TIME: Singing Changes Your Brain

TIME: Singing Changes Your Brain

Singing Changes Your Brain – Excerpts 

Group singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins

By  @StacyHorn — Aug. 16, 2013
When you sing, musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape. Group singing, for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. It takes something incredibly intimate, a sound that begins inside you, shares it with a roomful of people and it comes back as something even more thrilling: harmony. So it’s not surprising that group singing is on the rise. According to Chorus America, 32.5 million adults sing in choirs, up by almost 10 million over the past six years. Many people think  of church music when you bring up group singing, but there are over 270,000 choruses across the country and they include gospel groups to show choirs like the ones depicted in Glee to strictly amateur groups …

As the popularity of group singing grows, science has been hard at work trying to explain why it has such a calming yet energizing effect on people. What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.

The elation may come from endorphins, a hormone released by singing, which is associated with feelings of pleasure.  Or it might be from oxytocin, another hormone released during singing, which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why still more studies have found that singing lessens feelings of depression and loneliness….

The benefits of singing regularly seem to be cumulative. In one study, singers were found to have lower levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress.  A very preliminary investigation suggesting that our heart rates may sync up during group singing could also explain why singing together sometimes feels like a guided group meditation.  Study after study has found that singing relieves anxiety and contributes to quality of life. Dr. Julene K. Johnson, a researcher who has focused on older singers, recently began a five year study to examine group singing as an affordable method to improve the health and well-being of older adults.

It turns out you don’t even have to be a good singer to reap the rewards.  According to one 2005 study, group singing “can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.”

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Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/#ixzz2cC9WrqxS

Benefits of Singing

Benefits of Singing

Huffington Post – Posted: 04/28/2013 8:53 am EDT

Whether it’s an a cappella group or the church chorale, a small new study shows that singing in a choir could do a lot for your state of mind.

The findings, published in the journal Psychology of Music and conducted by researchers at Abant Izzet Baysal University in Turkey, show that singing in a choir is associated with decreased levels of anxiety.

The study included 35 people who were assigned to either one hour of choir singing, or one hour of “unstructured time” (the control group). Researchers analyzed their positive and negative affect, as well as their levels of anxiety and salivary amylase (amylase is an enzyme that is often used as a marker for inflammation).

Researchers found that the participants assigned to sing in the choir had decreases in their negative affect and anxiety, compared with the control group. Meanwhile, the control group experienced more anxiety and negative affect before and after the hour period.

The benefits of joining a choir could go beyond mental health, too. Norwegian researchers previously reported that participation in a choir is linked with better health and workplace engagement, ScienceNordic reported.

“The health benefits of singing are both physical and psychological,” Graham Welch, chair of music education at the Institute of Education at the University of London, said in a Heart Research UK statement. The benefits of singing range from the physical — because it boosts oxygen levels in the blood — to the psychological — because it lowers stress and boosts feelings of community, he said.

For more wonderful health benefits of music, click through the slideshow:

11 Health Benefits Of Music

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