Glee, the TV series started in 2009. It was a show set in an American high school about the school choir and their individual stories. This show made singing in a choir cool and many choirs sprouted up on the back of it.
Studies have shown that singing in a choir is good for your mental health and wellbeing, and I will be discussing how and why this is.
The Glee show was a feel good show and it started the year my mum passed away and I threw myself into watching the show as it always made me feel better with the big singing productions at the end.
The show triggered old childhood feelings in me of wanting to be on stage and performing, but that was all just a dream. I used to sing in the mirror singing into my hairbrush as I'm sure many many children do.
Glee reminded me of when I was in primary school, I auditioned to be in the school's "special choir." It was a twelve member choir which was additional to the main school choir. I succeeded in getting a place, so that was the start of my singing "career."
I remembered how much I enjoyed it back in my school days, so I looked into if there were any choirs around, and at the time, there were only choral/classical choirs, which wasn't what I really wanted, so I thought I would just let it go.
Law of Attraction at work for me
The very next day, a leaflet was dropped through my door about a new choir that was starting up close to me the very next week.
I went along feeling nervous - I hadn't sang in over thirty years. I went along every week learning popular songs and really enjoyed it. My confidence grew and I looked forward to my Wednesday evenings and choir practice.
I was starting to feel energised and happier. I thought it was just a case of me meeting new friends and having an interest. Yes that was true but there are many health benefits, that were all contributing to my wellbeing.
It's been found that human beings are wired for rythmic togetherness. We make good bonds with each other when we're making music together.
Studies have shown that collective singing improves our mood, therefore signs of depression and anxiety are reduced. The reason, researchers have found is down to the fact of the controlled breathing needed to sing, which is akin to meditative breathing, and we all know the benefits of meditation, and those benefits are increased when singing collectively.
The choir gives a sense of belonging. It helps us feel we are wanted as part of a community. This sense of community seems to shift our focus from our own limited view on life to that of our common humanity.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Increased blood oxygen saturation.
- Elevated immunity
- Higher pain threshold.
- Stronger respiratory muscles.
- Peolpe who stutter find it eases whilst singing.
The music produces changes in the brain. These changes helps us heal after strokes, this happens because it enables the formation of alternative pathways around damaged brain tissue.
Singing and memory
The areas of the brain that remember music and how to sing, are among the last to be affected by Alzheimer's disease.
Brain scan images have shown that the part of the brain that deals with memories and emotions is highly stimulated during music activities.
It has been reported there is greater attention, learning, mastery and a sense of purpose and hope, which led to more connectedness with loved ones.
It is estimated that there are 2.8m Britons that are members of a choir - with me being one of them.
I have gone "on tour" with my choir, to some lovely venues, and to look out and see the audiences' faces and see how much pleasure we are giving them (and sometimes there are tears), it feels amazing.
The sense of belonging I get in my choir is the same feeling I get from a very special community I have found with my online education. This education has enabled me to work towards a life of purpose and passion, but it isn't only the education that I am getting. Surprisingly attached to it is a community that is truly welcoming and supportive. As I say, the only other time I have felt this is singing with my choir. It's a very special feeling.
Singing in a choir is so much fun and the fact that you would be singing for your mental health and wellbeing is an added bonus.
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