Singing For Self Care – Here’s Why Singing Helps Us Physically, Mentally and Spiritually

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Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Singing can be another great addition to your self care tool box.

I’m part of an amazing group of women who sing on Mondays at a local Hospice.  Three or four of us sing a cappella calming, relaxing music in soft three-part harmony at the bedside of patients. It lifts me up so much to use my voice to give back to my community and support an organization I truly believe in – and even though I’m there to give back, I realize I’m receiving as much, if not more, than my audience.

Often these patients are highly sedated, so we may not get a response, but other times we sing to someone who is very aware. And sometimes we sing to someone who has something to teach us about life from the perspective of someone near death.

Recently, a very special gentleman did just that.

He agreed to have us circle his bed, sit down, and sing a few of our songs. Our music is all original, written by members of the choir from all over the country. There’s little chance the patient will know our soothing, comforting tunes, but that didn’t stop this gentleman from trying to sing along.

After a few songs he asked, “Do you know the song “You Are My Sunshine?””

He said he believed that all anyone needed to feel better was a good song and a loud voice

One of us did, and all three verses, so together we sang with him. Our audience-of-one beamed. He was ecstatic. And he said he believed that all anyone needed to feel better was a good song and a loud voice.

I couldn’t agree more.

When was the last time you sang loud and proud? In the car? In the shower?

Tribune reporter Umnia Shahid writes that we should bring out the Madonna in us because singing has multiple physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Here are 5 reasons singing is a great tool for self care:

Boosts cardiovascular health: Singing is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting. It decreases risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.

Singing Stimulates the Brain: Singing requires memorizing lyrics and following a melody as well as connecting words with emotion. Breathing while singing brings more oxygen to the brain, which results in neurons firing, enhancing mental awareness, concentration and memory.

Singing Reduces Stress: When you sing, your brain releases feel-good chemicals including endorphins. This makes singing an effective mood lifter and a valuable tool in alleviating depression. Singing with a group develops a sense of community and belonging, thereby reducing anxiety. Singing is even used as therapy for people with cancer, dementia and for stroke survivors.

Singing improves the posture and breathing, as it increases the capacity of the respiratory system.

Singing is a Natural Healer: Singing ensures physical, mental, psychological and social well-being. It also improves the posture and breathing, as it increases the capacity of the respiratory system.

Singing Builds Confidence: Singing helps develop skills to speak in a natural, powerful and confident voice. It can improve your ability to use your speaking voice with more clarity and confidence and it releases a hormone called oxytocin, which helps reduce anxiety, thus helping you overcome your fear of public speaking. Oxytocin also increases feelings of trust, which strengthens confidence in not only yourself but also those around you.

So there you go. Five great reasons singing should be added to your self care tool box. You don’t have to join a choir. Just sing in the car. Sing in the shower, to your grandchild, or to the TV the next time you watch American Idol.

Or sing “You Are My Sunshine” along with Johnny Cash (lyrics included below video) at You Are My Sunshine – and let me know how it made you feel to sing for self care.

Follow Tribune Reporter Umnia Shahid at The Express Tribune. To find out more about singing for hospice patients go to Threshold Choir. To find more ideas for Self Care go to Fuzzy Red Socks.

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Comments 6

  1. Beautifully expressed, Carole! The power of music is one we can all tap into and as you said, we don’t have to be a soloist to benefit! Reading your post, I was struck with the thought that just the vibration, the harmony, melody of music are all “wordless”…and yet so much is conveyed and received without even having lyrics. I look forward to “humming through my day” and to the benefits it will not only give to me, but to others, simply because I have taken time to sing my own song. 🎶 😊
    Thank you SO much for creating this beautiful message🙏💝

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      Author

      Yes! The vibrations are what, we believe as Threshold Choir singers, are calming the patients and bringing them peace. Even if they are asleep, we believe they may be “feeling” the music, and the love, respect and support we bring to it, as much as hearing it. The vibrations you send off while singing are a benefit to all. Thanks for stopping by.

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      Author

      Love to hear that Georgiann! Miss you. Thanks for stopping by Fuzzy Red Socks.

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  2. I am known in my family for knowing the words to ” almost every song ever written” and I take every opportunity to regale one and all with my renditions.
    ( every song might be a bit of an stretch, but go with it) My husband and I call each member of our family on their birthdays and anniversaries ( they call us Steve and Edie) and sing to them.
    I have always loved to sing. I sing loud and many times off key, but that doesn’t stop me. I love this article, and I love you Carole for getting the word out.
    As Benny Goodman’s band encouraged us, “SING, SING, SING! ” And even if you experience only one, or maybe none of the benefits listed in the article, sing anyway, it just feels good.
    Melodically yours,
    Christine

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      Author

      So happy this article resonated with you. I love your rendition of happy birthday, Christine, and your family is so very lucky to be on the receiving end of it once a year. Thanks for stopping by Fuzzy Red Socks!

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