Why You Should Take Up Singing As A Hobby/Second Life Career Path
As the fourth season of The Voice moves through the first rounds of auditions, I've become inspired to do a little research into how singing makes us feel good, almost as good as the lucky duck who gets to wear this:
Singing in the car makes you a safer driver.
According to an Australian study, when you sing behind the wheel, "you actually stay more centered in your lane. You become a little bit more careful," explains Cleveland Clinic psychologist, Dr. Scott Bea. Of course, singing may take your mind off the road as well, but psychologists say we are subconsciously aware of when music gets too distracting. E.g. when you turn the radio off when you get lost, or when the weather gets severe. Singing in the car though, especially when you're dozing off, might be just what you need to get home safe.
Singing improves your health.
- Releases endorphins into your system and makes you feel energized and uplifted. People who sing are healthier than people who don’t.
- Gives the lungs a workout.
- Tones abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, and stimulates circulation.
- Improves posture
- Clears sinuses and respiratory systems.
- Relieves stress.
- Makes us breathe more deeply than many forms of strenuous exercise, so we take in more oxygen, improve aerobic capacity and experience a release of muscle tension as well. -Professor Graham Welch, Director of Educational Research, University of Surrey, Roehampton, UK
This is precisely why I've been singing in the shower/kitchen/living room/car/line at Starbucks/DMV/dentist's chair for the past 20 years.
Singing certain vowels improves certain parts of your body.
- Singing the short-a sound, as in ahh, for 2-3 minutes will help banish the blues. It forces oxygen into the blood, which signals the brain to release mood-lifting endorphins.
- To boost alertness, make the long-e sound, as in emit. It stimulates the pineal gland, which controls the body's biological clock.
- Singing the short-e sound, as in echo stimulates the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones that control the speed which digestion and other bodily processes occur.
- Making the long-o sound as in ocean stimulates the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.
- To strengthen immunity, sing the double-o sound, as in tool. This activates the spleen, which regulates the production of infection fighting white blood cells.
So when I see a dessert I really like and make an emphatic "OOOOOH" sound, I'll explain that I'm just reactivating my spleen.
Singing can make light of a stressful situation.
Here's a fun exercise that UNC Chapel Hill Associate Clinical Professor, Reid Wilson says will help ease your frustration and anxiety about a particular problem:
If, for example, your credit card payment is going to be late, sing it to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb.
My payment is going to be late, going to be late, going to be late.
My credit card payment is going to be late,
and I won't get a mortgage.
Singing about the problem will help because you'll feel ridiculous, which is better than feeling panicked. I'll be a clown over a nervous wreck any day. A friend of the family did this with her kids. She can't stand the sound of whining (like any non-masochist) and when they were little, she told them she couldn't understand a problem unless they sang it. So when they started griping about why their pancakes were too thick, she had them sing about it instead of smacking them with a greasy pan. In less than a minute everyone was laughing, and no one was injured.