“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.” – William James
What a great thought! We are looking for ways to feel happy and engaged while still coping with pandemic concerns and rules. How about singing?
If music is not a big part of your life, consider this:
- Singing familiar songs reduces stress: Breaking into song signals the brain to send hormones (endorphins) through your brain and body that make you feel more content and less stressed. And as researchers have shown, decreasing stress improves overall health and longevity!
- Singing connects you to pleasant memories: Even people who have concerns about how well they remember find that songs from their childhood or their first love come back to them when they sing, with all the words and feelings they had when they were younger.
- Singing improves brain function: When you sing, you use many parts of your brain and build new pathways between the cells in your brain. This improves your ability to remember and increases your brain’s “reserve” for remembering in the future.
- Singing can increase social interactions: Singing in a choir or singing at home with family is not only fun but gives you a chance to build social connections. People who have close bonds with others are happier and healthier.
- Music has a direct impact on mood and wellness; it has been shown to ease pain, shorten recovery time from illness, and lift feelings of anxiety and depression: How about singing out loud or listening to a favorite playlist?
- And let’s add some movement to increase the benefits: Tapping your feet, swaying to the rhythm, or whirling around the room with your best version of Beyoncé or Mozart is terrific for the brain and body. Each time you move to music, challenging your brain to coordinate dance steps and melodies, you exercise your muscles, build cardiovascular health and improve your ability to remember and think.
Singing, dancing . . . music in general . . . are good for your health, enjoyable, and with the challenges of the pandemic, a particularly helpful way to reduce stress!
Dr. Cheryl Greenberg works as a coach, or guide, for seniors and their families as they consider and plan for changes in their lives. During the pandemic, she leads support groups to help folks stay engaged in creative ways. To join a group or coach with Cheryl, contact her at TheAgeCoach@gmail.com or 336-202-5669.