Written by Anne Gingras
I joined a choir a few years ago, thinking that I wanted to bring back singing into my life again. In doing so, it has brought me so much joy. I couldn’t have foreseen that. What surprised me the most was the social bonding and the new friendships that have formed. There is something very primal about making sounds together. There is a sense of connectedness that occurs. It taps into that social engagement piece. When we feel socially engaged many neurochemicals and hormones are secreted. For example, Oxytocin which is associated with love, trust and bonding. Dopamine, Serotonin and Endorphins, the feel good neurochemicals. So many people talk about the singers “high” after a choir practice. It also lowers stress hormones like Cortisol. In this western world we go at such a high pace that we are often on a fight/flight way of being, and that’s when the adrenals pump out Cortisol. And when we sing we calm the nervous system down and reduce the amount of Cortisol secreted in the system.
From learning new lyrics and new melodies, the mind is stimulated and helps with memory function. All the deep breathing helps increase oxygen to the brain and in doing so it decreases the chances of developing Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease.
But at a very basic level, making sounds and the vibrations that it creates moves energy in the body, and when energy moves we feel better. And then the joy and playfulness able to come through.
So what are you waiting for?? Join a choir, or at the very least sing at home. Sing in your car, in the shower. Don’t be shy, you will feel better, I promise you!