Singing and Emotional Release
Singing is a visceral act, meaning that is has the ability to affect our bodies. It would not be a farce, then, to say with confidence that singing has a unique ability to stir emotions within us. As such, singing can be executed almost naturally when we release pent up emotion. Studies have shown that singing can reduce stress, decrease blood pressure, lower the heart rate, numb the propensity to feel pain, and elevate the immune system. Just viewing this list of benefits makes me wonder why people don’t sing more!
One of the reasons singing harbors these benefits is because it is a completely different yet exhilarating avenue for expression. When we speak, we make simple gestures of phonation (the vocal cords coming together to produce sound). When we sing, however, we institute the functions of rhythm, melody, harmony, and crescendo. Because more physical abilities are being unlocked, more emotion is able to travel out from within us. A dynamic monologue can be moving, but a powerful song can bring you to tears. When we engage in dialogue, we tend to think in this manner: “Yeah, I completely agree” or “Yeah, I know where you are coming from” or “Yeah, I can sympathize with that”. But when we engage in singing, we tend to think in this manner: “Wow, I can completely connect with this person” or “Wow, I can really feel the emotion pouring out from this person”. Singing allows emotional connection with others on a deeper level.
Singing and Community
As we connect with ourselves and with others through singing, we begin to experience the true capabilities of singing. This release of emotion may make us want to sing for joy or sing in sorrow, but whatever the case, we feel better physically and emotionally. While it may sound crazy to say that we would feel better after singing in sorrow, pay attention the next time it happens to you. Your thoughts become clearer, your focus becomes stronger, your intentions become steadfast - all signs of physical and emotional improvement. Bearing this in mind, it makes perfect sense to sing at any stage or crossroad in life.
Singing also acts as developer of community. Choral presentations, musical theater productions, church choirs, gender ensembles - they are all communities centered around the art of singing. It is a well known fact that community is a vital part of healthy living, and what better way to commune than through the already beneficial act of singing! This practice is quite common within the elderly community because it acts as an organic stimulant towards better health. Dr. Gene Cohen, a late American psychiatrist, exclaimed in The Gerontoligist that singing among the elderly resulted in fewer medical appointments, less need for medication, and even a decreased tendency towards depression. This applies not only to the elderly but also to the youthful because the organic stimulant of singing is not bound by age - all the more reason to get up and sing!
Singing is a catalyst to healthy living. Don’t forgo your unique ability to express yourself through the avenue of singing. It is an anchor for the soul in times of joy and hardship, pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow. Release your emotions by singing and enjoy all the exciting health benefits along the way. Add some community and laughter to the mix and you have a potent medicine that not even doctors can prescribe.