Masters of Health Magazine January 2023 | Page 99

Health Benefits of Singing

by Steve Rees, Ret. RN, Harpist

Just before the holidays, as I was cruising through the internet, I ran across an article that focused on the physiological and psychological benefits of singing Christmas Carols. The article began with a story about Eastern Airlines flight 401 that crashed into the Florida Everglades with 77 people surviving the crash but having to endure severe conditions before rescue. In the interim, the survivors banded together and began to sing Christmas carols for encouragement.

The author asked the question, “What drove these survivors to sing in such distressing conditions? What is it about group singing that has the remarkable ability to bring people together, express deep emotions, and feel connected with each other?”  The article went on to list several physiological and psychological benefits derived from singing, both in a group as well as individually.

My article last month was on listening to birds singing, and as I read this article, I began to think about how this understanding of our own singing benefits would fit so well alongside that article. Both listening to songs and participating in singing songs have amazing benefits for our health and well-being.

As I researched further into this phenomenon, I found another article that listed 11 amazing health benefits of singing.  Author: Sara Crawford.

1. Singing releases endorphins and oxytocin.

Endorphins are hormones that increase feelings of euphoria and pleasure. Oxytocin is also known as the “cuddle hormone” because it is released when people snuggle up. It is known to decrease stress and anxiety. Both hormones can make you feel better in general and decrease any pain you might be feeling.

2. Singing improves cognition.

Several studies have concluded that singers and musicians typically have higher IQs than non-musicians. Singing can improve your overall brain function and help you think a little clearer.

3. Singing leads to a longer life.

A joint Yale and Harvard study showed that for some people living in New Haven, Connecticut, choral singing promoted healthy minds and hearts, which increased life expectancy.

4. Singing lowers your blood pressure.

There have been several case studies that have revealed that singing can decrease blood pressure due to its calming and relaxing effect. Patients have been able to calm themselves down and lower blood pressure readings when in the hospital by singing hymns.