Why singing makes us happy
Our vocal group and punk choir facilitator Jade explores the benefits of singing and how it can make us happy.
The Tonic vocal group at Casemates Rehearsal Studios, Portsmouth
Why singing makes us happy
Ever wondered why singing makes us feel good?
Whether you’ve just stepped off stage after a gig, finished a singing lesson, or spent the afternoon singing along to your favourite band, singing has the power to increase our happiness levels and contribute to our wellbeing.
Here are 7 reasons singing can make us all happier:
1. The release of ‘feel-good’ hormones
Science can provide some answers as to why we feel so good when we sing, including why we can feel more relaxed and less anxious.
Each time we sing our brain releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which boost our happiness levels and act as a ‘natural painkiller’. Another hormone released when we sing is oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’, which helps to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as heighten feelings of trust and our ability to form bonds.
Singing can serve as a positive distraction by providing an escape from stress and anxiety. Distraction is a healthy way to provide us with a much-needed break and give our minds something enjoyable to engage in.
It’s the perfect outlet as it's so easy to become blissfully lost in music. Working on improving your voice can also provide a great goal-oriented focus.
3. Singing helps us to express emotion
Not being able or willing to express emotions can have a detrimental effect on our wellbeing.
Singing can help us express emotions when we aren’t comfortable doing so in conversation. This can be through vocal delivery or by singing lyrics that resonate with us. Yes, not all of these emotions may be ‘happy’ ones, but releasing them through song can help us to feel better.
Feeling angry? Sing along to The Sex Pistols and get it out of your system.
Going through a tough breakup? Stick on that song about heartbreak and confront those feelings by singing what’s in your heart.
Remember, that although singing along to a ‘sad song’ may make us a bit tearful, shedding tears can be a healthy coping mechanism.
4. Singing brings people together
Whether you join a band, choir, vocal group, or participate in music workshops, singing has the power to bring people together, widen social circles, and improve social interactions.
Singing or playing together can be an intimate thing. Together you will feel the joy, nerves and excitement that often go hand in hand with performing. Being united in these feelings can help bring you closer to those you are sharing the experience with.
5. Release stress and anxiety with breathing techniques
Singing requires the use of breathing techniques – correct breathing and breath control are the foundation of the voice.
The same breathing techniques used in singing are proven to be beneficial as an anxiety and stress management tool. The NHS recommends breathing exercises to support good mental health and wellbeing.
6. Boost your confidence
Those new to singing in front of others can find it a real challenge.
Along with feelings of excitement, we may also feel anxious, self-conscious and uncertain about what to expect. Singing and performing in front of others requires courage and a degree of trust in ourselves, but the rewards can be huge. It can lead to great personal pride, a sense of accomplishment, and increased confidence.
Singing is empowering as it brings us out of our comfort zone, and those feelings of empowerment aren’t just limited to gig performances. Leaving our comfort zone can include doing those vocal warm-ups that make us feel a little bit silly, getting up on karaoke, or belting out a tune in the shower knowing our neighbours can probably hear us.
Learning to sing can also provide a confidence boost when you receive positive feedback from your vocal coach or peers, as well as when you start seeing the improvement for yourself.
7. Singing is good for the body
Good singing requires you to control your whole body. Singers need to become aware of their body to enable it to fully support the voice and breathing.
Body tension, poor posture, and the incorrect placement of our head and chin can negatively affect the voice and restrict the full use of the diaphragm.
Once we realise we have built up tension in the body, or developed poor posture habits, we can learn to release or correct them. We can do this using awareness, exercises, massage, and by incorporating the Alexander Technique (often used by singers to promote body awareness and its effects on the voice).
A tension-free body and better posture will make us more comfortable, and can contribute to pain management, significantly increasing our happiness.