In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are highlighting the many ways that music and sound can be used for mental health. The voice is a great tool that is often overlooked as a means for bringing the mind, body, and spirit into balance. Singing and using your voice for mental health has been studied and practiced for centuries. Whether it's singing alone, with a group, or through other forms of vocal expression, using your voice can help improve mental well-being and emotional regulation. In this article, we will explore the many benefits of singing for mental health.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Research shows that singing can decrease levels cortisol and increase oxytocin. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone while oxytocin is known as the feel-good hormone, thus singing can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and promote relaxation. A study found that singing helped to decrease anxiety levels in patients with depression and anxiety disorders.
Boosts mood and emotional well-being
Research has also found singing to improve mood and increase positive emotions. A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that group singing improved mood and well-being in people with chronic illness. Singing can also be useful to help regulate emotions. GRAMMY Award Winning Singer and Vocal Teacher, Silvia Nakkach, speaks in her book Free Your Voice about the power of singing our emotions. It is one thing to speak our emotions and communicate how we feel, but it is another thing to sing our emotions. Doing so can be a useful practice for transforming tough emotions and feelings in a positive way. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that singing helped to regulate the emotions of people with depression.
Enhances social connections
Singing can be a powerful means to connect with others and build social connections. Participating in group singing activities such as choir, karaoke, or singing groups can help foster a sense of community and belonging. A study found that group singing activities helped to increase social bonding and reduce loneliness in older adults.
Improves respiratory function
Singing requires deep breathing and can help improve respiratory function. In previous articles, we have explored the ways in which deep breathing can stimulate the vagus nerve. This alone can promote relaxation throughout the mind and body. Improvement of respiratory function can also be particularly beneficial for people with respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A study found that singing improved lung function and breathing in people with COPD.
In conclusion, singing is a fun and easy tool that can be used to tend to our mental and physical health. Something as simple as singing in the shower, singing along to your favorite songs, joining a choir, or singing with friends can positively impact your health and well-being.
Have you tried singing to improve your mental health? Let us know :) @healthandbass