Health Benefits of Being in a Choir!
What a joy it has been seeing my choir evolve. A year ago I remember my very first choir session, around 20 turned up, I was very nervous not fully knowing what to expect. People from all walks of life, ages, nationalities, all coming together for their love of singing. A year later I now stand up front and observe the group that has transformed to over 40 members, and I am so proud of the friendship groups that have grown, the confidence in self, the smiles and comfort everyone feels. It’s awe inspiring. So what is this awe inspiring power of group singing. I decided to ask them all a question, “What is your specific Health benefit you get from being a part of this choir?”. Some of the glorious answers were:
- “It brings me joy”
- “Happiness and relief from stress”
- “It allows me to express myself and my voice with no sense of judgement”
- “It gives me a reason to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, as I suffer with mental illness… and I feel a sense of belonging and it has great benefits for my mental health”
Singing in itself of course has many health benefits. Endorphins are released which elevates our mood. The brains reward system, dopamine, makes us keep singing as we want more of that good feeling. Singing can also reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Our diaphragm strengthens which improves breathing and increases oxygen to blood improving circulation. Our neural pathways are broadened as we use both left and right sides of the brain.
When we sing all of this magic happens, we are present, not worrying about the past or future. When we get together in a group the magic can be even more powerful. This is due to a primate human need of belonging and social connection. At the core of humankind we are all one, being part of a collective endeavor really resonates with us all. A singing group more so than any other group bonds quicker as there is a level of intimacy and appreciation of others. Also heartbeats can be synchronized which just shows the connection of energy. This social bond together with all the voices, harmonies, freedom to express creates a huge group feeling of awe, wellbeing and connection which elevates the spirit. What more could you want?
AUTHOR: CASS SWEENY