Sing In a Choir
Everyone knows you feel better when you sing. Whether it’s a few rounds of “99 Bottles of Beer” revving up the night at the local dive, or suddenly soloing “Happy Birthday to You” when the waiter brings out the surprise cupcake with a lighted candle for your mom, or even belting out Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” in the shower (We could have had it AAAAAALLLLLLLLL…!). Your heart jumps with joy when you sing, and those feel-good endorphins start kicking up their heels.
But we bet you didn’t know that choral singing -- whether singing in an organized church or school group or civic choir -- is thought to have the most powerful effect on our state of mind.
“A study published in Australia in 2008 revealed that on average, choral singers rated their satisfaction with life higher than the public,” according to the folks at HowStuffWorks.com. Another study surveying more than 600 British choral singers found that singing plays a central role in their psychological health:
“Singing can have some of the same effects as exercise, like the release of endorphins, which give the singer an overall ‘lifted’ feeling and are associated with stress reduction.” Plus boosting the immune system by increasing concentrations of immunoglobin A in the blood.
But it’s more than just a physical response that makes singing in a choir so uplifting the researchers claim. Among other things, “the support system of being part of a group, and the commitment to that group that gets people out of the house and into the chorus every week -- these are benefits that are specific to group singing. And they seem to be a big component of why choral singers tend to be happier than the rest of us.”
And get this: a joint study with Yale and Harvard in 2008 claimed that the positive impacts on both the cardiovascular and mental health of choral singers in New Haven, Connecticut, had actually increased the life expectancy of the participants. In a town that has an unusually high number of performing chorales, group singing has benefitted the life expectancy of that city’s population overall!
Video by cottonbro