Think you can’t sing? Guess what - it doesn’t matter! Even if you are ‘tone deaf’ everyone can benefit from the cathartic powers of singing. If you've ever thought about joining a choir or signing group, but have yet to found the time, here’s some great reasons to get you singing along.
Did you know? Singing is naturally good for you. It is a fun activity that produces both a physical and emotional response. These powerful and positive mood enhancing hormones endorphins and oxytocin are released and are a natural reaction when you are having fun. Studies show there may even be physiological benefits at the neurological level and singing can help with depression. It is also a great way to make new friends.
Why singing is good for you
Ok, so we know singing makes us happier. Singing positively impacts wellbeing and health through the development of six ‘generative mechanisms’.
- Positive thinking
- More clearly focused attention
- Better breathing
- Extra social support
- Increased cognitive stimulation
- Plus the added security of having a regular commitment.
Benefits for your brain
A recent Australian study from The University of Melbourne's School of Psychological Sciences indicates that singing is effective at stimulating brain development and integrated mental function. The study shows the power of music actually has an ability to activate the emotional and reward networks of the brain. Essentially there is a link between singing - or even just watching to or listening to music - and increased brain function. Substantial differences have been found in the brains of musicians and non-musicians in terms of size, shape, density, connectivity, and functional activity.
So, is music the ‘food’ of neuroscience? It certainly gives us a powerful model showing that our brains can respond to our environments. It seems singing does have the potential to change lives for the better.
By providing access to weekly community choir sessions, Creativity Australia encourages people of all backgrounds to take part in much more than singing. The are opportunities to create friendships, find a mentor or even potentially a new job. The With One Voice program is certainly a great way to re-connect with others and society at large.
The latest Sydney choir has been a smashing success, with more than 100 eager participants joining in on the fun. Boasting a truly diverse background (organisers say that CEOs and refugees share the stage) the group covers the musical territory from popular music to Broadway, and many genres in between.
With One Voice supports an annual competition called, Sing for Good, which encourages any group (two or more people) with a ‘song in their heart’ to register and upload a video of them singing. Anyone from families to groups of colleagues to choir groups or clubs can enter a video.
Australian neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo is best known for his surgical skills however even he enjoys the stress relief singing brings. He has entered Sing for Good this year with his singing team the 'Brain Cancer Warriors'.
"Surgery for brain cancer is high risk and physically and emotionally taxing. The management of those with brain cancer is so stressful one could be excused for seeing only the negative side of life," Dr Teo says. "Singing together during and after a hard day in the operating theatre has helped me and my team overcome many of the tragedies that we see on a daily basis and we encourage everyone to do the same."
Get creative with your favourite song, vote for your favourite, donate to the With One Voice choir program and spread the joy of singing today. Entries are open from 1st August until 31st October, with the winners being announced at a finale concert in Melbourne in November. Visit Sing For Good for more information on how to get involved in this fantastic initiative and click here to find a local choir or start one yourself or visit the Australian National Choral Association.
With so many wonderful benefits attached to signing, now is the time to let your light shine. Ready to sing out loud?
Does singing or listening to music make you happy? Join the conversation below…