Singing has physical and emotional benefits for anyone who partakes - from those who warble in the shower to members of a large choir. When you breathe deeply (as you need to do to sing out), you cause your body to relax and help stave off anxiety. Singing and the breathing associated with it are types of aerobic exercise, bringing more oxygen into your system, which is good for your body and your feelings of well-being. Your body also releases endorphins connected with positive emotions.
When you're concentrating on sounding your best, or getting the timing of a new song right, you're freeing your mind from your usual worries and problems. When you're focused on your part in a tricky piece of music, the last thing on your mind is a deadline or the next mortgage payment. You're also making your brain work at learning new tunes, harmonies and words. Workouts for the brain keep it fit, just as exercise tones the muscles.
And, finally, for some singers - the ones who aren't restricted to the shower or the car - there is a great social boon from their efforts. Male songbirds get high on singing - their brains react in the way human brains do on addictive drugs. But the birds only get that way when they sing with others. It's somewhat similar for people. Being part of a group makes people happier. When you feel needed and wanted, you're building positive self-esteem, making connections and creating a support network for yourself. It's a potent mix, combining the health benefits of singing with the social and mental benefits of doing so. An Australian study found members of choruses were happier than the general public, even when the singers were faced with very real problems [source: MacLean]. With results like that, maybe more shower Sinatras out there should be singing in groups!
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