Hey – your brain called. It asked us to tell you to sing more.
The health benefits of singing are well known. Singing can:
- Boost the immune system
- Reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels
- Improve memory
- Increase overall happiness and energy
- Improve heart health
- Promote clearer thinking
How can an act as natural and simple as singing have all these amazing health benefits? And, why doesn’t simply talking have he safe effect?
The magic ingredient that is found in singing that is not found in speaking is how we breathe.
Stand up for a moment, and read that last sentence. Notice how your breathing feels. Was it deep or shallow? Did you breathe from your chest or from your tummy?
Now, think of your favorite song and sing a few lines. Notice your breathing again. Most likely, you found it to be deeper, so that you could sustain a singing sound. Hopefully, you found that your inhale filled your abdomen rather than lifting your chest and shoulders.
As we go about our day, our breathing happens naturally and without thought. When we sing, however, we must breathe differently and much more consciously.
Correct breathing for singing requires a relaxed body and tall posture. Rather than breathing shallowly into our chest – often lifting or hunching our shoulders as a result – we want to take a deep breath with our diaphragm, filling our lungs from the very bottom to the very top. This usually causes our abdomens to puff a bit (no one will think you are fat!).
When we breathe deeply like this, we are filling our lungs with oxygen-rich air in the way our bodies were designed. This method of breathing is effective and efficient, and fills our blood – and brain! – instantly with oxygen.
So, really, the number one health benefit of singing is that it fills our brains with the oxygen it needs to do its job:
- To manage and regulate a strong immune system
- To only release cortisol (the stress hormone) when it’s needed
- To remember all the words to the song
- To release endorphins and dopamine – because singing is fun, after all!
- To keep oxygen-rich blood flowing to our heart and all other muscles and organs
- And to process information quickly, so we can think clearly.
So, don’t be shy! Sing more! Your brain will thank you.