Fitness Friday: sing your way to better mental health


Rick Nease illustration of woman singing at a summer concert. Detroit Free Press 2011.

Jamie Perez

Singing is a very intimate activity that people can engage in on their own or in a group. It brings about feelings of happiness and unity in people. You never see people who are in a bad mood while singing. It’s the people that are feeling cheerful that will usually break out into song.

When you sing, the musical vibrations take over your sensations, improving your physical and emotional demeanor. Simply put, singing is good for you!

Research shows that singing soothes the nerves and elevates your spirits by releasing endorphins and oxytocin, hormones that alleviate stress and anxiety. Oxytocin has also been shown to enhance feelings of bonding which helps explain why group singing can help ease feelings of sadness and isolation.

And the best part is you don’t have to be a good singer to reap the rewards. Singing is a method of release where the feelings of happiness and togetherness can be brought out of anyone that engages in a good musical trance.

Group singing, in particular, helps people connect by bringing about a unified meditative exercise. When multiple people sing together, their heart beats sync up and it stimulates connection between the group members as they sing in unison or in a call and respond method.

Singing can also help people increase their lung capacity (making exercise easier), can help improve breathing (helpful for those who have asthma or other respiratory issues), develops good posture (standing upright is crucial in singing and utilizing the voice to the maximum effort), and also helps create a positive mindset, increased self-esteem, and overall confidence.

So don’t be afraid to break out into song because every time you do, you are benefiting your mental health.